MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 1
Jan. 7, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Detroit plan for 15 charter schools fails
* Warren Consolidated district contemplates closing schools
* Study claims testing harms students
* Honor society established for home school students
* Bush announces increased aid for low-income students

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DETROIT PLAN FOR 15 CHARTER SCHOOLS FAILS
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LANSING, Mich. – The state Senate rejected a plan last week that
would have added 15 charter high schools to Detroit over the next
five years.

The bill, passed by the state House of Representatives in
December, would have allowed Detroit's mayor to grant charters
for three schools each year for the next 5 years. The bill also
included $7.5 million for Detroit schools to help offset any
losses caused by declining enrollment.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Kenneth Sikkema, R-Grandville,
told The Detroit News he expects the plan to be reconsidered in
the new year because it is backed by Detroit Mayor Kwame
Kilpatrick and Republicans who will continue to control the
Legislature.

Since lawmakers officially adjourned their two-year session
following the vote, the charter bill and all other pending bills
died. Incoming legislators will decide which bills to
reintroduce after the new legislative session begins tomorrow.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Charter school bill fails," Dec. 31, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0301/03/c01-48704.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Detroit plan for 15 charter schools fails,"
Dec. 31, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/chart31_20021231.htm


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WARREN CONSOLIDATED DISTRICT CONTEMPLATES CLOSING SCHOOLS
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WARREN, Mich. – The Warren Consolidated School District, faced
with a looming $5-million budget deficit and the need to juggle
students while renovating its buildings, is considering shifting
students and closing some schools next year.

In 2002, the district launched a 5-year, $140-million renovation
project that calls for improvements at each of the district's 30
buildings. Voters approved a bond proposal and 1-mill sinking
fund millage to pay for the project in 2001.

However, money from the bond or millage cannot be used to cover
the district's operating costs, school officials told the Detroit
Free Press. Therefore, district officials say cuts must be made
elsewhere in the budget to remedy the budget deficit.

With some schools operating at half capacity some trustees told
the Free Press it's better to close buildings and cut back on
operating costs than eliminate staff and programs.

"When you get into a situation where you're not operating at
maximum efficiency in some of your buildings and you don't want
to cut programs that you worked hard to get, then you have to sit
back and look at options like this," school board trustee Jon
Green told the Free Press.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Warren Consolidated may close schools,"
Jan. 2, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/usouth2_20030102.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Outlining the options," Jan. 2, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skbox2_20030102.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally
Responsible Public School Districts," December 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4891


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STUDY CLAIMS TESTING HARMS STUDENTS
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WILLIAMSTON, Mich. – Rigorous achievement testing does little to
improve achievement and may actually worsen academic performance
and dropout rates, according to a recent study funded by
affiliates of the National Education Association.

The study, published by the Michigan Education Association's
research arm, the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and
Practice, found that while students show consistent improvement
on required state exams, the opposite is typically true of their
performance on other, independent measures of academic
achievement.

The study challenges recent calls for increased accountability
through testing, including provisions in President Bush's
sweeping education overhaul that require regular achievement
tests.

The study's methodology has drawn some criticism from some
education experts.

"You almost never have a pure cause-and-effect relationship,"
Chester E. Finn, an assistant secretary of education during the
Reagan administration told the New York Times. "Yes, you're
introducing high-stakes tests, but maybe you're also changing the
way you license teachers, or extending the school day, or
changing textbooks. There's always a lot of things going on
concurrently, so you really cannot peg everything to the high-
stakes tests."
_______
SOURCES:
Kalamazoo Gazette, "Study: Tests may hurt students,"
Dec. 27, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/kzgazette/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl ?/base/news-3/1041160822318000.xml

Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, "New
Research," January 2003
http://www.greatlakescenter.org/research.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Which Educational Achievement Test is
Best for Michigan? A Comparison of the MEAP, SAT-9, and ITBS,"
Early Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=4622


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HONOR SOCIETY ESTABLISHED FOR HOME SCHOOL STUDENTS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Home schoolers nationwide are creating their
own honor society to give above-average home school students an
equivalent honor to show college admissions offices.

Local chapters of Eta Sigma Alpha, the home schooling movement's
first honor society, are popping up in states such as

Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Iowa, New York, Oregon, North
Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

The new society reflects the increasing recognition of high
academic achievement by home schoolers, whose standardized test
scores have eclipsed those of their counterparts in public
schools.

Last year, home schoolers averaged 1092 on the SAT, compared with
the national average score of 1020, according to statistics
compiled by the Home School Legal Defense Association.
The National Honor Society and the National Beta Club do not
accept home-schooled students because they only allow chapters
that are affiliated with accredited educational institutions.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "Home-schoolers start a new honor society,"
Jan. 4, 2003
http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20030104-74776618.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Home schooling works, study finds,"
Early Fall 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=2212


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BUSH ANNOUNCES INCREASED AID FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Bush made one of his first
disclosures about a new federal budget this weekend, announcing a
9 percent increase in the funding aimed at helping lower-income
pupils.

Bush said he is proposing a $1 billion increase, for a total of
$12.3 billion, in funding for the Title I program aimed at low-
income students. He will also request more than $1.1 billion for
federal reading programs, $75 million more than last year's
request.

The announcement, in the year's first radio address, opens a new
effort by Bush to call attention to his education record and his
new education law as he begins his formal reelection campaign.
Officials said Bush plans frequent visits to schools this year to
encourage states and school districts to implement the No Child
Left Behind Act robustly.

A Republican National Committee memo sent to GOP leaders on
Friday cited "a great turnaround" in the party's image on
education, a longtime Democratic strength.

Democrats and a civil rights group told The Washington Post that
the increase is nowhere near enough for schools to afford
requirements of the Act.
_______
SOURCE:
Washington Post, "Bush touts 9% rise in funds for Poor Students,"
Jan. 5, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A11600-2003Jan4


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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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