MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 27
July 8, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Union Says Michigan teacher salaries 2nd in nation
* Students' history knowledge lacking
* Flint public schools advertise to compete with charters
* President Bush touts D.C. tuition voucher program
* Survey: Parents support school grading plan

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UNION SAYS MICHIGAN TEACHER SALARIES 2ND IN NATION
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The average salary for Michigan teachers is
second in the nation, and teacher salaries are up nationwide,
according to a new study by the American Federation of Teachers
(AFT).

The study, which surveyed teacher salaries in every state and
Puerto Rico, found that the average teacher salary in Michigan is
$52,497, second only to teachers in California, who earn $54,348
annually. The national average for teacher salaries is $44,367,
more than $8,000 less than that of Michigan.

Union officials say this constitutes an improvement in the state
of teacher salaries. "Certainly, there is good news in this,"
Detroit Federation of Teachers President Janna Garrison told
reporters. "Hopefully, this will help to retain our teachers."
Garrison also said that the cost of living in Michigan is higher
than other states, which may account for its higher salaries.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Michigan teacher salaries average 2nd in
nation," July 5, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/pay5_20030705.htm

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


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STUDENTS' HISTORY KNOWLEDGE LACKING
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NEW ORLEANS, La. – The lack of civics instruction around the
country has led to a decline in students' knowledge of history,
making student performance fodder for late-night television
jokes, say some educators.

When asked by their congressman to name some unalienable rights,
a group of high school Advanced Placement history students from
Louisiana were unable to answer. That was disconcerting to Rep.
Roger Wicker, R-Louisiana, who is sponsoring a House bill to
improve civics education because "It just demonstrates a real gap
in the education of young Americans," he said.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress in
1998, one-third of fourth, eighth, and 12th graders could not
pass a civics test at the basic level. Both President Bush and
the Senate launched an initiative last year to improve civics
education.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Kids still don't know much about history,"
July 3, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0307/03/a07-209040.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Are Michigan's History
Textbooks Reliable?" January 1996.
http://www.mackinac.org/238


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FLINT PUBLIC SCHOOLS ADVERTISE TO COMPETE WITH CHARTERS
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FLINT, Mich. – Flint School District officials approved last week
a marketing plan to attempt to lure back students who left the
district and chose local charter schools.

The marketing campaign, expected to cost $50,000, is designed to
keep students from leaving the district to attend charter schools
and to bring dissatisfied students back. The district says it
expects to lose 878 students next year. "This is our initial
attempt to show that we are the best choice," Bill DeFrance, the
district's chief operations officer, told the Flint Journal.

District officials say they must compete with charters in order
to be able to perform well and give their students a good
education. "We're the incumbent, and people expect us to roll
around and be sleepy, but I think we have a lot to offer," said
DeFrance. "If the charters are upset or incensed, and their goal,
like our goal, is to improve, then we all give better options to
the kids."
_______
SOURCES:
Flint Journal, "Flint drops gloves in ads against charter
schools," June 30, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-14/105698468351210.xml

Michigan Education Report, "Public schools step up marketing,"
Winter 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/1587

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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PRESIDENT BUSH TOUTS D.C. TUITION VOUCHER PROGRAM
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Bush, in a speech last week, touted
federal legislation that would provide $15 million in tuition
vouchers to allow District of Columbia public school children to
attend the school of their choice.

The plan is part of a larger proposal to spend $75 million
nationwide on such vouchers. "It is the beginning of an
experiment that will show whether or not private-school choice
makes a difference in quality education in public schools," said
Bush.

The bill would allow up to 2,000 low-income students in
Washington to receive up to $7,500 per year to attend the private
school of their choice. Mayor Anthony A. Williams joined the
president in lauding the plan. "I'm proud to join you and so many
others in bringing choice to District families and children," he
said.
_______
SOURCE:
Washington Times, "Bush pushes vouchers for 2,000 D.C. students,"
July 2, 2003
http://www.washtimes.com/metro/20030701-092337-2117r.htm


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SURVEY: PARENTS SUPPORT SCHOOL GRADING PLAN
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A telephone survey conducted for the Business
Roundtable found that most parents support the practice of
grading schools and labeling ones that fail.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said that labeling schools with
poorly performing students as failing is a good practice.
However, only one in four respondents said they support labeling
a previously "excellent" school as failing because one or more
subgroups of students did not improve as required by the "No
Child Left Behind" Act of 2002.

Respondents were parents of school students. The survey also
revealed differences in the attitudes of different races towards
school issues.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Parents support grading schools," July 3, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0307/03/a07-209041.htm

Michigan Education Report, "State Board of Education adopts
school grading plan," Spring 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4270


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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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