MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 20
May 20, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


-----------------------------------------------------------------
Contents of this issue:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
* Michigan Senate votes to restore school funding
* Granholm meets with "failing schools" principals
* Minority leaders plan protests against Florida achievement test
* Intermediate school district approves bus privatization
* Union leader attacks "No Child Left Behind" Act
* McBain schools approves schools-of-choice program

----------------------------------------------------------------
MICHIGAN SENATE VOTES TO RESTORE SCHOOL FUNDING
----------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Senate unanimously voted last week
to relieve most of a state school aid shortfall by cutting other
areas of state government.

State officials reported early last week that the state school
aid fund will miss projected revenues, creating a $92 million
shortfall in the fund. Gov. Jennifer Granholm released her plan
to fix the problem by drawing from a revenue sharing account,
instead of cutting departments funded by the general fund, which
have already been cut twice this year. Both the Senate and Gov.
Granholm say that school aid will not be cut no matter how the
shortfall is fixed.

Some Senate Republicans say they would rather cut the general
fund so next year's budget is not affected by this year's cuts,
"But we're willing to look at any reasonable option out there,"
Bill Nowling, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema,
R-Wyoming, told the Detroit News.
______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Michigan schools' funding rescued," May 15, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0305/15/c10-165208.htm


----------------------------------------------------------------
GRANHOLM MEETS WITH "FAILING SCHOOLS" PRINCIPALS
----------------------------------------------------------------
BRIGHTON, Mich. – Gov. Jennifer Granholm met with 170 principals
of failing schools Friday to discuss school improvement. Two
hundred schools in Michigan did not meet adequate yearly progress
requirements on state assessment tests prescribed in the federal
"No Child Left Behind" Act of 2002.

"The emergency lights are going. The fire alarm is on, and we
have triaged all of our efforts on your schools," Granholm told
the principals. "This is the test of your leadership," she said.
"This is where you can make a difference."

Part of the state's leadership role, Granholm said, will be
implementing new programs to raze abandoned homes that students
pass on the way to school and changing child-care regulations to
require 30 minutes of reading each day in child-care centers.
Principals were given lists of community resources within two
miles of their schools as well.
_______
SOURCES:
Booth Newspapers, "Granholm tells principals it's 'turn-around
summer' for poorly performing schools," May 17, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/statewide/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-2/1053121201187190.xml

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


-----------------------------------------------------------------
MINORITY LEADERS PLAN PROTESTS AGAINST FLORIDA ACHIEVEMENT TEST
-----------------------------------------------------------------
NAPLES, Fla. – A coalition of church groups and minority leaders
calling itself the FCAT Protest Coalition, is planning protests
against a Florida law that will not allow 13,000 high school
seniors to graduate because of below-standard grades on the
Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT).

The Coalition has called upon Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to set aside
this year's results to let those that failed the FCAT graduate
this spring. In addition to protests, the group wants Floridians
to boycott the Florida Lottery, the citrus industry, and major
theme parks.

The coalition claims the test is unfair to minorities; yet
officials say state get-tough achievement policies are working:
Forty-one percent of black fourth-graders read at grade level
this year, up from 23 percent in 1998. Similarly, 51 percent of
Hispanic fourth-graders read at grade level, up from 38 percent
that same year.
_______
SOURCES:
CNN, "Florida achievement test prompts protests," May 19, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/05/19/florida.school.tests.ap/index.html

Michigan Education Report, "Which educational achievement test is
best for Michigan?" Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4622


-----------------------------------------------------------------
INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT APPROVES BUS PRIVATIZATION
-----------------------------------------------------------------
HOLLAND, Mich. – The Ottawa Area Intermediate School District has
approved a five-year, $8.3 million contract with Lansing-based
Dean Transportation, a private company, to provide the district's
bus services for its special-needs students.

The district school board made the decision after hearing parent
concerns regarding the children's safety.

The contract provides that Dean Transportation use buses less
than 10 years old, that the company purchase the district's 34-
bus fleet and that the intermediate district and parents might
have drivers removed from the runs if they consider them unfit.

The district's vote was unanimous, but some parents and bus
drivers voiced opposition to the decision. "I have a strong sense
that what you're doing to them is wrong," Ottawa district bus
driver Bonnie Vangrangt told the Holland Sentinel. "They're
busing the kids to make a profit."

Current drivers will be allowed to drive for the company and will
keep their current ranks in seniority.
________
SOURCES:
Holland Sentinel, "Parents angered by busing decision,"
May 19, 2003
http://hollandsentinel.com/stories/051603/loc_051603001.shtml

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Privatization's Big Picture,"
Summer 1996
http://www.mackinac.org/291


-----------------------------------------------------------------
UNION LEADER ATTACKS "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" ACT
-----------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. – In a speech before 66 members of the Grand
Rapids Education Association, National Education Association
President Reg Weaver criticized President Bush's "No Child Left
Behind" Act of 2002, saying that it "sets public schools up to
fail."

"The voucherites and privatizers can swoop in and, like Batman
and Robin, 'save' public education by dismantling it," said
Weaver, responding to a recent wave of privatization plans
instituted by school districts and allowed by the Act. "Public
education is under mounting attack by those who would like to
turn the educating of America's children over to the churches and
private corporations."

Weaver is seeking support for five proposed revisions of the Act,
which would, among other things, make it easier for districts to
escape judgment as a failed school, and require the federal
government to fully fund the Act's mandates.
_______
SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "Expert says Bush's education plan sets up
schools for failure," May 16, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-8/1053096445295430.xml

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


-----------------------------------------------------------------
MCBAIN SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES SCHOOLS-OF-CHOICE PROGRAM
-----------------------------------------------------------------
MCBAIN, Mich. – During a special board of education meeting last
Friday, members of the McBain Rural Agricultural District
unanimously approved a "schools-of-choice" program to start in
the fall.

District officials said that they enacted the program to bring in
the state revenue that would come from attracting students from
outside their district.

McBain Board President Dick Eisegna said that districts should
work together through Michigan's statewide schools-of-choice
program. "I personally feel it's silly to buck the system. We
should keep with unity and let the system work," he said.
________
SOURCES:
Cadillac News, "McBain votes to accept Schools of Choice,"
May 19, 2003
http://www.cadillacnews.com/articles/2003/05/17/news/news03.txt

Michigan Education Report, "Public Schools of Choice Give Parents
More Options," Winter 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1571

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Case for Choice in
Schooling," January 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3236

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School
Choice on Public School Districts," July 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2962


#################################################
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]

To subscribe, go to:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/#subscribe.
#################################################

Share More …