MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 15
April 15, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* Hundreds of Michigan schools fail federal requirements
* Ypsilanti Public Schools uncovers illegal computer software
* Michigan House approves time limit on charter school decisions
* Virus disrupts students' travel plans
* Education official touts religious schools
* NOTICE: Free seminar for economics teachers
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HUNDREDS OF MICHIGAN SCHOOLS FAIL FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS
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LANSING, Mich. – The U.S. Department of Education released Monday
a list of 225 elementary and middle schools in Michigan that fail
to meet federal requirements set under the No Child Left Behind
Act of 2002.

According to the Act, public schools that receive federal funding
for special programs such as Title I must show adequate yearly
progress, which is determined by a school's test scores each
year. For Michigan, that means if schools fail to show
improvement on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests
two years in a row, they will be placed on the state's "failing
schools" list.

Failing schools face sanctions from the state and federal
governments and are required to allow students to transfer to
satisfactory schools in the same school district. After several
years of poor performance, schools must replace teachers and
change curriculum. After five years of failing, schools must
either reopen as a charter school or be taken over by the state.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "225 schools in Michigan won't make the
grade," April 12, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skuls12_20030412.htm

Detroit News, "Charter schools fail, too," April 15, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0304/15/a01-137983.htm

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

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


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YPSILANTI PUBLIC SCHOOLS UNCOVERS ILLEGAL COMPUTER SOFTWARE
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YPSILANTI, Mich. – Ypsilanti Public Schools Superintendent David
Zuhlke admitted last week that his school district is using over
$120,000 worth of illegally copied software.

According to Zuhlke, the situation was uncovered when Robert
Rice, the district's director of computer services, claimed that
he had been fired from his post due to the illegal software
incident, and not because he lied about having a master's degree
on his resume, as the Ypsilanti school board claimed. District
officials say they had no knowledge of the software problem until
Rice brought up the charge. Officials immediately began an
investigation and found Rice's statement to be true.

Rice said he told his former supervisor, the district's executive
director of educational services, Noni Miller, about the problem
last fall and said she dismissed it and did not want to discuss
it. The district says it will work with the software company to
resolve the issue.
_______
SOURCE:
Ann Arbor News, "Schools found in illegal position,"
Apr. 12, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-0/1050142375231000.xml


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MICHIGAN HOUSE APPROVES TIME LIMIT ON CHARTER SCHOOL DECISIONS
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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan House of Representatives approved a
measure last Thursday requiring the state superintendent of
public instruction to issue a school code within 30 days to any
charter school that submits an application. Each school receives
a school code from the state in order to obtain per-pupil funding
from the state.

The vote came in response to a decision by Superintendent Tom
Watkins to refuse school codes to seven charter schools sponsored
by Bay Mills Community College, located in the Upper Peninsula.
While community colleges in Michigan are allowed to open charter
schools, they are required to open them within their district.
However, Bay Mills is allowed to open charter schools anywhere in
Michigan because it serves American Indians across the state.

"The point is accountability and oversight is inadequate for
charter schools at this moment in time," Watkins told the Detroit
News. "Given that, creating additional charter schools is an
abdication of my responsibility."

The school aid budget will move to the Senate after the Easter
holiday.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "House approves timeline for charter school
decision," Apr. 12, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0304/13/schools-134694.htm

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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VIRUS DISRUPTS STUDENTS' TRAVEL PLANS
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Students at the University of Michigan will no
longer be traveling overseas on school-sanctioned trips to
Toronto or to countries in southern Asia due to the spread of the
SARS virus, which scientists so far have been unable to contain
or cure.

In addition, Michigan State University has changed some graduate
students' travel plans, sending some students to Scandinavia
instead of to SARS-affected areas. However, the university's
Office of Study Abroad has not cancelled its summer trip to Asia
for 41 students.

Paul Courant, U-M provost and executive vice president, told the
Detroit Free Press that, "Given that our knowledge about SARS is
still incomplete, these steps are fully warranted."
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Study plans disrupted for U-M, MSU,"
Apr. 5, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/study5_20030405.htm


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EDUCATION OFFICIAL TOUTS RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige
expressed his admiration for the "values of the Christian
community" in religious schools in an April Baptist Press
interview. "The reason that Christian schools and Christian
universities are growing is a result of a strong value system,"
Paige told the Press.

Critics such as Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans
United for Separation of Church and State, responded by saying
that Paige "...seems to have forgotten that he's not the secretary
of Christian education, but rather the education leader for all
children."

The secretary replied that his statements were simply an
expression of personal preference and not a matter of public
policy. "All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a
school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the
Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong
faith," Paige said in the interview. "Where a child is taught
that, there is a source of strength greater than themselves."
________
SOURCES:
Tampa Bay Press, "Education Leader States Preference for Schools
With Christian Values," Apr. 9, 2003
http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA4OXKKBED.html

Baptist Press, "Interview with the Secretary of Education,"
Apr. 11, 2003
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=15707


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NOTICE: FREE SEMINAR FOR ECONOMICS TEACHERS
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The Foundation for Teaching Economics is sponsoring a free summer
seminar, entitled "Economics for Leaders," July 13-20, 2003, on
the campus of Hillsdale College. The seminar is open to any
teacher of economics; it is especially suited for teachers of
social studies, civics and history.

Instruction in the application of economic principles will be
provided by a mentor teacher and two distinguished university
professors, including Dr. Gary Wolfram, Munson Professor of
Political Economy at Hillsdale College, and member of the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Board of Scholars.
The program is based on the National Voluntary Standards in
Economic Education.

Free room and board is provided on the campus of Hillsdale
College. Two semester credit hours will be awarded by the
University of California at Davis for a fee of $85.00. Three SB-
CEUs are available free of charge to Michigan public school
teachers.

For more information and to register, visit the Web site of the
Foundation for Teaching Economics at www.fte.org, or call (800)383-4335.


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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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