Contents of this issue:
- Bay City teachers OK potential MEA job action
- DPS taking charter bids; teachers protest
- Immigration ‘raid’ at school under scrutiny
- School choice programs gain ground
- Few happy with proposed school lunch rules
Bay City Teachers OK Potential MEA Job Action
BAY CITY, Mich. — Bay City teachers voted by approximately
a 3-to-1 margin to authorize the Michigan Education Association to begin
“crisis activities,” up to and including a strike, The Bay City Times reported.
Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan.
Local MEA affiliates around the state are voting on the
same issue, under directions from MEA President Iris Salters. Bay City
Education Association President Kevin Stapish told The Times that 85 percent of
its 450 members turned out for Friday’s vote, which ended with 76 percent in
favor and 24 percent against.
The MEA has said it will not report the statewide results,
according to an earlier report in The Flint Journal.
The voting is a response to Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed
budget, which reduces K-12 public school funding. Stapish has characterized Snyder's budget as
"attacks" on public school employees, The Times reported.
The Bay City Times, “Bay
City teachers union approves MEA job action that could result in statewide
strike,” April 8, 2011
The Flint Journal, “MEA
mum on strike votes,” April 4, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Another Way to Deal with Illegal Strikes,”
March 24, 2011
DPS Taking Charter Bids; Teachers Protest
DETROIT — Charter public school operators must have a
proven track record before they will be allowed to take over a Detroit Public
School building, the district said in outlining its charter conversion plan,
The Detroit News reported. While Detroit Federal of Teachers members rallied
against the move, the district proceeded with the plan last week by outlining
requirements for applicants.
The district is considering turning over 45 schools to
charter operators, The News reported. Among other requirements, applicants must
already run a charter school and be able to demonstrate academic achievement
and community involvement at their sites, according to The News.
DPS hopes to reduce operating costs and improve student
achievement, spokesman Steve Wasko told The News. The district wants to have
some schools converted by fall and believes that only proven charter school
operators could take up the task that quickly, Wasko told The News.
“We know there will be a lot of interest in this. We don't
want to waste time sifting through hundreds or thousands of application from
bottom feeders or those with no experience,” Wasko said.
On Thursday, DFT members rallied in protest in front of the
Fisher Building, The News reported. DFT President Keith Johnson called charters
“second-rate schools with second-rate teachers,” according to The News.
Applications are due May 2 and a decision will be made by
June, according to The News.
The Detroit News, “Charter
school operators seeking DPS building must pass requirements,” April 7,
The Detroit News, “Teachers
unions rally against charter schools,” April 8, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Detroit Public Schools Students Bear the
Pain of Limited Educational Opportunities,” Sept. 10, 2010
Immigration ‘Raid’ at School under Scrutiny
DETROIT — Immigration agents in Detroit appear to have
violated federal policies when they targeted parents at a charter public school
in Detroit, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said last week,
Detroit Free Press reported.
The agents followed immigrant parents from their homes to
Hope of Detroit Academy in southwest Detroit, the Free Press reported. About
half a dozen ICE vehicles with tinted windows were around the school, Ryan
Bates of the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and Reform Michigan told the Free
Some parents were too frightened to leave the school, Bates
told the Free Press, and at least two parents were detained. He called the
incident part of a pattern of harassment of minorities, the Free Press
An ICE spokesman said that an internal review is under way,
according to the Free Press. Immigration enforcement policy prohibits
operations near schools unless they are approved by headquarters, the spokesman
said, according to the Free Press.
Detroit Free Press, “Immigration
agents improperly targeted Detroit school parents, feds admit,” April 7,
MichiganVotes, “2011 House Bill 4305 (Establish
‘Arizona’ illegal alien law and more),” Feb. 22, 2011
School Choice Programs Gain Ground
COLUMBUS, Ohio — School choice programs are gaining ground
in at least three states and the nation’s capital, according to media reports.
As reported earlier in Michigan Education Digest, the U.S. House of
Representatives recently reauthorized the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program
and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a tuition tax credit program in Arizona.
Elsewhere, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed quadrupling
the number of school vouchers available in that state, the Toledo Blade
reported. The statewide Ohio EdChoice scholarship program would grow from
approximately 14,000 vouchers offered to 60,000 vouchers by 2013 under the
plan, according to the Blade.
The Ohio Legislature is considering a bill that would fund
the expansion by redirecting 80 percent of the $5,700-per-pupil allocated to
public schools to the private, parochial or religious school of the student’s
In Indiana, a state senate committee is considering
legislation to provide up to 7,500 vouchers to families who want to send their
children to private schools, according to The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette.
Under the Indiana bill, children would have to attend at
least two semesters in public school, not including kindergarten, before being
eligible for a voucher, the Journal Gazette reported. Voucher supporters said
that provision should be removed, but at least one legislator said public
schools should have first opportunity at enrolling students, according to the Journal
Toledo Blade, “Ohioans
rally to cheer Kasich’s voucher plan,” March 23, 2011
The (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Journal Gazette, “Senate
panel introduced to vouchers,” April 7, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “D.C.
Scholarship Program Approved by House,” March 31, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Arizona
moves to increase tuition tax credits,” April 7, 2011
Few Happy with Proposed School Lunch Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nobody in the school cafeteria business
is happy with the federal government’s proposed new rules on school lunches,
Education Week reported, and they all have different reasons why the “Healthy,
Hunger-Free Kids Act” won’t work well.
School districts say the new requirements for whole grains,
reduced sodium and more vegetables will be expensive and will result in too
much food tossed away by students, while potato growers are unhappy about the
limits on starchy foods and parents are worried that calorie limits aren’t high
enough for high school athletes, the report said.
On the other side are celebrity chefs and organic food
companies who say the new rules are necessary to combat childhood obesity and
malnutrition, according to Education Week.
The proposed rules, which apply to school breakfast and
lunch, were published in January and are open for public comment until April 13
at www.regulations.gov. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture has suggested districts raise prices, if necessary,
to offset costs, Education Week reported.
Education Week, “Ultimate
Food Fight Erupts as Feds Recook School Lunch Rules,” April 5, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Advice from the Nanny State,” Sept. 7,
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.