MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 12
March 25, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Charter school bill passes Michigan House
* State universities plan tuition hikes
* Lawmakers push for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  reform
* New plan would reinstate Michigan Merit Award
* U.S. House resolution condemns 9th Circuit's Pledge of
  Allegiance ruling

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CHARTER SCHOOL BILL PASSES MICHIGAN HOUSE
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LANSING, Mich. – State universities would be able to charter 300
additional public school academies over the next seven years
under a bill passed in the state House of Representatives last
Thursday.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Brian Palmer, R-Romeo, allows
universities to open a maximum of 30 charter schools each year for
the next 10 years. At the end of a decade, Michigan would have
450 charter schools, including the current 150 allowed by state
law. The bill also allows community colleges in Detroit to
charter schools in their district.

In addition to the new cap, charter schools would have to comply
with more extensive regulations imposed by the state, including
detailed financial records concerning the school and its leases,
and information on all the schools' contractual obligations.
Under the House plan, if any charter school in the state ceases
operations, all its assets, but none of its liabilities, would
revert to the state.
_______
SOURCES:
MichiganVotes.org, House Bill 4148
http://www.michiganvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=15307

MichiganLegislature.org, House Bill 4148
http://www.michiganlegislature.org/documents/2003-2004/billengrossed/house/htm/2003-HEBH-4148.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Time to Stop Beating Up on
Charter Schools," November 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4864

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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STATE UNIVERSITIES PLAN TUITION HIKES
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LANSING, Mich. – In response to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to
cut Michigan's higher education budget 6.5 percent this year,
universities across the state are planning major tuition hikes
and budget cuts to offset the loss of funding.

Michigan Technological University in Houghton, for example, is
planning to raise tuition in excess of 20 percent. The school
ended its 83-year-old football program to save $350,000 and will
lay off faculty and staff. Even with the cuts, the school will
post a $10 million deficit by January.

Even smaller schools such as Oakland University and Saginaw
Valley State University plan to raise tuition by about 10
percent. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan
will not disclose how much they will raise tuition for the next
school year. The University of Michigan says Granholm's budget
cuts will cost the school $36 million.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Hefty tuition hikes planned," Mar. 20, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0303/24/d01-113843.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Private Prepaid Tuition
Programs Can Help Make College Affordable," September 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3685

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan's Budget Challenge,"
January 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/4964


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LAWMAKERS PUSH FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
REFORM
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives is
considering reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), which was originally passed in 1975. The
act provides federal mandates and assistance for special
education programs.

There is much debate about the effectiveness of the act. For
example, IDEA currently identifies students as needing special
help by means of an IQ test critics say is administered too late
for many students to receive help. The bill would eliminate this
test in favor of better means of helping students.

"We must ensure that children with disabilities are given access
to an education that maximizes their unique abilities, and
provides them with the tools for later success," Rep. Mike
Castle, R-Del., chairman of the Subcommittee on Education Reform,
told CNN. The bill would increase federal funding of special
education programs from the current level of 18 percent of a
state's per-pupil cost to 40 percent within seven years.
_______
SOURCES:
CNN, "Special education may get overhaul," Mar. 19, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/03/19/special.education.ap/index.html

Detroit News, "Cut Red Tape, Free More Dollars for Special
Education Students," Mar. 23, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/editorial/0303/24/a20-115710.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Do Private Schools Serve
Difficult-to-Educate Students?" January 1997
http://www.mackinac.org/361


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NEW PLAN WOULD REINSTATE MICHIGAN MERIT AWARD
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Merit Award scholarship program may
be fully reinstated under a new plan being promoted by several
state representatives.

Reps. Leon Drolet, R-Clinton Twp., Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison
Twp., David Farhat, R-Muskegon, and Dave Robertson, R-Grand
Blanc, told the Detroit News they will sponsor a bill to restore
funding to the Michigan Merit Award scholarship program, which is
in danger of being cut from $2,500 per student to $500 under Gov.
Jennifer Granholm's new budget plan.

The scholarships are given to high school seniors that perform
well on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests.
The legislators plan to reinstate the full $2,500 scholarships by
cutting funding for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
by $60 million per year and using that money to fund the
scholarship program.

The scholarships will be awarded to 36,000 high school seniors
this year.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Merit awards may be saved," Mar. 21, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0303/24/a07-114666.htm

Michigan Education Report, "College bound students receive new
state scholarships," Fall 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/3058


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U.S. HOUSE RESOLUTION CONDEMNS 9TH CIRCUIT'S PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
RULING
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives passed a
nonbinding resolution last Thursday condemning the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that reciting the Pledge of
Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.

The resolution, which passed 400-7 with 15 members voting
"present," holds that the phrase "one nation, under God," does
not endorse religion but reflects the religious faith central to
the founding of the nation, and is a patriotic act, not a
statement of faith. The resolution states that the 9th Circuit's
findings are "inconsistent with the Supreme Court's
interpretation of the first amendment."

The 9th Circuit upheld a lower court's ruling that disallows
schools from conducting daily flag salutes and recitation of the
pledge. However, the panel struck down the lower court's ruling
that the 1954 law that added the words "under God" to the Pledge
was unconstitutional.
_______
SOURCES:
CNN, "House condemns ruling on Pledge of Allegiance,"
Mar. 20, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/03/20/congress.pledge.ap/index.html

Thomas.loc.gov, H. Res. 132
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:h.res.132.eh:


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MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
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