Contents of this issue:
- CMU faculty ordered back to work, hearing Friday
districts meet ‘best practices’ so far
college enrollment leveling
Detroit students don’t show up for school for weeks
People like teachers more than teachers’ unions
CMU faculty ordered back to work, hearing Friday
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Central Michigan University faculty were
expected to return to work today after a judge granted a restraining order
against their one-day strike, according to The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun.
An Isabella County judge ordered the members of the Faculty
Association union back to the classroom and scheduled a hearing on the matter
for Friday, The Sun reported. The association, which represents tenured and
tenure-track faculty members, and the university are in contentious contract
negotiations, with wages and health benefits the main sticking points,
according to earlier media reports.
Some classes were cancelled Monday when the 600 union
members refused to report, but adjunct professors and graduate assistants were
called in to conduct other classes, The Sun reported.
CMU called the strike illegal and argued that students and
the university would be harmed, but union attorneys said the work stoppage does
not constitute a strike under the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act and
that there has been no permanent or irreparable harm to students, The Sun
The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, “Judge
orders striking profs back to work,” Aug. 23, 2011
The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, “Update-2:
CMU professors on strike,” Aug. 22, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Without
contract, CMU faculty paying more for MESSA,” July 9, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How to Defuse PERA’s Ticking Time Bomb,”
Aug. 8, 2011
19 Districts Meet ‘Best Practices’ So Far
LANSING, Mich. — Only 19 public school districts have met
the ‘best practices’ required for them to receive an additional $100 per
student in state funding this year, but it’s still early in the game, education
officials told the Michigan Information & Research Service.
Michigan Department of Education spokesperson Jan Ellis
told MIRS that 19 of 550 districts have met the criteria.
Four of five practices must be implemented by the district:
Require employees to pay at least 10 percent of their health care premiums;
consolidate some services with other districts; seek competitive bids on
noninstructional services; post online a “dashboard” of district performance;
and become the policyholder of medical plans provided to district employees.
Brad Biladeau, associate executive director for government
relations for the Michigan Association of School Administrators, told MIRS that
the association expects most districts to eventually meet the criteria. In some
cases districts and unionized employees would have to open up contracts and
revise language on health care premiums or policyholder arrangements, Biladeau
said, according to MIRS.
“I don't think it's anything that is insurmountable for
school districts at this point,” Biladeau told MIRS.
Schools have until June 1, 2012, to submit documentation to
the Michigan Department of Education, according to MIRS.
Michigan Information & Research Service, Inc., “Only 19 Districts
Have Met Best Practice $ Criteria,” Aug. 19, 2011 (Subscription required)
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Extra K-12 Cash to be Tied to Mandatory
Health Care Cost Sharing and Other Reforms,” May 22, 2011
Community College Enrollment Leveling
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following years of growth, community
college enrollment in Michigan is leveling and in some cases declining, school
officials told The Grand Rapids Press. Two reasons might be a smaller
population of high school seniors and shrinking funds for job retraining
programs, The Press reported.
Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Valley community colleges
anticipate 5 percent enrollment declines this fall, and the president of the
Michigan Community College Association told The Press that 25 to 30 percent of
other community colleges also are reporting dips.
“But when you consider that the colleges have seen record
enrollment for the past five years or so, the number of people attending is
still a very high number,” Michael Hansen, association president, told The Press.
President Steven Ender of Grand Rapids Community College
said recently that there is less money available this year for No Worker Left
Behind and other training programs, according to The Press.
The Grand Rapids Press, “After
years of record growth, community colleges across state looking at enrollment
declines,” Aug. 21, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Michigan School Exporting Education to
China,” Aug. 18, 2011
Some Detroit Students Don’t Show Up for School for Weeks
DETROIT — A surprising number of children do not show up
for the first day or even the first few weeks of classes in Detroit Public
Schools, so the district is now sending staffers door to door in an effort to
boost enrollment, according to The Detroit News.
An estimated 20 to 30 percent of children who live in the
district do not attend school in September, officials told The News. They cited
a number of reasons: Parents who are trying out a charter public school;
homeless families who never received information about start dates; confusion
over school assignments, lack of transportation, and even an attitude that the
first few weeks of school are not that important, The News reported.
To counter those issues, attendance agents are visiting
homes in neighborhoods affected by school consolidations, and the district is
sending enrollment vans to churches and family reunions, The News reported.
“In my 13 years of teaching, about one-third don't show up
every year,” Mark O'Keefe, executive vice president of the Detroit Federation
of Teachers, told The News. “There were parents who simply don't bring their
kids back on the first day of school. It's part of the way things are here.”
Starting school late not only affects children
academically, but last year cost the district $28.5 million in state funding
due to shifting enrollment counts, spokesman Steve Wasko told The News.
The Detroit News, “Home
visits aim to lift DPS enrollment,” Aug. 18, 2011
Michigan Education Digest, “Detroit
unions sue over pay cut,” Aug. 8, 2011
Poll: People Like Teachers More Than Teachers’ Unions
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new poll shows that a growing number
of people believe that teachers’ unions have hurt the quality of public
education, although they like and trust individual teachers, according to a
report in Education Week.
However, when it comes to battles between governors and
teachers’ unions, just over half of the poll respondents said they sided with
the unions, the report said.
The poll is conducted annually by Phi Delta Kappa
International and the Washington-based Gallup Organization, Education Week
reported. This year’s survey was conducted in June, using a national sample of
1,002 adults age 18 or older. The margin of error is plus or minus four
percentage points, Education Week reported.
In the 1976 poll, 38 percent of the poll respondents felt
that unions hurt education and 13 percent didn’t have a strong opinion,
Education Week reported. This year, 47 percent said unions have harmed public
education and only 2 percent didn’t have an opinion, the report said.
Nearly three of four people surveyed said they had
confidence and trust in teachers today, and that the highest-achieving high
school students should be encouraged to become tomorrow’s educators, Education
In another area, fewer of the respondents favored school
vouchers, but more favored charter schools and school choice in general
compared to previous polls, according to Education Week.
Education Week, “Poll:
Americans Trust Teachers, Split on Teachers' Unions,” Aug. 17, 2011
Phi Delta Kappa International,
Michigan Education Digest, “Michigan
has Oversupply of New Teachers,” Aug. 9, 2011
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.