MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume V, No. 33
August 19, 2003
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Michigan's Republican Senators send Granholm scaled-down
   charter school bill
* Teacher shortage now a teacher glut
* State Dept. of Education strikes down district's activity fee
* More states using high school exit exams
* Department of Education clarifies free speech guidelines
* Power outage disrupts Detroit area school preparations

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MICHIGAN'S REPUBLICAN SENATORS SEND GRANHOLM SCALED-DOWN CHARTER
SCHOOL BILL
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LANSING, Mich. – Because they haven't been able to reach
agreement with Gov. Jennifer Granholm for a more comprehensive
charter school bill, majority Republicans in the Michigan
legislature sent her one last Wednesday that would allow 15 new
charters in Detroit to be paid for by $200 million from road
construction magnate Robert Thompson.

State officials say Gov. Jennifer Granholm will likely veto the
bill. Spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Granholm won't sign any bill
that doesn't put limits on Bay Mills Community College, a tribal
college that currently can open charter schools in any district
in the state. She said the governor also wants more
accountability for charter schools.

An earlier version of the Senate bill called for 240 new charter
schools over a decade, a number Granholm aides said was too
high.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Senate OKs charter schools," Aug. 14, 2003
http://www.detnews.com/2003/schools/0308/14/d01-244682.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Time to Stop Beating Up on
Charter Schools," November 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4864

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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TEACHER SHORTAGE NOW A TEACHER GLUT
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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The stagnant economy has cooled the need for
teachers around the nation, ending concerns of a nationwide
teacher shortage spawned during the 1990s.

An annual survey performed by the American Association for
Employment in Education (AAEE) found that demand for new teachers
has fallen for the second year in a row and is at its lowest
level since 1998. "Last year we measured 10 or 12 fields [in
education] as having a considerable shortage," B.J. Byrant,
executive director of AAEE told the Boston Globe. "This year
there are three."

Many districts are being forced to lay off teachers because
states can no longer afford to employ them. California, for
instance, laid off over 3,800 teachers this summer due to its
budget deficit.
_______
SOURCES:
Boston Globe, "Shortage now a glut: Teachers no longer in
demand," Aug. 18, 2003
http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles
/2003/08/18/shortage_now_a_glut_teachers_no_longer_in_demand


Michigan Education Report, "What teacher shortage?" Winter 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/4070

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Private Solutions to the
Public School Teacher Shortage," January 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2611


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STATE DEPT. OF EDUCATION STRIKES DOWN DISTRICT'S ACTIVITY FEE
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – State officials Wednesday struck down a
controversial "activities fee" imposed on students in the
Avondale School District.

Though district officials say the $35 fee was only to be paid by
students participating in after-school activities, "There are
many parents who will just shrug their shoulders and pay the
fee," said Michigan Department of Education Spokesman T.J.
Bucholz, because Avondale officials failed to explain to parents
that the fee was mandatory only for select students.

State law requires that districts provide an education free of
tuition for all students. "The district can only charge those by
participation, not as a blanket across the board," Bucholz told
the Detroit Free Press.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "State rules against fee at schools,"
Aug. 14, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/navon14_20030814.htm

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


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MORE STATES USING HIGH SCHOOL EXIT EXAMS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The number of states requiring high school
students to take an exit exam in order to graduate is rising,
according to a recent report.

The Center on Education Policy found that more than half of
public school students in America attend school in states that
require an exit exam. That number will rise to seven in 10
students by 2008, says the Center. Nineteen states link diplomas
to the exams, requiring students to obtain passing marks before
receiving their diploma, and five more states plan to require the
same by 2008.

The exams have sparked protests in New York and Florida, where
thousands of students failed to obtain a diploma because they
failed the state's exit exam. But many education officials say
the tests are needed. "We have a serious problem with high
schools, and this is one way to bring about greater rigor,"
Center director Jack Jennings told CNN.
________
SOURCES:
CNN, "States stick with high-school exit exams," Aug. 13, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/08/13/high.school.exams.ap/index.html

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

Michigan Education Report, "Markets, not MEAP, best way to
measure school quality," Spring 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/2872


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U.S. DEPT. OF EDUCATION CLARIFIES FREE SPEECH GUIDELINES
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Education's Office for
Civil Rights (OCR) recently sent a letter to schools clarifying
what types of student speech schools can and cannot control. The
letter was written in response to reports of misuse of anti-
harassment regulations by some institutions.

"Some colleges and universities have interpreted OCR's
prohibition of 'harassment' as encompassing all offensive speech
regarding sex, disability, race or other classifications," said
the letter. But true harassment is not simply offensive speech -
it "must include something beyond the mere expression of views,
words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive."

Several colleges and universities have instituted "free speech
zones," that limit free speech to specific places on school
property.
_______
SOURCE:
Salt Lake Tribune, "Department of Education clarifies its
position on free speech," Aug. 14, 2003
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Aug/08142003/nation_w/83821.asp


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POWER OUTAGE DISRUPTS DETROIT AREA SCHOOL PREPARATIONS
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DETROIT, Mich. – Maintenance work, summer programs and fall
orientation were disrupted by the massive blackout that struck
much of the Northeast United States and Canada this past week,
putting some districts behind schedule.

Last Friday "was a critical day for getting ready for the
teacher's return on Monday. We had last-minute things we had to
do," Ken Siver, spokesman for the Southfield Public Schools, told
the Detroit Free Press. "They're still washing floors and
cleaning furniture and things like that."

Some schools undergoing construction work will likely face delays
because of the outages, as well. Construction projects in the
West Bloomfield district may continue as school starts, said
district spokesman Steve Wasko. "It appears those can still be
done, albeit more difficultly," he said.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "METRO DETROIT SCHOOLS: Preparations for
school year interrupted," Aug. 16, 2003
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skuls16_20030816.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Time to Privatize Detroit's
Public Lighting Department," April 9, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4149


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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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