MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 6
Feb. 11, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Livonia ties administrators' pay increases to M.E.A.P. scores
* Senate bill would raise dropout age to 18
* Study finds more African Americans choosing home schooling
* Pennsylvania district introduces plan to grade parents
* Study: Greater school funding doesn't always mean higher
M.E.A.P. scores
* Gun fire strikes school board member's home
* Michigan requests leniency for federal "failing schools"
designation
* New York parents sue schools for choice guaranteed under
federal law
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LIVONIA TIES ADMINISTRATORS' PAY INCREASES TO M.E.A.P. SCORES
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LIVONIA, Mich. – The results of the Michigan Educational
Assessment Program (MEAP) test barrage this past week will
determine the size of 13 Livonia school administrators' pay
increases.

In an unprecedented move, Livonia Schools Superintendent Kenneth
Watson in January declared that the district's top administrators
would receive pay increases dependent upon student MEAP scores.
"It's not unlike the private sector where upper level
management's salaries and benefits are tied to the overall
success of the organization," Watson told the Detroit News.

The district will award administrators a 3 percent pay increase,
based on how well students do in 13 different MEAP categories. If
Livonia student scores in all 13 categories fall in the top 25
percent of Michigan district scores, administrators will receive
a 3.25 percent salary increase.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Livonia ties pay increases to MEAP," Feb. 10, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/10/a01-81141.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Incentives for Teacher Performance in
Government Schools: An Idea Whose Time Has Come," Spring 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4373

Michigan Education Report, "Denver Teachers Receive Pay for
Performance," Fall 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/2498


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SENATE BILL WOULD RAISE DROPOUT AGE TO 18
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LANSING, Mich. – In January, State Sen. Liz Brater, D-Washtenaw,
introduced legislation that would raise the current school
dropout age from 16 to 18, making school attendance compulsory
for all minors in the state.

In addition, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has announced that she would
couple the bill with a mandate that the state deny drivers
licenses to students that are habitually truant or drop out of
school.

Proponents of the legislation say the law would help increase
graduation rates and help students prepare for work after
graduation. Opponents say students forced to be in school would
likely become disruptive and detrimental to the school.

The Senate Committee on Education never acted upon a similar bill
in 2001.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Bill would keep kids in school until 18,"
Feb. 5, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/05/a08-77622.htm

MichiganVotes.org, Senate Bill 24
http://www.michiganvotes.org/14183


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STUDY FINDS MORE AFRICAN AMERICANS CHOOSING HOME SCHOOLING
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SALEM, Ore. – The number of black children being home schooled
nationwide has increased nearly 10-fold since 1999, according to
the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI). The
federal government estimated four years ago that only 1 percent –
or 8,500 – of home-schooled children were black; the NHERI now
estimates that the number has increased to 85,000, or about 5
percent.

"People are just getting disappointed with public schools,"
Gilbert Wilkerson, a home-schooling father of four children and
founder of the Virginia-based Network of Black Homeschoolers,
said in a Washington Times interview. "We're finding that the
public schools today are not doing enough to make black children
competitive."

"Kids are falling through the cracks in our public schools here,
and the children are not being provided the same quality of
education as their counterparts in other neighborhoods," said
Karla McKinney, a home-schooling mother in Atlanta. The National
Center for Education Statistics reports that home schooling on
the whole is increasing by 7 to fifteen percent annually.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "Blacks turn to home schooling," Feb. 9, 2003
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030209-93364246.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Home-School Heroes,"
July 1998
http://www.mackinac.org/485


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PENNSYLVANIA DISTRICT INTRODUCES PLAN TO GRADE PARENTS
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LEBANON, Pa. – Starting next fall, the Lebanon School District
will issue report cards to parents measuring such items as
student health, cleanliness and parental attendance at
conferences.

Believed to be one of the first programs of its kind, the program
was created to encourage parents to ensure their child's academic
preparedness. "We know that all types of research show that it's
more likely that students who have parents who are involved are
more successful in school," Lebanon Schools Superintendent
Marianne Bartley told the Washington Times. "We have a lot of
parents who are involved and do a wonderful job, but we need to
make sure that it's widespread."

