MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 2
Jan. 14, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Think tank asks Court of Appeals to dismiss MEA lawsuit
* District of Columbia teachers' union misspends millions
* STUDY: Michigan teacher quality lacking
* Metro Detroit superintendents seek help to bridge language gap
* New study shows positive public school response to school choice

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THINK TANK ASKS COURT OF APPEALS TO DISMISS MEA LAWSUIT
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MIDLAND, Mich. – On behalf of the Mackinac Center for Public
Policy, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice filed an
appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals last week to dismiss
the Michigan Education Association's lawsuit against the think
tank.

The MEA, the state's largest school employee union, sued the
think tank, a non-partisan research and educational institute,
last year after the Mackinac Center quoted the MEA's president in
a letter to think tank supporters. The letter quoted a statement
Lu Battaglieri made at his September, 2001 news conference at
which he told reporters, "Frankly, I admire what they [the
Mackinac Center] have done."

Institute for Justice representatives, who are defending the
Mackinac Center for free, say the suit is unreasonable and seeks
to limit free speech.

In papers filed with the court, the union claims the Mackinac
Center misappropriated Battaglieri's likeness.

"The MEA's goal in filing suit against the Mackinac Center has
apparently been to ensure that debate on educational issues in
Michigan would be inhibited, mild and closed," Clark Neily,
senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, told the
Associated Press.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Think tank wants teachers' union lawsuit
dismissed," Jan. 9, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0301/09/d07e-55595.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Education
Association Sues Mackinac Center for Public Policy for Quoting
the Union's President," Jan. 10, 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/4356


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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TEACHERS' UNION MISSPENDS MILLIONS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FBI is investigating a rash of allegations
that the District of Columbia teachers' union misspent nearly $2
million in questionable expenses.

FBI officials recently seized records from high-level union
officials and initiated a financial audit as part of the
investigation.

Union officials allegedly used dues money to purchase luxury
items such as "electronics, furs and custom clothes," according
to a Washington Post report. Union money was also allegedly spent
on supplies for the D.C. mayor's 2000 political campaign.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Post, "Teachers Union Takes Out Loan," Jan. 8, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A24693-2003Jan7

Washington Post, "Apathy and Secrecy Filled Teachers Union, Many
Say," Jan. 12, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A44244-2003Jan11

Washington Post, "Union Allegedly Paid Williams's Political
Bill," Jan. 13, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47561-2003Jan12.html

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Teachers Unions: Helping or
Hurting?"
http://www.mackinac.org/9399


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STUDY: MICHIGAN TEACHER QUALITY LACKING
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BETHESDA, Md. – A study released this week by Education Week gave
Michigan a D+ in "improving teacher quality," ranking above only
15 other states in that category.

"Quality Counts 2003," an annual education report card published
by Education Week, said Michigan's teacher testing, certification
requirements, and professional development programs are lacking,
compared to other states.

The study encourages states to increase the number of teachers
teaching within their trained subject areas and publishing
accurate pass/fail rates of teacher education programs in state
colleges and universities.
_______
SOURCES:
Education Week, "To Close the Gap, Quality Counts," Jan. 9, 2003
http://www.edweek.com/sreports/qc03/templates/article.cfm?slug=17exec.h22

Michigan Education Report, "Michigan lagging in teacher quality
says federal agency," Sept. 8, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4603

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "Must Teachers Be Certified to Be
Qualified?," Feb. 1, 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1651


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METRO DETROIT SUPERINTENDENTS SEEK HELP TO BRIDGE LANGUAGE GAP
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DETROIT, Mich. – The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires
that schools bring English proficiency to all students by 2012, a
challenge Metro Detroit superintendents are seeking to meet with
the help of parental and community involvement.

"One of the things that could address the needs of our Latino
children in the neighborhoods is to make sure that the schools
are empowered by Latino people," Javier Garibay, chief
administrator at Cesar Chavez Academy, a charter school, told the
Detroit News.

School administrators say burgeoning Hispanic enrollment
statewide is making it difficult to keep pace with English
proficiency, and the need for educators and support staffers who
speak Spanish is acute. The number of Hispanic students enrolled
in Metro Detroit schools has increased dramatically over the last
decade, increasing from 43 to 43.5 percent in some of the area's
largest school districts.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Hispanics rally to boost kids' education,"
Jan. 10, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0301/10/a01-56922.htm


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NEW STUDY SHOWS POSITIVE PUBLIC SCHOOL RESPONSE TO SCHOOL CHOICE
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NEW YORK, N.Y. – A study released by the Center for Civic
Innovation at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research shows a
positive connection between the ability of parents to select
their child's school and improvement in public schools' academic
services.

Some of the findings include "a significant positive relationship
between charter-school competition and public school test scores"
in Milwaukee; and, in Texas, public schools with private-school
competitors "did as well as or better than 85% of Texas school
districts."

"Choice programs create strong new incentives for public schools
to improve. The only way for a public school to keep its
students from leaving is to provide better educational services,"
study authors Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster recently wrote in a
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel commentary outlining the study.
_______
SOURCES:
Manhattan Institute, "Rising to the Challenge: The Effect of
School Choice on Public Schools in Milwaukee and San Antonio,"
October 2002
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cb_27.htm

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Choice proves beneficial for public
schools, too," Oct. 17, 2002
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_mjs-choice_proves.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Competition spurs public school
improvement," Sept. 13, 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/3057

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School
Choice on Public School Districts," July 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2962


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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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