MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 45
Nov. 12, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


-----------------------------------------------------------------
Contents of this issue:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
* Election results: Granholm governor, GOP controls Legislature
* Michigan Legislature considers school election reforms
* Parents take MEAP tests
* OPINION: School case may end choice bigotry
* OPINION: Prop 4's failure not the end to scholarship debate


-----------------------------------------------------------------
ELECTION RESULTS: GRANHOLM GOVERNOR, GOP CONTROLS LEGISLATURE
-----------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's Democratic Attorney General Jennifer
Granholm was elected governor, while Republicans kept control of
the State Legislature on Election Day.

Although last Tuesday's results are still "unofficial," it
appears that Democrat Elizabeth W. Bauer, a long-time special
education advocate, and Republican Carolyn L. Curtin, a homemaker
and former Evart school board member, will fill two open seats on
the State Board of Education.

Proposal 4, which would have eliminated state Merit scholarships
for high school students and directed the state's tobacco
settlement funds to health programs, failed.

Granholm's education platform included increasing funding for
schools, possibly through changes to Proposal A - Michigan's per-
pupil school funding formula, promoting smaller class sizes, and
expanding the public schools of choice program, without
increasing charters or other forms of school choice.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Granholm's priority: Unify state," Nov. 10, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0211/12/a01-6533.htm

Detroit News, "Dems grab governor, but not much else,"
Nov. 10, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0211/12/b01-6485.htm

Detroit News, "Top races in Michigan," Nov. 12, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/results/topmichigan.htm

Detroit News, "What candidates for governor would do,"
Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a05-448808.htm


----------------------------------------------------------------
MICHIGAN LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS SCHOOL ELECTION CONSOLIDATION
----------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. - State lawmakers, tuning up for their year-ending
lame-duck session, began moving legislation Thursday that would
consolidate school elections with local elections.

Backers of the legislation want to end the confusing array of
election dates - more than 1,000 in some years. They say school
board elections and millage proposals that cost tens of millions
of dollars in taxes are being decided by as few as 5 percent or
10 percent of the affected voters due to the current election
system.

But school officials say their issues and board candidates will
get lost on ballots shared with township, county, city or state
candidates and proposals. They also fear it will be impossible to
get approval for increased spending in elections that draw more
voters.

Under the legislation, all elections would be restricted to four
specified dates each year.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Legislators start push to trim school, local
elections," Nov. 8, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0211/12/d01-5128.htm

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "School elections should be in
November," Jan. 4, 1999
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=2232


-----------------------------------------------------------------
PARENTS TAKE MEAP TESTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------
DETROIT, Mich. - This week, many Michigan districts are allowing
parents an opportunity to take the state's assessment test.

At Oakland Schools Monday, fifty-one parents showed up to take a
mock Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test.
Michigan students take MEAP tests in grades four, five, seven and
11 in subjects including reading, writing, science, math and
social studies skills. MEAP scores are used to determine whether
or not schools are meeting state and federal standards and to
provide state scholarships to high-performing students.

For the most part, parents easily answered the questions.

"Some I found harder than others. It depends on your particular
abilities and your ability to think fast," Randa Seifeldin, a
Troy parent with three children in elementary and middle school,
told the Detroit Free Press.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "MEAP is tough, even for adults,"
Nov. 12, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/meap12_20021112.htm

Detroit News, "Mock MEAP lets parents, others take test,"
Nov. 10, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0211/10/b01-6491.htm

Detroit Free Press, "How hard is MEAP test? Adults invited to
find out," Oct. 31, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/ntest31_20021031.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Test Your Skills," Nov. 12, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/qmeap12_20021112.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Brave enough to take the test?,"
Nov. 12, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nmbox12_20021112.htm


----------------------------------------------------------------
OPINION: SCHOOL CASE MAY END CHOICE BIGOTRY
----------------------------------------------------------------
SEATTLE, Wash. - A woman's case to oppose a Washington State
policy forbidding students in public universities from student
teaching in religious schools may overturn years of anti-Catholic
bigotry and opposition to school choice, according to a recent
Detroit News commentary by George Will.

With help from the Washington, D.C.-based legal firm the
Institute for Justice, Carolyn Harrison, a university student
working toward school administrator certification, is attempting
to overturn Washington's "Blaine Amendment."

James Blaine was a 19th-century Republican senator and
presidential candidate from Maine. In 1875, hoping to capitalize
on widespread anti-Catholic bigotry, Blaine introduced a
constitutional amendment that prohibited states from using tax
dollars to benefit any religious sect or denomination, including
religious schools.

His efforts failed at the federal level, but state legislatures
cottoned to the idea, and currently well over half of U.S. states
- including Washington - have Blaine provisions incorporated in
their constitutions.

Will says the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding school
vouchers led anti-school choice activists to use Blaine
Amendments to oppose choice programs.

"So anti-choice forces...blocking the schoolhouse door - are
reduced to blocking school choice using states' Blaine
provisions," Will said. "This reliance on residues of 19th-
century nativism is a tactic worthy of its objective, which is
the continuing exploitation of underprivileged children trapped
in failing public schools."

Will said cases like Harrison's, if successful, will open the
door for school choice programs to thrive.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "School case may end choice bigotry," Nov. 11, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0211/12/a07-6866.htm

Institute for Justice, "Washington School Choice Case,"
November 2002
http://www.ij.org/cases/school/

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Case for Choice in
Schooling," January 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=3236


---------------------------------------------------------------
OPINION: PROP 4'S FAILURE NOT THE END TO SCHOLARSHIP DEBATE
----------------------------------------------------------------
DETROIT, Mich. - Though Proposal 4 failed, the debate over the
allocation of tobacco settlement funds or scholarships is far
from over, according to recent commentaries in the Detroit News
and Detroit Free Press.

Proposal 4 would have diverted tobacco lawsuit proceeds currently
used for scholarships to a handful of health-care organizations
and antismoking groups. Though the proposal failed, Governor-
elect Jennifer Granholm and a number of her colleagues, who
supported the plan, may attempt to change the way the state
allocates tobacco settlement money, according to Detroit Free
Press columnist Brian Dickerson.

Michigan is one of three states (out of the 46 that shared in the
tobacco lawsuit payout) that earmark none of their settlement
money for smoking cessation and prevention.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Scholarship funds may not be safe yet,"
Nov. 8, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/metro/dicker8_20021108.htm

Detroit News, "Michigan should encourage merit, opportunity for
all," Nov. 9, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0211/12/d07-5797.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Proposal 4," Nov. 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=4643




#################################################
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper
with a circulation of 130,000 published by the Mackinac Center
for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private,
nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Elizabeth H. Moser at
[mailto:med@educationreport.org]

To subscribe, go to:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/#subscribe.
#################################################

Share More …