MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 3
Jan. 21, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Granholm to cut school funding
* Editorial: President Bush right to oppose affirmative action
* Commentary: Granholm wants new early-childhood programs
* Poll: Grand Traverse area residents split on effectiveness of
  Proposal A
* State begins rating schools

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GRANHOLM TO CUT SCHOOL FUNDING
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LANSING, Mich. – After an emergency state budget meeting, Gov.
Jennifer Granholm has announced that she plans to cut over $130
million from the state's $12.7 billion school-aid budget.

This move would reduce the $6,700 per-student foundation grant by
about $56. "I think the governor did the right thing by going
after the sacred cow of state education spending," former Deputy
Director of Taxation Gary Wolfram told the South Bend Tribune.
"We know intuitively if you're spending $6,627 per pupil versus
$6,700, it should not affect the quality of the education in that
classroom."

During her campaign, Granholm made repeated promises not to
decrease school spending. However, the current economic climate
has forced the state to make cuts in all areas, including
education. "What has created the shortfall in the School Aid Fund
is the economy, not our valiant attempts to keep our promise to
Michigan's students and their parents," explained state Sen. Ron
Jelinek, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on K-
12 Education.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Schools' funding may face state chopping
block," Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/rev15_20030115.htm

South Bend Tribune, "Ideas vary on curing budget ills,"
Jan. 20, 2003
http://www.southbendtribune.com/stories/2003/01/20/local.20030120-sbt-MICH-A1-Ideas_vary_on_curing.sto

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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EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT BUSH RIGHT TO OPPOSE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
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NEW YORK, N.Y.– President Bush's opposition to the University of
Michigan's affirmative action admissions program was praised in a
New York Post editorial last week.

Two cases before the Supreme Court challenge the University's
race-based admissions program, citing discrimination against
students that are not minorities. "Discrimination is wrong," said
Bush in a speech last week.

There have been several conflicting decisions by lower courts on
the issue, both upholding and striking down affirmative action
programs. "There is no uniform law of the land governing the
issue," states the editorial.
_______
SOURCES:
New York Post, "The Content of W's Character," Jan. 16, 2003
http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/editorial/66746.htm

Boston Globe, "Administration urges 'race-neutral' method,"
Jan. 17, 2003
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/017/nation/Administration_urges_race_neutral_method+.shtml


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COMMENTARY: GRANHOLM WANTS NEW EARLY-CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS
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DETROIT, Mich. – Gov. Jennifer Granholm published a commentary in
the Detroit Free Press this week extolling the positive effects
of both mentoring and state-sponsored early childhood programs.

Granholm's campaign platform last fall promised to give each
child in Michigan a "great start" by expanding public education
to provide birth to preschool support. "I will not let our
financial crisis stand in the way of our moral and economic
obligation to raise all of our children strong and healthy,"
wrote Granholm.

The state's education budget must be cut by at least $130 million
this year to stay in the black, according to Granholm's
administration. Still, she says, the program will "expand early
childhood education programs to all of Michigan's schools."
______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Get involved to change young lives,"
Jan. 20, 2003
http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/egran20_20030120.htm


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POLL: GRAND TRAVERSE AREA RESIDENTS SPLIT ON EFFECTIVENESS OF
PROPOSAL A
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – An EPIC/MRA and Traverse City Record-Eagle
poll shows that Grand Traverse area residents are equally split
on the effectiveness of Proposal A, which voters approved in
1994.

The proposal completely overturned the state's education funding
system by changing the funding source from property taxes to the
state sales tax, which was subsequently increased from 4 to 6
percent.

Thirty-eight percent of the residents polled thought the proposal
has been successful, while 39 percent said it has been
unsuccessful. Twenty-four percent were undecided. "Proposal A was
a good idea and in most cases it has worked," James Pavelka,
superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools, told the
Record-Eagle.
______
SOURCES:
Traverse City Record-Eagle, "Poll: Residents split on Prop A,"
Jan. 20, 2003
http://www.record-eagle.com/2003/jan/20prop.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Finance Reform Lessons
from Michigan," Oct. 12, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3802


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STATE BEGINS RATING SCHOOLS
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GAYLORD, Mich. – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom
Watkins announced in December 2001 a plan to grade schools
according to performance, called "Education YES! A Yardstick for
Excellent Schools." The plan went into effect this school year,
beginning after students take the Michigan Education Assessment
Program (MEAP) tests this spring.

Each school will be graded on a letter-grade scale, garnering an
A, B, C, D, or F, based on the proficiency of students in that
school on the MEAP test.

Critics of the plan say it does not do enough to hold schools
accountable. Even so, schools are working hard to meet
accountability standards. Superintendent of Vanderbilt Area
Schools Ellen Bonter told the Gaylord Herald Times that, "Our
challenge is to provide the resources to encourage student
progress."
_______
SOURCES:
Gaylord Herald Times, "Education Yes! to rate local schools,"
Jan. 15, 2003
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=6704075&BRD=2030&PAG=461&dept_id=337742&rfi=6

Michigan Education Report, "State superintendent launches plan to
grade schools," February 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4083


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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 Neil Block at
[mailto:med@educationreport.org]

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