MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 8
Feb. 25, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Detroit school takeover case
* Rochester schools may pull students out of International
   Baccalaureate Academy to save money
* National PTA losing membership
* Michigan schools examine alternate budget-cutting plan
* Report: After-school programs cost $1 billion per year, don't
   perform
* Michigan universities claim nothing left to cut from budgets

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U.S. SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO HEAR DETROIT SCHOOL TAKEOVER CASE
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Supreme Court last week
refused to hear a case claiming that the Detroit reform school
board is illegal. The refusal means two lower court decisions
ruling that the board is not illegal will be upheld. Former
Detroit mayor Dennis Archer installed the reform board in 1999
under a law passed by the Michigan Legislature that year. Reform
board members are appointed by the mayor of Detroit instead of
being elected by residents of the city.

The lawsuit, brought by Detroit community groups, claims that
because the takeover inordinately affected minorities, it
violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Act prohibits states
from restricting voting other than by requiring proof of
citizenship and voting registration.

State leaders have argued that such a takeover was necessary due
to Detroit schools' poor performance and financial mismanagement.
Two lower courts, the U.S. District Court and the U.S. 6th
Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the board did not violate
the voting rights of citizens because the Act only applies to the
election of those who make laws, not to administrative officials
like school board members.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Supreme Court won't hear Detroit school takeover
case," Feb. 24, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/24/schools-92699.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Can Mayors Solve School
Problems?" March 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1653

Michigan Education Report, "Compromise Gives Archer Control of
Detroit Schools," Spring 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1678


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ROCHESTER SCHOOLS MAY PULL STUDENTS OUT OF INTERNATIONAL
BACCALAUREATE ACADEMY TO SAVE MONEY
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ROCHESTER, Mich. – Officials of Rochester Community Schools say
that in order to save more than $700,000, they may eliminate the
ability of its finest students to attend an advanced school in
another district.

Rochester Schools is part of a consortium of districts that sends
its top students to the International Academy, a public magnet
school located in Bloomfield Hills. Ninety-two Rochester students
attend the school for free; their per-pupil state foundation
grant is redirected to the Academy instead of going to the
Rochester district, an arrangement permitted through Michigan's
schools-of-choice program.

But the district is considering pulling those students back from
the Academy in order to gain over $700,000 in state aid.
Rochester is the only Michigan school district considering such a
move.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Rochester schools think about leaving academy,"
Feb. 19, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/19/a02-89159.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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NATIONAL PTA LOSING MEMBERSHIP
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The national Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
lost a significant number of members in the last 40 years because
of its focus on politics rather than education, says a February
report by the Capital Research Center (CRC) of Washington, D.C.

In the 1960s, PTA membership nationwide reached a high of about
12 million, while the organization reports membership of only 6.5
million today. The CRC report attributes much of this decline to
the group's lobbying on causes that may alienate many parents,
such as welfare, nuclear waste disposal, federal tax cuts, and
abortion rights.

According to the CRC, the PTA loses members not only because it
lobbies for non-education related issues, but because it also
insists on placing those issues at the forefront of the
organizational agenda. Parents "want to be sure that their school
has enough teachers and resources to educate their children," and
do not join the organization to lobby for reasons other than
furthering that singular cause, says the report.
_______
SOURCES:
Capital Research Center, "National PTA' s Liberal Politics Cost
Parental Support," February 2003
http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/x3765443936.pdf

Michigan Education Report, "PTA Officials Oppose Tuition Tax
Credits," Spring 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1691

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Opponents of School Choice,"
July 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/2089


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MICHIGAN SCHOOLS EXAMINE ALTERNATE BUDGET-CUTTING PLAN
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LANSING, Mich. – A number of school districts and school groups
support new legislation they say makes Gov. Jennifer Granholm's
school aid cut more equitable to all schools.

Currently, districts may lose from $40 to over $100 per pupil due
to the governor's prorated $130 million cut in the state's School
Aid Fund. Senate Bill 192, introduced by Sen. Ron Jelinek (R-
Three Oaks), replaces that variable cut with a straight $69 per
student cut for all schools in the state. "It's an issue of
fairness," say supporters of the bill, according to Booth
Newspapers.

The School Equity Caucus, a coalition of 300 school districts
formed to push for a more equitable funding cut, says the current
plan is unfair to districts that receive more "discretionary non-
mandated" funding for special programs from the state. Such non-
mandated funding is at greatest risk in the current round of
school aid cuts.
_______
SOURCES:
Booth Newspapers, "School groups looking for alternate budget-
cutting plan," Feb. 21, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/statewide/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-1/1045825833191300.xml

MichiganVotes.org, Senate Bill 192
http://www.michiganvotes.org/15975

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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REPORT: AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS COST $1 BILLION PER YEAR, DON'T
PERFORM
---------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After-school programs run by the federal
government at a cost of over $1 billion per year have no academic
effect on students they serve, says a study by the U.S.
Department of Education. In addition, students enrolled in such
programs are exposed to bullies, vandals and drug abusers more
frequently than their peers.

The study found that students in after-school programs were more
likely to have behavioral problems. In addition, "participants
were just as likely as comparison group students to complete
homework."

Judy Samelson, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, a
D.C. nonprofit dedicated to providing services for after school
programs, criticized the report. "It is terribly disappointing
that the report highlights only negative findings and that the
Bush administration is using this study to justify a deep,
indefensible cut in the federal after-school program," she told
the Washington Times.

President Bush proposed a 2004 budget of $600 million for after-
school programs, a 40 percent reduction from the 2003 budget
year.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "After-school programs don't teach,"
Feb. 19, 2003
http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20030219-192903.htm

Department of Education, "When Schools Stay Open Late: The
National Evaluation of the 21st-Century Community Learning
Centers Program," January 2003
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/21cent/firstyear/


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MICHIGAN UNIVERSITIES CLAIM NOTHING LEFT TO CUT FROM BUDGETS
---------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed fiscal 2003-
2004 budget, to be released March 6, will likely include a large
cut for state universities, according to the governor. "I do
think there is fat in universities and colleges," Granholm told
the Detroit Free Press.

State university officials, however, say there is nothing more in
their own budgets that can be cut. "We do not have fat to cut,"
said Cheryl Roland, spokeswoman for Western Michigan University
in Kalamazoo.

University of Michigan Provost Paul Courant echoed Roland's
sentiments, commenting, "We are not immune to the usual cost
drivers – salaries, utility costs, health benefits and general
inflation." Courant expects his school's appropriations to be
reduced by $55 million, while operating costs will increase $50
million.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Universities say there's no fat left for
them to trim," Feb. 21, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nuniv21_20030221.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Budget cuts may hit state colleges hard,"
Feb. 20, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/gran20_20030220.htm


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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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