Contents of this issue:
  • Group hopes to fund college scholarships for Detroit grads
  • Vendors won't send DPS textbooks
  • Brighton tries to solve overspending crisis
  • Board member: all teachers shoulder blame
  • Director resigns from program for blind children

GROUP HOPES TO FUND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR DETROIT GRADS
DETROIT — A Detroit-area businessman has started a group to raise money in hopes of funding college scholarships for Detroit Public Schools graduates, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Nat Pernick has pledged $25,000 and received pledges for an additional $15,000 for Detroit College Promise, modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise. He hopes to raise $500,000 this fall, Crain's reported. That equals about one-tenth of what it would cost to pay for just one year of college for the class of 2009 graduates.

"Of course it's a daunting number, but you've got to start one step at a time," Pernick told Crain's.

SOURCE:
Crain's Detroit Business, "Detroit kids get scholarship promise," Aug. 18, 2008
http://crainsdetroit.com/article/20080818/SUB/808180323/1069

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Following the lead of the Kalamazoo Promise," Nov. 14, 2007
http://www.educationreport.org/9093


VENDORS WON'T SEND DPS TEXTBOOKS
DETROIT — Students in Detroit Public Schools will begin classes with only 60 percent of the textbooks they need, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Superintendent Connie Calloway told the board of education that two vendors will not deliver books due to past payment problems.

"One said that because of our past records of not paying invoices, they will not deliver our textbooks for this year until we pay for next year as well," Calloway told the board, the Free Press reported. "Our feeling is that vendors cannot hold us hostage. We are the 15th-largest district still in this nation."

Also at the board meeting, Calloway called her performance evaluation illegal because the board did not give her any goals or objectives to meet.

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Books will be late — again," Aug. 15, 2008
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080815/NEWS01/ 808150425/1003/NEWS

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Contractor says DPS owes almost $600,000," March 11, 2008
http://www.educationreport.org/9324


BRIGHTON TRIES TO SOLVE OVERSPENDING CRISIS
BRIGHTON, Mich. — Students in Brighton will have to pay to play sports and a program to identify students with learning disabilities was cut as the school board attempts to correct a $2 million overspending crisis for the 2008-2009 budget, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"School districts are labor-intensive," board President William Anderson told the Free Press. "Our labor costs are about 90 percent of our budget. What's been spiraling out of control is benefits."

SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Brighton whittles at school deficit," Aug. 17, 2008
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080817/NEWS06/ 808170407/1008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Brighton agrees to teacher contract it can't afford," April 29, 2008
http://www.educationreport.org/9424


BOARD MEMBER: ALL TEACHERS SHOULDER BLAME
SAGINAW, Mich. — The treasurer of the Saginaw board of education thinks elementary and middle school teachers should share the blame for the poor performance of high school students, according to The Saginaw News.

James Woolfolk Jr. said he compares Saginaw and Arthur Hill high schools to a train caboose. "They're on the back end and getting all the blame," The News reported.

The district's math scores on the Michigan Merit Exam were three times lower than the state average, according to The News.

"It's not my intent to pass any judgment on the previous work of those involved with the instruction of our students," interim Superintendent Thomas Barris told the board, The News reported. "However, I would suggest, based upon student outcomes, that there is additional work to be done."

SOURCE:
The Saginaw News, "Saginaw School District high school principals present plans to boots test scores," Aug. 19, 2008
http://www.mlive.com/saginawnews/news/index.ssf/2008/08/saginaw_school_district_high_s.html

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer," June 30, 2008
http://www.mackinac.org/9576


DIRECTOR RESIGNS FROM PROGRAM FOR BLIND CHILDREN
GREENVILLE, Mich. — When Gwen Botting first learned that her young son was visually impaired, her thoughts went to other blind people she'd known — her great aunt and her grandmother.

The great aunt, after losing her sight as a complication of diabetes, continued to tend her garden, split wood and cook on a wood-fired stove.

The grandmother, Botting said, "let her blindness ruin the rest of her life."

"When I discovered I was going to have a blind child, I knew which one I wanted for my kid," she said. In a society in which "there are still 100 different ideas on how to raise blind children," Botting said that her goal from the beginning was to force her son to become independent.

That's the general philosophy at Camp Tuhsmeheta, where Botting is a longtime volunteer. The 300-acre state-owned parcel of land is located along a chain of lakes near Greenville. Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind, a nonprofit organization, offers programs there for children with visual impairments, but the group hit a stumbling block recently as the executive director resigned and said fall and winter programs could be canceled.

The organization has had a dismal fundraising year, according to executive director George Wurtzel, given the state economy in general and smaller donations from individuals and corporations. On top of that, the group is currently at odds with the Michigan State Board of Education over the site, with Wurtzel saying that a lack of support from the state for the organization's work was one reason he stepped down.

SOURCE:
Michigan Education Report, "State board, nonprofit group at odds over Camp Tuhsmeheta," Aug. 19, 2008
http://www.educationreport.org/9730

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007
http://www.mackinac.org/8534


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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