Contents of this issue:
  • Legislature votes to allow more charter schools in Detroit
  • Muskegon charter recognized for student achievement
  • Quincy teachers won't bargain to save jobs
  • Public school competing for charter students
  • Finding Algebra in Fashion Design

LEGISLATURE VOTES TO ALLOW MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS IN DETROIT
DETROIT — The state House of Representatives voted to pass a Senate bill that will let Detroit Public Schools keep its "first-class" status, while at the same time allow more charter public schools in the district, according to The Michigan Citizen.

Representatives from Detroit pushed the Legislature to redefine a "first-class" district as one with more than 60,000 students, as opposed to the previous definition of at least 100,000 students. DPS projects enrollment of about 94,000 for the coming school year, The Citizen reported.

"The white Democratic Party power structure supported the bill," said Steve Conn, a teacher who organized a rally against the bill, according to The Citizen. "But we plan to continue the fight to overturn its provisions, and expect the Detroit Federation of Teachers to organize a larger rally in the fall to stop the charter school invasion."

SOURCE:
The Michigan Citizen, "Bi-partisan charter school advocates prevail in Lansing," July 28, 2008
http://www.michigancitizen.com/default.asp?sdetail=6323&sc=1070& hn=michigancitizen&he=.com

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "First class or 21st century: Don't pass up chance to reform Detroit Public Schools," July 14, 2008
http://www.educationreport.org/9659


MUSKEGON CHARTER RECOGNIZED FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
MUSKEGON, Mich. — WayPoint Academy in Muskegon received recognition for continuous academic improvement and decreasing the achievement gap between student groups, according to The Muskegon Chronicle.

The school was selected for the Title I Distinguished Schools Program by the Michigan Department of Education and will receive an award at a national conference in Nashville, Tenn. One other Michigan school, Campau Park in Grand Rapids, received the honor, The Chronicle reported.

Students at WayPoint Academy increased math proficiency by 25 percent and English Language Arts proficiency by 19 percent from 2005-2006 to 2006-2007. The school opened in 2001 and is chartered by Grand Valley State University, according to The Chronicle.

SOURCE:
The Muskegon Chronicle, "Charter school recognized for achievement," Aug. 4, 2008
http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/08/charter_school_recognized_for.html

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Are charter schools improving student performance? Yes," Nov. 17, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/4857

QUINCY TEACHERS WON'T BARGAIN TO SAVE JOBS
QUINCY, Mich. — The Quincy teachers union voted 60-21 against contract concessions that could have saved the jobs of fellow school employees, according to the Hillsdale Daily News.

Quincy Public Schools must cut about $536,000 from its 2008-2009 budget and had asked the teachers union to reopen its contract. The district's curriculum director, seven teachers and four paraprofessionals will be cut to help the district reduce its overspending crisis, the Daily News reported.

SOURCE:
Hillsdale Daily News, "Quincy teachers won't trade freeze for spared jobs," July 29, 2008
http://www.hillsdale.net/news/x2043518677/Quincy-teachers-won-t-trade-freeze-for-spared-jobs

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Contract Out School Services Before Laying Off Teachers," Nov. 20, 2003
http://www.mackinac.org/5948


PUBLIC SCHOOL COMPETING FOR CHARTER STUDENTS
MUSKEGON, Mich. — Muskegon Public Schools is hoping to enroll most of the students living in its district who formerly attended a now-closed charter public school, according to The Muskegon Chronicle.

The district sent letters to about 65 families whose children are assigned to the district but had instead chosen Tri-Valley Academy. About 190 students attended the charter public school last year, but it closed after Grand Valley State University refused to reauthorize it, due mainly to low test scores, The Chronicle reported.

Three Oaks Public School Academy, run by the same management company that oversaw Tri-Valley, expect about 100 former Tri-Valley students to enroll at Three Oaks, according to The Chronicle.

SOURCE:
The Muskegon Chronicle, "Muskegon schools trying to attract former Tri-Valley Academy students," Aug. 4, 2008
http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/08/muskegon_schools_trying_to_att.html

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Charter school closing seen as success for charter movement," April 2, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/4180


FINDING ALGEBRA IN FASHION DESIGN
LIVONIA, Mich. — Looking for a way to take care of that pesky algebra II requirement and still get a head start on a career?

Dr. Janet Haas thought so.

That's why, as of this fall, the Livonia Career Technical Center will pilot a program that weaves advanced math into subjects like building trades, medicine and marketing, enabling students to study both subjects concurrently. Beginning the following year, students who successfully complete such a class will be eligible to receive half a credit in algebra II.

Haas sees it as a win-win: Students earn math credit in a setting that interests them, and the center protects its enrollment.

"That's the only way you're going to survive the high school requirements," Haas, the school principal, said in an interview in her office.

By survive, Haas means finding a way for students to continue taking career education courses and still meet the state's new graduation mandates. One way is to mesh the two: offering English through fashion design, math through automotive engineering and biology through cosmetology.

SOURCE:
Michigan Education Report, "Finding algebra in fashion design," Aug. 5, 2008
http://www.educationreport.org/9706

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Program links education, industry to answer workforce needs," Aug. 15, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/8825

Michigan Education Report, "Michigan's economic future: Is a four-year degree the only answer?" May 24, 2007
http://www.mackinac.org/8505


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

Contact Managing Editor Sarah Grether at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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