Contents of this issue:
- Superintendent: Make my school a prison
- Tecumseh adopts insurance ‘best practice’
- Religious school enrollment down
- Professor dismissed for plagiarism
- New ‘Race’ focuses on preschool education
Superintendent: Make My School a Prison
ITHACA, Mich. — Superintendent Nathan Bootz of Ithaca
Public Schools told Michigan Public Radio that he’s hearing from people all
over the country about his public request of the state to “make my school a
Bootz’s request, published as a letter in the Gratiot
County Herald, alleges that the state treats prisoners better than school
children, noting that inmates receive “roof over their heads, clothing on their
backsides, three square meals a day, health care ...” and other items as
evidence, Michigan Public Radio reported.
Bootz told Michigan Public Radio that his letter has been reported
by other news outlets and posted on Facebook, but that he hasn’t heard anything
from the Michigan Legislature.
In a separate report, state Sen. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester
Hills, described the letter to Michigan Capitol Confidential as “inflammatory
Michigan Capitol Confidential is published by the Mackinac
Center for Public Policy, which also publishes Michigan Education Digest.
Michigan Public Radio, “School
superintendent challenges lawmakers to ‘make my school a prison,’” May 26,
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Superintendent to
Governor: Make my School a Prison,” May 26, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Benefits of Prison Spending Reform,”
May 11, 2011
Tecumseh Adopts Insurance ‘Best Practice’
TECUMSEH, Mich. — Tecumseh Public Schools trustees have
named the district as its own insurance policyholder, a move intended to help
it gain $100 per pupil in state funding in 2011-2012, The (Adrian) Daily
Trustees said they believe the action will help the
district contain health insurance costs, according to The Daily Telegram.
Tecumseh currently purchases health insurance through the Michigan Education Special
Services Association, an affiliate of the Michigan Education Association, the
Traditionally, MESSA will not provide insurance to a school
district unless MESSA is named the policyholder. However, the school aid budget
for the coming year requires districts to adopt four of five “best practices”
in order to receive higher per-pupil funding, The Telegram reported.
Naming the district as the insurance policyholder is one of
those; others include requiring employees to pay at least 10 percent of their
health insurance premiums; sharing or consolidating services among districts;
seeking competitive bids for noninstructional services and creating a public
“dashboard” showing financial and performance data, The Telegram reported.
“They’ve dangled the $100-per-pupil carrot in front of us,”
said board president Ed Tritt, according to The Telegram. “This is like you or
me shopping for insurance. If we can find it at a better price, we’ve got to
The (Adrian) Daily Telegram, “Tecumseh
school board adopts state ‘best practice’ on insurance,” May 24, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Savings: Is Your School District
Missing Out on Savings?” Jan. 18, 2010
Religious School Enrollment Down
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Enrollment in
most private, religious schools declined along with the economy in 2009-2010,
while public schools saw enrollment growth and independent and nonreligious
private schools held steady, a new federal report shows, according to Education
The U.S. Department of Education
reported in its “Condition of Education 2011” that K-12 private, religious
school enrollment declined from 6.3 million to 5.5 million students from
2001-2002 to 2009-2010, with the biggest decline coming in the final year,
according to Education Week.
Enrollment decline was seen in both
Catholic schools and schools designated by the National Center for Education
Statistics as conservative Christian, Education Week reported.
Experts told Education Week that
downturns in the economy, competition from public charter schools and demographic
changes across the nation all may have contributed to the decline. Not all
areas of the country were affected equally; the South and West saw Catholic
school growth, the report said.
Education Week, “Report
Charts Enrollment Drop in Private Schools,” May 26, 2011
National Center for Education
of Education 2011”
Michigan Education Report, “Adding
private schools to the school choice debate,” June 7, 2010
Professor Dismissed for Plagiarism
EAST LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan State University professor
has been dismissed for plagiarizing in a 2010 report on K-12 school
consolidation in Michigan, according to media reports.
Sharif Shakrani, a faculty member in MSU’s Education Policy
Center, used unattributed material in a study that concluded Michigan could
save as much as $612 million through consolidations, the reports said. His
study was commissioned by Booth Michigan Newspapers and The Grand Rapids Press,
and was widely reported in Michigan media, according to a report at Mlive.com,
the chain’s website.
The plagiarism was first noted by the Mackinac Center for
Public Policy, the State News reported. The center also said Shakrani’s
methodology was “seriously flawed.” (The Mackinac Center publishes Michigan
The State News, the university’s campus newspaper, said
Shakrani could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
A university spokesman told the News that the findings
validate the university’s system for dealing with accusations of plagiarism.
State University dismisses professor who plagiarized school consolidation study
for Booth papers,” May 26, 2011
State News, “Professor
dismissed after plagiarizing,” May 26, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “MSU Consolidation Study Seriously Flawed,”
Aug. 19, 2010
New ‘Race’ Focuses on Preschool Education
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The latest version of Race to the Top is
the federal government’s $500 million Early Learning Challenge, according to
Education Week. The competition will reward states that create comprehensive
plans to improve early education by setting learning standards and improving
the workforce, the report said.
The contest will take up the majority of the $700 million
that Congress allocated for Race to the Top-style initiatives this year,
Education Week reported.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the remaining $200
million will be distributed competitively among states that were named
runners-up in the original Race to the Top, if those states choose to compete
again, according to Education Week. Michigan was not among those finalists.
The rules, eligibility, and size of the Early Learning
Challenge Grants have not been announced, according to Education Week, which
noted that the $500 million contest is significantly smaller than the original
$4 billion Race to the Top initiative.
Still, Duncan said in announcing it that he wants the early
education competition to be a “game changer,” Education Week reported.
Education Week, “New
Race to Top: $500M for Early Ed., $200M for Round 2 Runners-Up,” May 25,
2011 (Subscription required)
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Preschool
reports at odds,” Jan. 26, 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.