MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 22
June 3, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Granholm proposes new need-based scholarship
* Study: Most teachers paid relatively well
* Some Washington state districts exaggerate budgets to obtain
funding
* Report: Charter schools have more teachers who teach outside
their subject areas
* Students call "free speech zones" unconstitutional
* Texas school funding system to be changed
* NOTICE: Mackinac Center announces high school debate workshop
schedule, speakers

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GRANHOLM PROPOSES NEW NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP
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LANSING, Mich. – In a move to save state money, Gov. Jennifer
Granholm introduced a plan last week to consolidate five Michigan
scholarships and create a new, single scholarship based on need.

Michigan's public universities support the new plan, which would
create a $112 million general scholarship fund. But many college
students say they will lose scholarship money if the plan is
adopted by the Legislature. Private school officials say their
institutions would be crippled under Granholm's plan, since 65
percent of state scholarship aid is currently earmarked for
private school students.

For example, Davenport University, with campuses in Michigan and
northern Indiana, says 43 percent of its student body would be
unable to attend if the proposed changes are made. "These are the
dollars of last resort for many students," Randolph Flechsig,
president of Davenport, told the Lansing State Journal. "It's a
misconception that this money is going to the elite and wealthy."
________
SOURCES:
Lansing State Journal, "Proposal redirects college scholarships
funds," May 30, 2003
http://www.lsj.com/news/local/030530_money_1a-4a.html

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

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


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STUDY: MOST TEACHERS PAID RELATIVELY WELL
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A leading education researcher says that most
public school teachers in the United States make relatively
competitive wages, challenging conventional wisdom that teachers
are underpaid.

Michael Podgursky, chairman of the University of Missouri's
economics department, found that teachers make salaries nearly
identical to engineers, architects and surveyors. In addition, he
claims teachers are better paid than computer programmers,
accountants, and auditors.

The study says that teachers work approximately 190 days per
year, 30 percent less than the average professional job.
Podgursky broke down salaries of several professions by the hour
and concluded that the hourly rate for teachers was $30 per hour
in 2001, about the same as many mid-level professional jobs.

Some contest the findings, saying that teaching is a complex and
demanding job that sometimes extends beyond the hours teachers
spend in a classroom. "It's common sense and common wisdom that
they are underpaid for the work they do," said Sandra Feldman,
president of the American Federation of Teachers.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Study: Most teachers are paid well," June 3, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0306/03/a04-182670.htm

Education Next, "Fringe Benefits," Summer 2003
http://www.educationnext.org/20033/71.html

Michigan Education Report, "Increase teachers' pay the right
way," Early Fall 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/3084

Michigan Education Report, "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality: How
Do They Relate?" Spring 1999
http://www.educationreport.org/1681


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SOME WASHINGTON STATE DISTRICTS EXAGGERATE BUDGETS
TO OBTAIN FUNDING
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SEATTLE, Wash. – Some school districts in Washington state
intentionally have overstated budget projections in order to
receive more tax revenue, according to the Washington Auditor's
Office.

In Washington, the amount of federal funding a district receives
determines how much property tax it can levy. Under that rule,
districts can overstate their federal funding projections in
order to levy larger property taxes. For instance, the Seattle
school district projected $11.7 million more in federal grants
last year than it actually received, and consequently raised
local tax revenues by $3.8 million.

The district defends its actions, saying that school districts
are uncertain about how much federal funding they will receive.
State regulatory changes to the system are pending.
________
SOURCES:
Seattle Times, "'Highballing' brings in more school taxes,"
May 31, 2003
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/134860021_audit31m.html

Michigan Education Report, "School property taxes could increase
$5.5 billion over 10 years," Early Fall 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/4621


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STUDY: CHARTER SCHOOLS HAVE MORE TEACHERS WHO TEACH
OUTSIDE THEIR SUBJECT AREAS
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – A study released last week claims that
charter schools have more teachers teaching outside their areas
of specialty than do other public schools.

The study, published by the Michigan State University Education
Policy Center, says charter school students are "generally taught
by less qualified teachers" than their public school
counterparts. The "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001 requires
that by 2005 all students be taught by teachers who teach in
their respective areas of certification.

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public
School Academies, says the study uses old data and that it
ignores evidence that charter schools are succeeding. For
instance, he points out that 11 percent of charter schools won
the Michigan Golden Apple Award for improving Michigan
Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) scores, while only 5
percent of other public schools did.
________
SOURCES:
Booth Newspapers, "More underqualified teachers at charter
schools, report finds," May 28, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/statewide/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-2/1054116678109690.xml

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan's Public Charter
Schools See MEAP Scores Rise Faster than Regular Public Schools,"
September 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4581


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STUDENTS CALL "FREE SPEECH ZONES" UNCONSTITUTIONAL
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DALLAS, Texas. – Students wishing to speak outside of "free
speech zones" at the University of Texas at El Paso are calling
the zones unconstitutional and have taken the school to court.

Many activists around the country have filed cases against public
universities that administer such zones, which restrict student
speech to specific areas of campus. Harry Silvergate, cofounder
of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says
schools should only tell students where they cannot speak, not
where they can. "What they have done is turn the First Amendment
on its head," he said.

"It's one thing to say no bullhorns right outside classrooms,"
said Jamin Raskin, a professor of constitutional law at American
University in Washington, D.C. "It's another thing to say you can
only leaflet in the far northeast quadrant of school."

Mike Cinelli, spokesperson for the University of Houston, said
schools reserve the right to regulate the time, place, and manner
in which students are allowed to disrupt education.
_______
SOURCE:
Boston Globe, "Students challenge 'free speech zones,'"
June 2, 2003
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/153/nation/Students_challenge_free_speech_zones_+.shtml


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TEXAS SCHOOL FUNDING SYSTEM TO BE CHANGED
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DALLAS, Texas. – A Texas Supreme Court decision last Thursday
sided with four plaintiff school districts and called the state's
"Robin Hood" school funding system unfair.

The "Robin Hood" system requires that wealthy districts levy
property taxes and immediately redistribute that revenue to
poorer districts around the state. The four districts contended
that because 110 districts were forced to raise property taxes
when the system was enacted in 1993, the system essentially
created a state property tax, which is illegal under the Texas
Constitution.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to call a special session of
the Legislature later this summer to abolish the system.
________
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "Texas school financing under fire,"
May 31, 2003
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030531-122827-9691r.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Funding, Proposal A,
and Property Taxes," November 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3838


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NOTICE: MACKINAC CENTER ANNOUNCES HIGH SCHOOL DEBATE WORKSHOP
SCHEDULE, SPEAKERS
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The 16th annual high school debate workshops sponsored by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy will be held this fall for
students around the state. The debate topic for this year is,
"Resolved: That the United States federal government should
establish an ocean policy substantially increasing protection of
marine natural resources." The workshops will be held in Livonia,
Jackson, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City on September 22, 23, 24,
and 25, respectively.

Speakers at the events include Michael De Alessi, Director of
Natural Resource Policy for the Reason Public Policy Institute in
Los Angeles; Donald Leal, former director of the Center for
Private Conservation in Washington, D.C.; and Gregory Rehmke,
director of the High School Speech and Debate Program at the
Foundation for Economic Education in New York State.
High school debate coaches will receive formal invitations to
these programs in August. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy
is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research and educational institute
headquartered in Midland.

For more information, contact workshop director Michael LaFaive
at (989) 631-0900.


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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]

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