Contents of this issue:
- 'Edujobs' rules leave out many charter teachers
- Special education numbers down
- School shifting to solar power
- School Aid Fund surplus sent to community colleges
- Districts choose improvement plans
'EDUJOBS' RULES LEAVE OUT MANY CHARTER TEACHERS
RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan charter public schools are being punished by "edujobs"
rules that disallow spending on teachers hired through private management
companies, a charter school association spokesman told The Grand Rapids Press.
$10 billion in federal funding was intended by Congress to avert teacher
layoffs, but the details say that doesn't include teachers who are contracted
through a private firm, which is how many Michigan public school academies
arrange their payroll, according to The Press. Those schools will have to
return the cash, The Press reported.
say the arrangement shows that the "edujobs" funding is a teachers union
bailout, since most charter schools are not unionized, The Press reported.
I think the unions were in the room when the language was being written, and
that this is a shot across the bow? Absolutely," said Gary Naeyaert, vice
president for public relations and legislative affairs for the Michigan
Association of Public School Academies. "Why are 90,000 students being
Heritage Academies, based in Grand Rapids, manages 61 charter schools
nationwide and 10 in West Michigan, The Press reported. All of the employees in
its schools work for the company rather than the individual schools.
disappointing that students and teachers at many schools may be intentionally
left out of this initiative," National Heritage spokeswoman Tara Powers
reason charter schools do not hire teachers directly in Michigan is that they
then would be required to pay into the state pension system for those
employees, at a cost equal to almost 20 percent of each worker's salary, The
Grand Rapids Press, "Charter schools cry foul over rules that force most to
refund thousands in new federal aid," Sept. 10, 2010
Center for Public Policy, "'Edujobs' Will Hurt Michigan Public Schools," Aug.
EDUCATION NUMBERS DOWN
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of
students classified as learning-disabled is on a downward trend nationally, as
is the number of special education students overall, but experts disagree about
the reasons why, according to a report in Education Week.
Reasons suggested by various officials
to Education Week included better reading instruction overall, earlier
intervention with struggling students, and switching students from
learning-disabled to a different special education classification.
Others suggested a deliberate effort by
schools to keep numbers of special education students low in order to avoid
federal accountability rules and higher costs, Education Week reported.
The percentage of students nationwide
identified as having a "specific learning disability" dropped from 6.1 percent
in 2000-2001 to 5.2 percent in 2007-2008, or 2.9 million to 2.6 million
students, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Education Week
In Michigan, information at the Michigan Department of Education website states
that the total number of special education students in the state rose from
about 172,000 in 1990 to a peak of about 250,000 in 2005-2006, and then
declined to about 244,000 by 2007-2008.
The number of Michigan students in the
learning-disabled category stood at about 73,000 in 1990, peaked at about
98,000 in 2003-04 and declined to 93,000 by 2006-2007. Those numbers include students
who spend part of their day in a general education classroom.
Education Week, "Learning-Disabled
Enrollment Dips After Long Climb," Sept. 8, 2010
Michigan Department of Education,
"Special Education Pupil Count Data in Michigan, 1968-2007," March 2007
Michigan Education Report,
"Specializing in special education," Feb. 1, 2010
SHIFTING TO SOLAR POWER
Mich. — Solar panels are expected to produce two-thirds of the electricity
needed to operate the Upland Hills School complex this year, the school
director told The Oakland Press.
private school complex includes a school, theater, dome workshop and the
director's house, according to The Press. The monthly bill is expected to run
around $175, Phillip Moore, school director, told The Press.
the school adds a wind generator within the next five years, as planned, it
will become a net energy school and have spare electricity to share with
neighbors, Moore said, according to The Press.
said the annual electricity cost was about $7,000 before the solar panel system
was installed and now will be approximately $2,000 to $3,000.
cost of installing the system was not reported.
Oakland Press, "Solar school: Upland Hills to produce two-thirds of power this
school year with new solar panels," Sept. 8, 2010
Capitol Confidential, "Michigan's Costly Tab for Cap-and-Trade," July 9, 2010
SCHOOL AID FUND SURPLUS SENT TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES
LANSING, Mich. — Patching part of a
hole in the state budget, lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm officially moved
$208 million out of the School Aid Fund to use for community colleges, freeing
up general fund money for other uses, according to media reports.
The shift addresses part of a $302
million overspending issue in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30,
according to Crain's Detroit Business. The Michigan Information & Research
Service Inc. reported Thursday that Gov. Granholm, who earlier proposed the
shift, made the transfer official.
The Michigan Education Association
opposed the move, according to Crain's. Doug Pratt, director of public affairs
at the Michigan Education Association, said the surplus money in the School Aid
Fund would not have been there if lawmakers had not cut $154 per pupil from
K-12 schools earlier, Crain's reported.
A separate bill that in part would make
up that cut through the use of recently approved federal education funds is
expected to be taken up soon, Crain's reported.
Crain's Detroit Business, "Michigan
Senate shifts $208 million from School Aid Fund to community colleges," Sept.
Michigan Votes, "2010 House Bill 5872
(Spend federal 'edujobs' stimulus money)," Feb. 24, 2010
CHOOSE IMPROVEMENT PLANS
ADRIAN, Mich. — Michigan's lowest-performing public schools are implementing programs ranging
from tutoring to greater teacher communication as they begin spending federal
funds intended to improve student achievement, according to media reports.
was handed out to 28 low-performing schools, including $2.75 million for Adrian
Public Schools to use over three years, according to The (Adrian) Daily
Telegram. The district has added tutoring and skill-building opportunities to
its high school program, The Telegram reported.
In Mount Morris,
the E.A. Johnson Memorial High School received $1.56 million and will use it to
hire new teachers, upgrade
technology and implement new credit recovery and behavioral programs to help
struggling students, The Flint Journal reported.
schools are required to reform their instructional practices, overhaul staff or
close and reopen as a charter public school.
The (Adrian) Daily
Telegram, "Adrian school board discusses federal improvement grant," Sept. 8,
The Flint Journal,
"Mt. Morris Johnson Memorial
awarded federal school improvement grant," Sept. 2, 2010
Michigan Education Digest,
"Low-performers eligible for grants," June 15, 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.