MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 10
March 11, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* MEA may raise teacher dues by maximum amount
* Granholm budget would restore public school funding, cut
scholarships
* Editorial: Keep tracking school spending in hard times
* High-stakes testing overemphasized, says study
* Schools receive federal anti-terrorism funding
* California school district plans to appeal pledge ruling

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MEA MAY RAISE TEACHER DUES BY MAXIMUM AMOUNT
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association, currently
facing a $10.7 million budget deficit, may be getting set to levy
the maximum allowable dues increase on its members.

According to a memo to MEA members obtained by Michigan Education
Digest, MEA officers are "proposing in the 2003-2004 budget a
dues increase of $11.19 per month, the maximum allowable under
our Bylaws."

The dues increase, which would cost teachers an extra $111.90 if
paid each month for a ten-month school year, would be only part
of a plan to balance the union's budget. According to the Feb. 6
memo, union officials have already had to cut $2 million in
expenses for such things as training, overtime and conferences;
they are negotiating with their own staff unions "regarding
retirement incentives and salary adjustments;" and planning the
elimination of 47 staff positions.

The memo assures members, "As ominous as this sounds, the
[pension] plan is in no danger of going under."

MEA spokeswoman Margaret Trimer-Hartley told Michigan Education
Digest she would neither confirm nor deny the dues increase.

The increase would raise the cost of MEA membership by 24.5
percent, according to Mike Antonucci, director of the California-
based Education Intelligence Agency.

Virtually all MEA-unionized teachers must pay the union dues or
fees to keep their jobs.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Teachers Union Suffers Deficit," Feb. 2, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0302/02/b01-74457.htm

Education Intelligence Agency, "Michigan Education Association
Proposes 24.5% Dues Hike," March 10, 2003
http://members.aol.com/educationintel/

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "State 'Teacher Bill of
Rights' Is Needed," April 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1660

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Education
Association Dues Increase Memo," March 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/5177


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STATE BUDGET RESTORES PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING, CUTS SCHOLARSHIPS
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LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Jennifer Granholm unveiled a 2004 budget
last week which restores her February pro-rated 1 percent cut to
education funding. Schools would not lose any per-pupil funding
under her plan, but funding would be reduced for adult education,
gifted and talented programs, and math and science centers.

Additionally, Michigan Merit Award scholarships would be reduced
from a maximum $2,500 to $500 for graduating seniors. The
scholarship, funded by Michigan's tobacco settlement money, is
given to students that score well on the Michigan Educational
Assessment Program (MEAP) achievement test. The proposed budget
also cuts higher education funding by 6.5 percent.

Granholm plans to balance a projected $1.7 billion deficit by
reducing spending $1.1 billion, increasing revenues $400 million,
and generating $300 million through one-time bookkeeping changes.
If the Legislature approves Granholm's plan, the changes will go
into effect Oct. 1 of this year.
_______
SOURCES:
Macomb Daily, "Granholm's budget excludes tax hike," Mar. 7, 2003
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7292096&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id=141265&rfi=6

Oakland Press, "State budget greeted by relief, anxiety,"
Mar. 7, 2003
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7295537&BRD=982&PAG=461&dept_id=467998&rfi=6

Detroit Free Press, "MEAP award to go from $2,500 to $500,"
Mar. 7, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/meap7_20030307.htm

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

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan's Budget Challenge"
http://www.mackinac.org/4964


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EDITORIAL: KEEP TRACKING SCHOOL SPENDING IN HARD TIMES
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DETROIT, Mich. – The state should keep its contract with Standard
and Poor's School Evaluation Services, which reports financial
data, test scores, statistics on class size, and a myriad of other
information located on a website it maintains for the state,
http://www.ses.standardandpoors.com, says the Detroit News.

Under Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed budget, funding for the
service, which costs $2.2 million per year, would be cut.

The data, available for public review, forces schools to be
accountable for the dollars they spend, according to the News.

