Contents of this issue:
- Professor says consolidation study misapplied his work
- Districts bargain raises, insurance
- Detroit union sues over teacher assignments
- Rate hike leads Holland to seek legal opinion
- Charter schools begin to specialize
PROFESSOR SAYS CONSOLIDATION STUDY MISAPPLIED HIS WORK
Mich. — A Syracuse University professor said Friday that he would not endorse
the findings of a school consolidation study in Michigan because his original
research was "misapplied," Michigan Capitol Confidential reported.
William Duncombe said that it was an "oversimplification" and "extremely naïve"
for a Michigan State University scholar to extrapolate the methodology from
Duncombe's 2001 study on school consolidation to all Michigan public schools,
according to Michigan Capitol Confidential.
senior scholar Sharif Shakrani used Duncombe's earlier study to underpin
Shakrani's recent study concluding that Michigan could save up to $612 million
annually by consolidating public schools at the county level, Michigan Capitol
Mackinac Center analyst raised questions of plagiarism soon after Shakrani's
report was released and also questioned its methodology, according to Michigan
Capitol Confidential. MSU is investigating the plagiarism allegation.
Mackinac Center publishes both Michigan Capitol Confidential and Michigan
told Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center, that
the MSU report was "not an appropriate use of scientific evidence," Michigan
Capitol Confidential reported.
and MSU Education Policy Center Co-Directors William Schmidt and Robert Floden
didn't return messages seeking comment, Michigan Capitol Confidential reported.
Capitol Confidential, "Main Source for MSU School Consolidation Study Says His
Data Was Misapplied," Sept. 7, 2010
Center for Public Policy, "School District Consolidation, Size and Spending: An
Evaluation," May 22, 2007
AMERICANS SUPPORT TEACHER MERIT PAY
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Three quarters of Americans
believe that quality of work should determine teacher pay rather than a salary
schedule, according to the latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll on education.
More than two-thirds of those surveyed also said they would support paying
teachers more to work in low-performing schools.
The annual poll also showed that 60
percent of respondents would support a large increase in the number of charter
public schools, including a charter school in their own community, a press
release announcing the findings said.
Eighty percent said that states, not
the federal government, should be responsible for school accountability and a
majority said that the key to school improvement is to improve teacher quality
by spending more time on educator training or professional development, the
press release said.
The telephone survey was conducted in
June with a national sample of 1,008 American adults, the release said.
Phi Delta Kappa International, "42nd Annual PDK/Gallup Poll Shows Slippage in
Americans' Support of Obama's Education Agenda"
Mackinac Center for Public Policy,
"Merit Pay in Mt. Clemens?" Aug. 26, 2010
BARGAIN RAISES, INSURANCE
HAVEN, Mich. — Teachers in Grand Haven and Alpena public schools will receive
pay raises while switching insurance plans under new contracts in each
district, according to separate media reports.
Haven Area Public Schools will continue to buy health coverage through the
Michigan Education Special Services Association, but teachers will switch from
the Super Care I plan to Choices II, a preferred provider plan, The Muskegon
Chronicle reported. That is expected to bring down insurance costs by $600,000
in each of the next two years, the report said.
will receive a 1.75 percent salary increase this year and 1.5 percent in
2011-2012, according to The Chronicle. The estimated cost of that increase was
Alpena News reported that Alpena Public Schools teachers will receive a 0.5
percent pay increase in 2010-2011. They will switch from Blue Cross Blue Shield
PPO I to PPO II insurance, and a salary schedule giving raises for years of
service and educational attainment will be restored to the contract, The News
reported. The costs or savings of those changes were not reported.
Superintendent Brian Holcomb told Michigan Capitol Confidential that the
district's top priority was to maintain its status as insurance policyholder
rather than switch to a MESSA plan in which the district would not have control
of deductibles or coverage.
Alpena News, "APS approves contract with teachers," Sept. 1, 2010
Muskegon Chronicle, "Grand Haven teachers get pay hike, but new contract will
save $1.2 million in health insurance costs," Sept. 3, 2010
Capitol Confidential, "Budget Savings Drained and Raises Continue at Alpena
Schools," Sept. 3, 2010
Education Digest, "Alpena board implements contract," July 12, 2010
UNION SUES OVER TEACHER ASSIGNMENTS
DETROIT — The Detroit teachers union
claims in a new lawsuit that it should have played a bigger role in assigning
teachers to the district's worst schools this year, according to the Detroit
The Detroit Federation of Teachers
claims that district officials violated the teachers' contract by not
collaborating more with the union on interviewing and hiring educators for 51
low-performing schools, DFT President Keith Johnson told the Free Press.
The union has asked for a restraining
order that would effectively allow about 40 teachers to return to work at the
same schools where they taught last year, the Press reported.
The lawsuit also could affect the
placement of new teachers DPS is hiring through the Teach for America program,
Johnson told the Free Press.
Detroit Free Press, "Union sues over
teacher hiring at 51 DPS schools," Sept. 1, 2010
Detroit Federation of Teachers,
"2009-2012 Contract — New Language"
Mackinac Center for Public Policy,
"Union Spending in Michigan: A Review of Union Financial Disclosure Reports,"
Aug. 28, 2008
HIKE LEADS HOLLAND TO SEEK LEGAL OPINION
HOLLAND, Mich. — Facing a 27 percent
rate hike for teacher health insurance, the Holland Board of Education planned
to ask state Attorney General Mike Cox whether it has to honor a previous
employee contract while a new one is being negotiated, according to The Grand
It also planned to ask the Michigan
Insurance Commission if there is a way to challenge the increase, according to
Under the terms of the current
contract, the district buys health insurance for its teachers through the
Michigan Education Special Services Association, a third-party administrator
affiliated with the Michigan Education Association. The current contract
expires in 2011.
State law requires existing employee contract
provisions to remain in place until a new contract is ratified, The Press
The board contends that employees will
have little incentive to negotiate if the new contract is likely to include
cuts, The Press reported.
"Maybe there's nothing we can do
about it (the rate hike)," Superintendent Brian Davis told The Press. "But I think what (board Treasurer) Jack
(Gisinger) is saying is that at least we can ask the question."
The Grand Rapids Press, "Holland school
board to seek attorney general opinion," Aug. 23, 2010
Mackinac Center for Public Policy,
"Holland Teacher Contract Summary," Aug. 4, 2010
SCHOOLS BEGIN TO SPECIALIZE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An aviation school
in Michigan is one example of a new generation of public charter schools designed
to serve niche audiences, according to a feature report in The Washington
While the first generation of public
charter schools tended to replicate conventional schools in areas like
curriculum and scheduling, newer schools do not, the report said.
The West Michigan Aviation Academy,
opening in September in Grand Rapids, will train high school students for
careers in aviation even as they take traditional academic courses, The Times
reported. In New York, students who attend the Democracy Preparatory Charter
School in Harlem focus on civic responsibility and leadership, the report said.
"The movement is beginning to
expand and grow as parents figure out that public charters are doing a great
deal in closing the achievement gap and offering options that public schools
don't," Peter Groff, executive director of the National Alliance for
Public Charter Schools, told The Times.
Advocates told The Times that the best
approach to growing the charter movement is to let parents, communities and the
marketplace determine what's needed in any given region, The Times reported.
The Washington Times, "Charter schools
finding niches," Aug. 29, 2010
Michigan Education Digest, "Poll:
Charter School Support Growing," April 23, 2010
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (https://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.