MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 32
Aug. 12, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Contents of this issue:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
* Studies, testimony show higher spending doesn't improve
   achievement
* Michigan district may be charging tuition, officials allege
* Per-pupil spending to be unaltered
* Critics say states hard pressed to pay for new federal
   requirements
* Houston school district officials falsified dropout rates
* Poll: Most believe affirmative action can't make up for past
   discrimination

----------------------------------------------------------------
STUDIES, TESTIMONY SAY HIGHER SPENDING DOESN'T IMPROVE
ACHIEVEMENT
----------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recent studies and congressional testimony say
that increased education funding does not improve student
achievement.

Krista Kafer, education policy analyst at the Heritage
Foundation, said in recent testimony that, although states have
considerably increased education funding, nearly 60 percent of
high school seniors do not have "even a basic knowledge of
American history," and more than half of the country's low-income
fourth graders cannot read at the most basic level. "The evidence
suggests that there is little reason to expect that increasing
funding will improve the situation."

A Standard & Poor's study of spending in Pennsylvania found that
60 percent of school districts with students scoring high on
achievement tests had below-average education spending. The study
also found that nearly one-third of lower-scoring districts had
above-average education spending.
______
SOURCE:
CNSNews.com, "Higher Education Spending Defies Study Results,"
Aug. 8, 2003
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200308/NAT20030808b.html


----------------------------------------------------------------
MICHIGAN DISTRICT MAY BE CHARGING TUITION, OFFICIALS ALLEGE
----------------------------------------------------------------
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – State officials launched an inquiry into a
new practice at the Avondale School District, which requires all
students in grades 5 to 12 to pay a $35 "activities" fee at
registration.

Avondale officials say the money will be used to pay for programs
like Students Against Driving Drunk, and drama and marching
clubs, but state officials say since everyone must pay the fee,
it is essentially a tuition charge, which is illegal for public
schools in Michigan.

But district officials say they are not breaking any laws. "We
checked this out with our attorneys and we're very confident with
the advice they've given us," said James Bird, Superintendent of
Avondale Schools. The district also plans to implement a pay-to-
play program, whereby students must pay to participate in
specific after-school programs, such as sports teams.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "State to question school over fee,"
Aug. 11, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/avon11_20030811.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally
Responsible Public School Districts," December 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4891


-----------------------------------------------------------------
PER-PUPIL SPENDING TO BE UNALTERED
-----------------------------------------------------------------
LANSING, Mich. – Per-pupil funding provided by the state will be
unaltered under the final fiscal year 2004 school budget signed
on Monday by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Although the $12.5 billion budget keeps the state foundation
grant at $6,700 per student, adult education will be cut by 74
percent, down to $20 million from $77.5 million. In addition,
funding for a job skills program for adults called Partnership
for Adult Learning will be reduced from $20 million to $1
million.

The budget includes new spending on a program to give every
sixth-grader in the state a laptop or handheld computer by the
end of the year. The state will spend $22 million on the program,
aided by an additional $17.3 million from the federal government.
"We had to make difficult choices, but in the end our goal was to
protect education and health care. We did both," said Granholm in
a statement.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Per-pupil funding stays the same in new
budget," Aug. 12, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skuls12_20030812.htm

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

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Giving Laptops to Sixth
Graders Won't Improve Their Education," July 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/5572


-----------------------------------------------------------------
CRITICS SAY STATES HARD PRESSED TO PAY FOR NEW FEDERAL
REQUIREMENTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Critics of the 2002 "No Child Left Behind" Act
(NCLB) say states cannot afford the Act's mandates due to massive
state budget shortfalls and deficits, and that the federal
government should pick up the tab.

But supporters of the bill point out that spending on education
has risen $9 billion in the last two years. The General
Accounting Office says it will cost the states $1.9 to $5.3
billion to implement the necessary reforms under NCLB.

Critics also claim the legislation will spur time-consuming and
costly lawsuits by states against the federal government, costing
even more money. The country's biggest teacher's union, the
National Education Association, recently announced it was putting
together a lawsuit over the alleged unfunded mandates and had
begun talks with several states who might join the suit.
_______
SOURCES:
CNN, "Education law tries thin state budgets," Aug. 10, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/07/30/states.education.reut/index.html

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

Michigan Education Report, "No Child Left Behind law demands
'adequate yearly progress' and offers school choice options for
parents," Fall 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/4846

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


-----------------------------------------------------------------
HOUSTON SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALS FALSIFIED DROPOUT RATES
-----------------------------------------------------------------
HOUSTON, Texas – Texas state officials have ordered an audit of
the Houston Independent School District's record keeping and
asked school officials in charge of statistics to step down.

Investigators say some district officials knowingly altered
statistics of dropouts to improve their district's image. In
response, state officials have sent an auditor to review district
data and have given the district six months to improve its record
keeping. If improvements are not satisfactory, the district will
be added to the list of "academically unacceptable" districts.

Criticism was hardest on Sharpston High School, where
investigators found that records for 30 students had been
deliberately altered to lower that school's dropout rate. Houston
Superintendent Kaye Stripling said that the "entire top
leadership of the school" would be replaced. The principal of
Sharpston High School has already retired.
______
SOURCE:
CNN, "Houston schools get 6 months to improve dropout record-
keeping," Aug. 8, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/08/08/houston.dropouts.ap/index.html


-----------------------------------------------------------------
POLL: MOST BELIEVE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION CAN'T MAKE UP FOR PAST
DISCRIMINATION
-----------------------------------------------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A new survey found that 54 percent of
respondents believe that allowing race to be a factor in college
admissions will not make up for past discrimination in education.

Seventy percent of respondents said they agree with Supreme Court
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote in June that although the
Constitution allows race to be a factor in college admissions
now, there should be no need for that consideration in a quarter-
century.

The poll, sponsored by the American Bar Association, also found
88 percent of respondents think the nation has made substantial
or some progress eliminating discrimination in public school
since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation ruling.
______
SOURCE:
Associated Press, "Poll: College affirmative action will end,"
Aug. 11, 2003
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-08-11-college-affirmativeaction_x.htm


#################################################
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 …