One million users have viewed 18 million pages of data published
by S&P on the website, 36 percent of whom are parents. Teachers
and school administrators make up 30 percent of visitors, and the
remainder are researchers, journalists and government officials.

_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Track School Spending During Economic Downturn,"
Mar. 5, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/editorial/0303/05/a10-100086.htm

Ann Arbor News, "Cutbacks in school programs," Mar. 7, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl ?/base/news-3/1047051765106830.xml

Michigan Education Report, "Michigan administrative expenses top
$1.4 billion," Spring 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4366


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HIGH-STAKES TESTING OVEREMPHASIZED, SAYS STUDY
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BOSTON, Mass. – The Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP)
is overemphasized in the classroom, says a new national study,
and should have less of an impact in education.

The study, published by the Lynch School of Education at Boston
College, surveyed teachers in Michigan, Massachusetts and Kansas
to review the impact of high-stakes testing on education.
Teachers interviewed said that, because of the tests, creativity
is dampened and more classroom time is spent preparing for the
tests, which is commonly referred to as "teaching to the test."

However, some teachers noted the positive impact the tests had on
instruction, saying that there is a new emphasis on reading and
writing skills. This has been helpful to students in some
instances, Karen Zyczynski, president of the Livonia Education
Association, told the Detroit Free Press. But "There's a point
where you go over the line," she said.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Study: MEAP testing is a mixed bag,"
Mar. 5, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nmtest5_20030305.htm

Boston College, "Perceived Effects of State-Mandated Testing
Programs on Teaching and Learning," March 2003
http://www.bc.edu/research/nbetpp/reports.html

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Which Educational Achievement
Test is Best for Michigan?" May 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4382

Michigan Education Report, "Markets, not MEAP, best way to
measure school quality," Spring 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2872


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SCHOOLS RECEIVE FEDERAL ANTI-TERRORISM FUNDING
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave
schools a new website and money last Friday to help prepare for
possible terrorist attacks.

Schools can draw on $30 million in federal funding to help create
emergency plans. A national school crisis security plan will also
be released as a model for schools on how to respond to chemical
and biological attacks.

The website, http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan/, contains press
releases with new information on school safety and resources for
parents and administrators dealing with safety issues. The
website also links to several school districts that have
exemplary safety plans, including the Montgomery County, Md.
school district, where one of last year's sniper shootings
occurred.

"We can be ready or we can be afraid. And you know Americans
aren't afraid of anything, so we'll just be ready," said Ridge.
When asked if he had intelligence showing schools as a target, he
said "No, none."
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Post, "Feds Give Schools Anti-Terrorism Money,"
Mar. 7, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57548-2003Mar7.html

U.S. Department of Education, "Emergency Planning"
http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan/

Michigan Education Report, "Tragedies spur action on school
safety," Spring 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2887

Michigan Education Report, "The three P's of school safety:
parents, prevention, and police," Fall 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=3134


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CALIFORNIA SCHOOL DISTRICT PLANS TO APPEAL PLEDGE RULING
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ELK GROVE, Calif. – The Elk Grove Unified School District will
appeal last week's Pledge of Allegiance ruling by the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court this spring,
according to district officials.

The ruling by the Ninth Circuit upheld last year's controversial
ruling that daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in
public schools is unconstitutional, but struck down a lower
court's decision that the Pledge itself is unconstitutional. The
father of an Elk Grove student sued the district because he felt
the daily practice of reciting the Pledge, which includes the
words, "Under God," is unconstitutional.

The Ninth Circuit granted last Tuesday a 90-day stay on the
ruling so Elk Grove has time to file its writ before the ruling
goes into effect. During the stay, students are allowed to recite
the Pledge as they have in the past. Once the district files its
writ for review with the Supreme Court, the stay will
automatically be extended until the Court decides the case or
lets the current ruling stand.
_______
SOURCES:
Washington Post, "School District to Appeal Pledge Ruling,"
Mar. 3, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36256-2003Mar3.html

Elk Grove Unified School District, "Pledge News"
http://www.egusd.k12.ca.us/whatsnew/0306b03.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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