Contents of this issue:
  • Troy alumni offered 14 months of free identity protection
  • Grand Rapids Community College joins insurance pool
  • Jackson superintendent wants employment tied to performance
  • Third-grade teacher violates state testing rules
  • U.S. Department of Education allows same-gender schools

TROY ALUMNI OFFERED 14 MONTHS OF FREE IDENTITY PROTECTION
TROY, Mich. — The Troy Public Schools will pay for 14 months of identity theft protection for about 4,400 alumni after potentially exposing their personal information, according to The Detroit News.

A hard drive with the alumni's personal information, including addresses and Social Security numbers, was lost after building renovations in August, The News reported.

The Troy School District had been asked by the former students to provide five years of free identity theft protection, according to The News. The service costs $110 a person per year, The News reported.

"It's better than nothing," Amy Slingerland, a member of Athens High School's 2000 graduating class, told The News. "Once your credit is messed up, it can be a huge problem for the rest of your life."

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "Alumni will get credit watch," Oct. 23, 2006
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006610230346

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Troy graduates concerned about personal information," Oct. 17, 2006
www.educationreport.org/8008"> www.educationreport.org/8008

Michigan Education Report, "Education privacy law strengthened," Sept. 13, 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/3064


GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOINS INSURANCE POOL
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College will save at least $100,000 after joining a health insurance pool already used by 27 school districts, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Several west Michigan school districts have joined the pool, moving away from insurance sold by the Michigan Education Special Services Association. MESSA is affiliated with the Michigan Education Association school employee union.

The more cost-effective health care will be offered to the 200 non-union employees who make up the college's administration and technology staff, The Press reported.

"We've been studying health care cost (reduction) with our employees, and they certainly understand the importance of looking at options," Bob Partridge, the college's vice president of business and financial services, told The Press.

SOURCE:
The Grand Rapids Press, "GRCC's plan to save insurance costs," Oct. 25, 2006
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-32/1161788029314440.xml&coll=6

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "CMU saves millions without MESSA," April 11, 2006
http://www.educationreport.org/7677

Michigan Education Digest, "Editorial: school insurance pool cuts costs," Nov. 22, 2005
www.educationreport.org/7443"> www.educationreport.org/7443


JACKSON SUPERINTENDENT WANTS EMPLOYMENT TIED TO PERFORMANCE
JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Dan Evans would like to establish a system that would allow the district to release three underperforming teachers each year, according to The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Evans plans to make his proposal when the contract with the teachers union expires in May. His goal is to remove underperforming teachers from the schools, regardless of tenure.

Jackson Education Association President Mary Lou Konkle believes that the administration needs to focus on making sure teacher evaluations are completed on time.

"Administrators have a job to do. They need to do that job," Konkle told The Citizen Patriot. "Some do, some don't."

Evans sees no problem with making exceptions for high-performing veteran teachers, but thinks his plan should apply to the majority of union members, reported The Citizen Patriot.

"Somebody is not going to sit around here and make the place bad for everybody else," Evans told The Citizen Patriot.

SOURCE:
The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "Evans seeks more dismissal power," Oct. 18, 2006
http://www.mlive.com/news/jacitpat/index.ssf?/base/news-18/1161187622191400.xml&coll=3

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Teacher tenure system questioned," July 6, 2004
www.educationreport.org/6683"> www.educationreport.org/6683

Michigan Education Report, "Tenure law is impediment to school reform," May 12, 2000
http://www.educationreport.org/2874

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Collective Bargaining: Bringing Education to the Table," Aug. 1, 1998
http://www.mackinac.org/791


THIRD-GRADE TEACHER VIOLATES STATE TESTING RULES
MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — A third-grade teacher from Mt. Clemens Public Schools recently violated state testing rules by taking home a copy of a Michigan Educational Assessment Program test, according to The Detroit News.

The teacher, whose name has not been released, said she took the test home to prepare to administer it to students, The News reported. She also showed the test to her third-grade son, who attends school in another district, according to The News.

School officials were originally worried about the impact this investigation would have on the district, but are confident that the testing process was not adversely affected.

"We don't feel that any information was transferred to the student population in any way," Superintendent T.C. Wallace told The News.

The investigation will remain open until the district receives information from the Michigan Department of Education. Currently, no decision on disciplinary action has been made by school officials.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, "District: No harm from MEAP test seen in advance," Oct. 26, 2006
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006610260318

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Nationalizing Curriculum and Testing," July 27, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4453

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Parents Should Have More Options When Schools Commit Academic Fraud," Feb. 2, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3315


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ALLOWS SAME-GENDER SCHOOLS
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education recently released guidelines making it easier for districts to establish single-sex schools and classes, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings believes that the option should be available to parents and that it may improve student achievement.

"Research shows that some students may learn better in single-sex education environments," Spellings said, according to The Plain Dealer.

The new rules will allow same-sex education if a district feels it will improve achievement, allow for more diverse course offerings, or grant more attention to students' needs, The Plain Dealer reported. The National Association for Single Sex Public Education believes that these federal guidelines will allow for the expansion of such programs.

"There's no question that we're going to see very dramatic growth in the next year or two," NASSPE Executive Director Leonard Sax said, according to The Plain Dealer.

SOURCE:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, "New U.S. rules allow single-sex education," Oct. 25, 2006
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/news/1161775893110520.xml&coll=2

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "GRPS to look at single-sex classes," May 23, 2006
www.educationreport.org/7710

Michigan Education Report, "Detroit single-sex schools," Dec. 15, 2005
http://www.educationreport.org/7482

Michigan Education Digest, "Saginaw school offers single-sex classrooms," Aug. 31, 2004
http://www.educationreport.org/6800


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper with a circulation of 150,000 published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Ted O'Neil at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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