MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 30
July 29, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* MEAP scores to arrive late
* Granholm to veto education cuts
* D.C. voucher opponent shifts opinion
* Union attempts to organize Catholic school
* Urban students behind in reading, writing
* Study: Private schools in India effectively serve the poor

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MEAP SCORES TO ARRIVE LATE
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LANSING, Mich. – Computer problems have delayed the release of
student scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program
(MEAP) tests, which has some teachers and administrators worried.

The scores are used to determine each school's academic progress
each year to determine whether a particular school will be placed
on the state's failing schools list; if MEAP scores for students
do not improve for two years in a row, their school is considered
to be failing by federal standards set under the "No Child Left
Behind" Act of 2002. The scores must be published and available
for parents by the start of school.

Grand Rapids is waiting for scores for nearly 8,000 students.
Teachers are waiting on the scores to see where they need to
adjust curricula, and administrators are waiting to include the
scores in annual reports for each school, which under federal law
must be made available to parents by the start of school.
_______
SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "Educators worry as state is slow to send
MEAP scores," Jul. 28, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-9/10594037139980.xml

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How Does the MEAP Measure
Up?" December 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3919

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "POLICY BRIEF: Which
Educational Achievement Test is Best for Michigan?" May 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4382


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GRANHOLM TO VETO EDUCATION CUT
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LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced last week that
she would restore a $15 million state subsidy to Detroit schools
by vetoing part of the new state budget.

The state subsidy was removed by the Republican-controlled House
and Senate last week, following a general agreement with Granholm
over the state budget for fiscal year 2004.

The $15 million has been issued to the Detroit school district
since 1999, when the state forced its administration to
restructure. Rep. Artina Tinsley-Hardman, D-Detroit, said that,
"Legislators from Detroit have to fight very hard to restore that
money, even though the legislation in 1999 made it clear this was
part of that entire package."

Granholm decided to make the change to the budget after Democrat
legislators privately voiced concerns about the loss of funding
to Detroit schools. Republican legislators said they would not
contest the vetoes with an attempted override.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Governor to veto cuts to schools,"
Jul. 24, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/ngran24_20030724.htm


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D.C. VOUCHER OPPONENT SHIFTS OPINION
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a surprise shift of opinion, a key Democrat
from the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote in an article for
the Washington Post that she would support the District of
Columbia voucher initiative instead of opposing the idea.

Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote that she would be "inclined
to support" the District's proposed voucher initiative to help
send disadvantaged kids to the schools of their choice.
Strengthening public schools should be a priority, she wrote,
"But as a former mayor, I also believe that local leaders should
have the opportunity to experiment with programs that they
believe are right for their area."

California Teacher Association president Barbara E. Kerr, who
supported Feinstein during her campaign, denounced the decision.
"I have no idea why she's doing this. It's out of character and
it doesn't make any sense," she told the L.A. Times.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat, is seeking federal
funds for the voucher program, which is expected to cost $10
million.
_______
SOURCES:
L.A. Times, "In Shift, Feinstein Backs D.C. Vouchers,"
Jul. 23, 2003
http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-na-vouchers23jul23,1,5279866.story?coll=la-news-learning

Washington Post, "Let D.C. Try Vouchers," Jul. 22, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A26038-2003Jul21

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


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UNION ATTEMPTS TO ORGANIZE CATHOLIC SCHOOL
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BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association is
attempting to organize workers at Catholic-run Brother Rice High
School following a vote from teachers expressing their interest
in joining a teachers union.

The attempt was countered by strong opposition from the board of
the school, which argued its position before the Michigan
Employment Relations Commission last week. Administrators of the
school say that mandating collective bargaining would violate the
school's right to constitutionally protected freedom of
expression. A 1979 Supreme Court case kept the National Labor
Relations Board from allowing unions to organize at Chicago
parochial schools.

Christopher Clark, one of the teachers sponsoring the union
effort, said that although parochial school teachers earn less
than public school teachers, "It's not the money that caused us
to sign [for the union]." Clark said that because the school
recently made budget cuts, "Teachers here are afraid they're
going to lose their jobs."

Brother Rice is a 650-student, all-boys parochial school.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Catholic school to fight union effort,"
Jul. 23, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/religion/cath23_20030723.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Teachers unions: Helping or
Hurting?"
http://www.mackinac.org/9399


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URBAN STUDENTS BEHIND IN READING, WRITING
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A study from the National Assessment of
Educational Progress (NAEP) found that students in America's
largest urban areas lag significantly behind their peers in less
populated areas in reading and writing.

Students in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York
City, and Washington were tested along with a nationally
representative sample of 4th, 8th, and 12th graders. Results from
the NAEP, dubbed the "Nation's Report Card" 30 years ago, found
that none of the urban districts met the national average for the
reading test and few met the average on the writing test, except
in the 4th grade.

Michael D. Casserly, executive director of the Council of the
Great City Schools, told Education Week that, "We know that we
have a long way to go, but we were encouraged by the performance
of the individual groups in some cities and encouraged by the
writing results, which were at or close to the national average
in some cities."
_______
SOURCES:
Education Week, "Urban Students Lag In Reading and Writing, NAEP
Scores Show," Jul. 22, 2003
http://www.edweek.com/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=42web_naep.h22

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

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Universal Tuition Tax
Credit: A Proposal to Advance Parental Choice in Education,"
November 1997
http://www.mackinac.org/362


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STUDY: PRIVATE SCHOOLS IN INDIA EFFECTIVELY SERVE THE POOR
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READING, England – An extensive study of education in India found
that the majority of poor children there are served by private
schools unaided by government funds.

A random sample of schools in the Hyderabad district shows that
61 percent of pupils attend approximately one thousand private
schools, even in the poorest parts of the country. Such private
schools have a student-to-teacher ratio of 29:1. The average
monthly tuition is œ2 ($3.25), and the schools make a 25 percent
profit from tuition.

The study found that the fathers of private school students are
primarily day laborers, and 30 percent of mothers are illiterate,
yet two-thirds of parents looked at two or more schools in
considering a school for their child. Hyderabad is located in
southeast India and is the nation's 5th-largest metropolis, with a
population of 7 million.
________
SOURCES:
CfBT, "Private Schools for the Poor: a Case Study from India,"
2003
http://www.cfbt.com/cfbt/web.nsf/ID/502C36EC884C45DA80256D3A0054016F?OpenDocument

Michigan Privatization Report, "Worldwide Study Praises Private
Education for the Poor," Winter 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/3995


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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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