Some parents, however, think the policy is demeaning and
insulting. "It's inappropriate for a government agency to be
critiquing and evaluating people's parenting skills," said Julie
Woestehoff, head of a parents' group.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "Pennsylvania schools may grade parents,"
Feb. 9, 2003
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030209-3162202.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Award-Winning Teacher Says Parental
Involvement Is Key," Fall 1998
http://www.mackinac.org/766

Michigan Education Report, "Parents, not schools, must ultimately
be responsible for children," Winter 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3224


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GREATER SCHOOL FUNDING DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN HIGHER M.E.A.P. SCORES
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DETROIT – A study released last week states that 171 of
Michigan's 554 school districts have above-average scores on the
Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) achievement tests,
while spending less per student than the average Michigan
district.

The study, released by Standard & Poor's School Evaluation
Services, also found that 92 districts are spending more than the
state average per student, yet have below-average MEAP scores.

Schools that were able to achieve well on the test with less
money had several common qualities, such as focused and highly
trained teachers, high community expectations for schools, and
clear goals set by district administrators.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Good scores don't always cost," Feb. 4, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul4_20030204.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "With Clear Eyes, Sincere
Hearts and Open Minds," July 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4447

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "More Spending Not the
Solution to School Woes," December 1993
http://www.mackinac.org/137


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GUN FIRE STRIKES SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER'S HOME
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RIVER ROUGE, Mich. – The home of River Rouge school board member
Dale Sprinkle was hit with gun fire early Sunday morning,
according to a report in the Detroit News. Five shots penetrated
the front window, one barely missing Sprinkle's teenage daughter,
who was sleeping on a couch near the window.

Sprinkle believes that the aggression was due to his part in the
investigation of $1 million discovered missing from the school
district. He was president of the River Rouge school board when
the investigation began; the board voted to suspend four district
administrators after the findings of an audit, due to their
alleged roles in the scandal.

The missing money was allegedly spent on unauthorized raises,
contracts that were not bid, and other irregular expenditures.
River Rouge police are investigating the shooting and have
declined comment.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "School official's home hit by bullets,"
Feb. 10, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0302/10/c01-80883.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Financial scandals exposed in
Michigan school districts," Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4835


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MICHIGAN REQUESTS LENIENCY FOR FEDERAL "FAILING SCHOOLS"
DESIGNATION
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LANSING, Mich. – At the request of many school administrators and
state officials, Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tom Watkins sent an appeal to the Bush administration last week,
asking that the state be permitted to recalculate its number of
"failing schools" under a new, more lenient formula.

The federal "No Child Left Behind" legislation of 2002 requires
states to report the number of schools deemed "failing" by
individual state standards. Each state determines what standards
it will use to measure progress. Under the new proposed formula,
400 to 600 Michigan schools would be designated as failing,
instead of 1,500, the number so designated under the state's
previous standard.

The original standards, set in 1994, required 75 percent of a
school's student population to pass the Michigan Educational
Assessment Program achievement tests to avoid the "failing"
designation. The state board of education voted last November to
change that standard to one that labels a school failing if its
MEAP scores fall below the 20th percentile in the state. Federal
law requires that 100 percent of students pass the MEAP test by
the 2013-14 school year to avoid the "failing" designation.
_______
SOURCES:
Booth Newspapers, "Michigan asks feds to allow it to change
determination of 'failing schools'," Feb. 4, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/statewide/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-1/104431560151640.xml

Michigan Education Report, "President signs 'No Child Left Behind
Act'," Winter 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4082

Michigan Education Report, "No Child Left Behind law demands
'adequate yearly progress' and offers school choice options for
parents," Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4846


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NEW YORK PARENTS SUE SCHOOLS FOR CHOICE GUARANTEED UNDER FEDERAL
LAW
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ALBANY, N.Y. – Parents in New York City and Albany, N.Y. have
filed lawsuits contending that their school districts are not
obeying a federal mandate that they offer school choice to
students at "failing schools," according to a report in Education
Week.

The suits claim that the districts held back information about
students' ability to transfer to other schools and denied
applications for such transfers. The "No Child Left Behind" Act
of 2002 requires that schools labeled "failing" for two
consecutive years allow students to transfer to other buildings
in their district.

Lonnie E. Palmer, superintendent of the Albany City School
District, commented, "We feel we complied with the letter and the
spirit of the law . I think this [lawsuit] is more of a public
relations effort than a legal effort."
_______
SOURCES:
Education Week, "Suits Contend Officials Fail to Obey ESEA,"
Feb. 5, 2003
http://www.educationweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=21esea.h22

Michigan Education Report, "No Child Left Behind law demands
'adequate yearly progress' and offers school choice options for
parents," Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4846


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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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