MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 48
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Affirmative action case may affect K–12 schools, workplace
* Kent County schools to offer "guaranteed" diplomas
* Detroit reading initiative launched
* Teen's suspension overruled
* EDITORIAL: Reform state school board
* NOTICE: 6 Habits of Fiscally Responsible Public School Districts Forum


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AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CASE MAY AFFECT K-12 SCHOOLS, WORKPLACE
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that
it will review whether universities can consider an applicant's
race when admitting students, setting the stage for a decision
that could have broad implications for schools and employers
nationwide.

The court accepted two appeals arising from University of
Michigan's desire to retain affirmative action practices in their
law school and undergraduate admissions policies.

The court is expected to clarify the issue for the first time in
a quarter-century. Nearly all of the nation's colleges and
universities have race–conscious admissions systems.

U-M will argue that a racially and ethnically diverse classroom
enhances the learning experience for all students, while the
plaintiffs contend that the U.S. Constitution outlaws any form of
discrimination in admissions.

The court will likely hear oral arguments in late March or early
April, and issue a decision by the end of June.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Decision could impact workplace, K–12 schools,"
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/a01-26222.htm

Detroit News, "U–M cases to shape affirmative action,"
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/a01-26276.htm

Detroit News, "Emotions swirl over U–M decision," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/a04-26174.htm

Detroit News, "Experts: O'Connor's vote key," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/a05-26271.htm

Detroit News, "Affirmative action timeline," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/schools-25216.htm

Detroit News, "Supreme Court ready to settle higher education
affirmative action," Dec. 2, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/schools-25204.htm

Detroit News, "Court Must Clear Way for Diverse Campuses,"
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0212/03/a06-25852.htm

Detroit News, "Yes: Affirmative Action puts value on diverse
society," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0212/03/a07-25866.htm

Detroit News, "No: Program sets drastically different admission
standards," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0212/03/a07-25860.htm

Detroit Free Press, "U–M lawsuits may set national policy,"
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/affirm3_20021203.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Prior cases involving affirmative action,"
Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/cases3_20021203.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Time line of legal battle," Dec. 3, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/time3_20021203.htm



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KENT COUNTY SCHOOLS TO OFFER "GUARANTEED" DIPLOMAS
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Kent Intermediate School District announced
last week that diplomas from all county high schools – public and
private – will carry a guarantee that the graduate has skills
needed to enter the work force.

If employers find otherwise, they can send the student back for
more training free of charge. Local businesses and many students
have praised the move.

"It shows that you did the work in high school and showed your
stuff and you're qualified to get a job," Missy Reh, 17, told the
Grand Rapids Press. Reh attends Rockford High School, a school
that already has a guarantee in place.

Each district within Kent County will develop their own guarantee
program. The program is slated to be in place in all county high
schools by 2006 when the current freshmen graduate.
_______
SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "Students like bid to back diplomas," Nov.
27, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-5/1038411921154320.xml

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Cost of Remedial
Education," Sept. 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/3025



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DETROIT READING INITIATIVE LAUNCHED
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DETROIT, Mich. – Detroit's school district has embarked on a
massive effort to improve the reading and literacy skills of its
elementary students and satisfy the requirements of the new
federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act.

The district is using a curriculum called Open Court, a phonics–
based reading program, at a cost of about $18 million.

"We had a reading problem. Teachers told us they wanted more
phonics," Juanita Clay Chambers, deputy chief academic officer
for the district, told the Detroit Free Press. "We wanted
something research–based that meets federal, state and local
standards."

June Green–Rivers, executive director of reading and literacy for
Detroit schools, said she already sees a difference between this
year's first–graders and last year's.

"I've never seen first–graders reading words like 'judge' or
'badge,' and they're reading them in the first 10 weeks of
school," Green–Rivers told the Free Press.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit schools put to the test," Nov. 27,
2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/read27_20021127.htm



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TEEN'S SUSPENSION OVERRULED
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LANSING, Mich. – An Oakland County school district wrongly
suspended a student for posting critical comments about fellow
students on a private Web site, a federal judge has ruled.

Joshua Mahaffey and his parents, who now could receive
compensation, sued the Waterford School District in U.S. District
Court over his punishment last year. Administrators accused
Mahaffey of intimidation and threats against schoolmates on a
friend's Internet site labeled "Satan's Web Page."

U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan ruled last week that the
discipline violated Mahaffey's right to free speech and due
process. He scheduled a Dec. 11 hearing to determine how much
the suburban district should pay in damages.

"The Supreme Court has held that students do not shed their
constitutional rights to freedom of speech at the schoolhouse
gate," Duggan wrote in his ruling. "There is no evidence that the
Web site interfered with the work of the school or that any other
student's rights were impinged."
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Teen's suspension overruled," Dec. 2, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0212/03/c01-24868.htm



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EDITORIAL: REFORM STATE SCHOOL BOARD
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DETROIT, Mich. – A recent Detroit News editorial calls for the
abolishment of the elected state Board of Education.
The Detroit News says reforming the board of education should be
atop Governor–elect Jennifer Granholm's list of education
priorities in January.

Such a change will take time and a constitutional amendment. But
without it, education–related reforms are destined for rough
seas, if history of Michigan's education board is any indication,
the News said.

The News explains that the current state school board has "a
sorry record of leadership," taking years to develop and
accreditation plan for public schools and representing a school
system in which grade inflation, illiteracy, and excessive non–
instructional costs are serious problems.

Michigan is among 10 states that have an elected education board.
The News suggests that the governor should appoint a school
board, a practice used in 30 states.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "School Board Reform Should Become Priority,"
Dec. 1, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0212/02/a16-24002.htm



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NOTICE: 6 HABITS OF FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS
FORUM
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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy cordially invites you to
attend a forum to discuss a forthcoming study, The Six Habits of
Fiscally Responsible School Districts by Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D.,
director of education policy, and Elizabeth H. Moser, education
research associate.

The forum will feature school officials and education experts
discussing ways districts can deal with school budget crunches
and operate more efficiently without cutting needed school
services or laying off teachers.

Make plans now to attend:

The Six Habits of Fiscally Responsible School Districts Forum

Dec. 11, 2002

Lansing Center – Governor's Room, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

SEATING IS LIMITED

PLEASE RSVP BY DEC. 4, 2002. Call 989–
631–0900 for more information.


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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]

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