MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 31
August 5, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Bill package aims at increased accountability for intermediate
  districts
* Senate Head Start bills reject House proposal for state
  takeover
* Wayne State University raises tuition
* Creationism bill introduced in Michigan House
* Massachusetts superintendent fails mandatory English test
* German schools in trouble

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BILL PACKAGE AIMS AT INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY FOR INTERMEDIATE
DISTRICTS
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LANSING, Mich. – House lawmakers have introduced a package of
bills to force increased oversight of intermediate school
districts (ISDs), in response to financial scandals in the
Oakland County ISD.

The legislation would allow voters to elect an ISD's governing
board and to dissolve an ISD. Rep. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly,
introduced the bills. "If I can get legislation that would
straighten out what's been going on in Oakland County and get
accountability for the kids and taxpayers, it would translate
into the whole state," she told the Detroit Free Press.

Johnson is a member of a subcommittee studying ways to improve
ISDs. "The bottom line is what can be done to make sure they
contribute the most to the child in the classroom . . . at the
lowest possible price," said House Education Committee Chairman
Rep. Brian Palmer, R-Romeo.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Intermediate school districts:
Accountability of education facilitators is in question,"
Jul. 30, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nisds30_20030730.htm

Michigan Education Report, "What Are Intermediate School
Districts?" Winter 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/2709

Michigan Education Report, "Group files complaints against
districts," Spring 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/2882


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U.S. SENATE HEAD START BILLS REJECT HOUSE PROPOSAL FOR STATE
TAKEOVERS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Democrats and one Republican introduced
separate proposals last week to compete with a Head Start
reauthorization bill passed by the House late last month.

Both proposals rejected a controversial proposal in the House
bill that would have allowed eight states to take over
administration of Head Start themselves.

One of the bills, sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.,
would create a program to showcase 200 exceptional Head Start
centers around the country. "The need to involve states does not
necessarily mean sending federal dollars first to states and then
to Head Start centers," Alexander told the New York Times.

Another bill, introduced by Senate Democrats, would require all
Head Start teachers to have four-year college degrees by 2008 and
would raise the academic standards required of students in the
program. The Senate plan would cost up to $16 billion per year by
2008, while the House plan requires less than half that amount,
$7.4 billion.
_______
SOURCES:
New York Times, "Senators Offer Alternatives to House Idea on
Head Start," Jul. 29, 2003
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/30/politics/30STAR.html

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Hyping the Head Start
Program," April 1993
http://www.mackinac.org/159


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WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY RAISES TUITION
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DETROIT, Mich. – The Wayne State University Board of Governors
voted last Wednesday to increase tuition at the school, making it
the final public university to raise tuition this academic year.

Tuition will increase 9.9 percent, which amounts to $492 more per
year for in-state undergraduate students. State funding for the
school was cut $25.4 million this year after Gov. Jennifer
Granholm authorized a 6.5 percent across-the-board funding cut
for higher education, leaving the school at its lowest level of
funding in six years.

The University's administrators imposed a hiring freeze,
eliminated some classes, and redesigned health-care plans to cut
$14.3 million. But officials say higher wages and operating
costs forced them to raise tuition to cover a $7.9 million
shortfall.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "WSU tuition is rising by at least $492,"
Aug. 1, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nwsu1_20030801.htm

Wayne State University, "Wayne State University Board of
Governors approves 2004 budget," Aug. 1, 2003
http://www.media.wayne.edu/news.releases/current/NewTuition.html

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Private Prepaid Tuition
Programs Can Help Make College Affordable," September 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3685

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Competition among Professors
Would Help Parents Afford College," August 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/2105


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BILL TO BALANCE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION INTRODUCED IN MICHIGAN
HOUSE
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LANSING, Mich. – Several Republicans in Michigan's House of
Representatives have introduced a bill that would require schools
to balance their teaching of the theory of evolution with
teaching that considers the possibility of a creation of the
universe.

The bill would require that teachers "explain the competing
theories of evolution and natural selection based on random
mutation and the theory that life is the result of the
purposeful, intelligent design of a Creator."

William Van Regenmorter, R-Georgetown Twp., a bill co-sponsor,
said the legislation is needed because evolution has been taught
as fact and not theory, and because "Intelligent design and the
work of a creator should at least get balanced treatment."
A similar bill was introduced in 2001 and died in committee.
________
SOURCE:
Grand Rapids Press, "Bill would put creationism in science
class," Jul. 31, 2003
http://www.mlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1059663229120530.xml?grpress?NEOU


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MASSACHUSETTS SUPERINTENDENT FAILS MANDATORY ENGLISH TEST
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LAWRENCE, Mass. – A school superintendent failed three times to
pass a mandatory English test, required for all Massachusetts
educators, which measures reading and writing skills,
punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Superintendent Wilfredo T. Laboy said Spanish is his first
language and that he hadn't prepared for or concentrated enough
on the test to pass it. "It bothers me because I'm trying to
understand the congruence of what I do here every day and this
stupid test," he said. "English being a second language for me, I
didn't do well in writing. If you're not an English teacher, you
don't look at the rules on a regular basis."

Massachusetts Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll commented
that Laboy was doing an excellent job leading the district, but
that, "He's going to have to pass. ... The situation will only
get serious if he goes much longer without passing."
_______
SOURCE:
CNN, "School superintendent fails must-pass English test,"
Aug. 3, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/08/03/superintendent.test.ap/index.html


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GERMAN SCHOOLS IN TROUBLE
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FRANKFURT, Germany – Recent indications of poor oversight and
achievement have caused students, parents and lawmakers in
Germany to focus their attention on the poor state of the
country's schools.

"In countries like Britain or the United States, there is a
tradition of monitoring education that allows them to see what
works and what doesn't," Cordula Artelt of the Max Planck
Institute in Germany told The Mercury News. "We haven't done
that. We have almost no indication of how well the system is
working." An international test of 15-year-olds recently ranked
Germany 21st out of 32 industrialized nations in reading,
mathematics and science.

The German system of education is based on vocational education
because of restructuring after World War II to help rebuild the
country. But under this system, students attend school for only
4 1/2 hours per day and are not required to come to school if a
teacher is sick. Many high school students say it's hard for them
to take school seriously.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he would pledge $4
billion to improve schools, increase teacher training, and create
all-day programs at schools.
________
SOURCES:
The Mercury News, "German schools in deep trouble," Aug. 3, 2003
http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/2003/08/03/news/world/6448370.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "More Spending Not the
Solution to School Woes," December 1993
http://www.mackinac.org/137


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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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