Contents of this issue:
- ‘Right-to-teach’ headed to Legislature?
- Bills call for more charters, mandatory schools of choice
- New school year brings 19 new charter schools
- Obama: $30B for teachers, $30B for school buildings
- Thousands enroll in Indiana voucher program
- Mackinac Center to host Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
‘Right-to-Teach’ Headed to Legislature?
DETROIT — Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville,
R-Monroe, would support a “right-to-teach” law in Michigan, under which
educators wouldn’t be required to join a union in order to get or keep a job,
The Detroit News reported.
Richardville earlier indicated he wasn’t interested in
broad right-to-work legislation in Michigan, but that was before the Michigan
Education Association donated $25,000 toward a campaign to recall Rep. Paul
Scott, R-Grand Blanc, head of the House Education Committee, according to The
That move angered many Republican lawmakers, The News
Richardville sees right-to-teach as part of broader
education reforms now before the Legislature, his spokeswoman, Amber McCann,
told The News (see related item in this week’s Michigan Education Digest).
McCann said she expects a right-to-teach bill will be introduced this fall, The
Doug Pratt, MEA spokesman, said in a statement that
Richardville is “seriously misguided in his proposal to attack school employees,”
The News reported. The MEA objects to an array of recently passed legislation
that gives more authority to emergency financial managers in financially
stressed school districts and cities, requires school employees to pay a larger
share of health insurance costs, and eliminates a tax exemption on pension
income, Pratt told The News.
The Detroit News, “Michigan Senate leader supports ‘right
to teach;’ MEA leader fires back,” Sept. 9, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Freedom to Teach,”
Sept. 9, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Senate Leader Supports
Right to Work for Teachers,” Sept. 9, 2011
Bills Call for More Charters, Mandatory Schools of Choice
PETOSKEY, Mich. — A wide-ranging set of education reform
bills is now before the Senate Education Committee, including measures that
would expand charter schools and cyber schools, allow public school districts
to privatize teaching jobs, and require public schools to enroll nonresident
students as long as they have space available, according to the Petoskey
Other measures in the bill would expand dual enrollment
options for public school students and also allow private school students to
dual enroll in college with their costs covered through the School Aid Fund,
the News-Review reported.
Also, the bills would allow parents or teachers to petition
to convert a conventional school to a public charter school.
The bills are collectively called the Parent Empowerment
Education Reform legislation, according to the News-Review.
Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, said the
legislation would give parents and students more say in students’ education,
the News-Review reported, while the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan
questioned the performance of Michigan’s existing charter public schools.
Rick Diebold, superintendent of the Charlevoix-Emmet
Intermediate School District, told the News-Review that local administrators
are encouraged by potentially wider options for dual enrollment. He also said
that local school districts within the Charlevoix-Emmet service area are
performing well and that any petition for a charter conversion would not apply,
the News-Review reported.
Petoskey News-Review, “Lawmakers: More choices benefit
schools, students,” Sept. 9, 2011
Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Recall Retaliation? Senate
Pushes Charter School Cap Repeal & ‘Union-Unfriendly’ Reforms,” Sept. 7,
New School Year Brings 19 New Charter Schools
LANSING, Mich. — Nineteen new charter public schools are
opening this fall, including eight in Detroit, two in Ypsilanti and one each in
nine other Michigan cities, according to the Michigan Information &
Research Service Inc.
The 19 new charters will be authorized by Detroit Public
Schools, four state universities, Bay Mills Community College, two intermediate
school districts and one local district, MIRS reported.
Dan Quisenberry, executive director of the Michigan
Association of Public School Academies, said while the 19 new schools are
welcome, more than 70 percent of existing charter public schools in Michigan
still have waiting lists, according to MIRS.
Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., “19 New
Charter Schools Opening in Michigan This Fall,” Sept. 6, 2011 (Subscription
Gongwer News Service, “Schools of Choice, Charters Expanded
Under Senate Bills,” Sept. 7, 2011 (Subscription required)
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Time to Take School
Choice in Michigan to the Next Level,” Aug. 8, 2011
Obama: $30B for Teachers, $30B for School Buildings
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thirty billion dollars to protect
teaching jobs and $30 billion to modernize school buildings are part of the
$447 billion “jobs bill” package that President Obama unveiled Thursday,
according to media reports.
Officials estimated that $30 billion would protect up to
280,000 educators’ jobs over two years, according to Education Week. Districts
could use the money to pay for benefits and to hire new staff, Education Week
reported, and districts would not have to agree to any reform measures as a
condition of receiving the funds.
The $30 billion for school buildings could be used for
emergency repairs and energy, computer and technology upgrades, Education Week
reported. Officials estimated that amount would pay for makeovers of about
The biggest 100 school districts would get a direct
building modernization grant, which could help Detroit Public Schools,
according to Education Week and the Detroit Free Press.
The president said he would present a specific proposal to
cut spending elsewhere in order to pay for the jobs bill, according to the Free
Education Week, “Obama Calls for $60 Billion to Save
Teacher Jobs, Fix Schools,” Sept. 8, 2011 (Subscription required)
Detroit Free Press, “President Obama to Congress: ‘Pass
this jobs bill,’” Sept. 9, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School Districts Ignoring
Labor Market Signals,” May 2, 2011
Thousands Enroll in Indiana Voucher Program
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s new school voucher program has
enabled more than 3,200 students to attend religious or private schools this
year, according to the Catholic News Service, with about 70 percent enrolling
in Catholic schools.
The voucher program is targeted at students who are
transferring from a public school or who previously received a tax credit
scholarship, according to CNS. Even as the program is being challenged in court
by a group of teachers and religious leaders, Indiana’s state education
department has approved about 250 schools as eligible for the program, CNS
Students receive aid based on family income, and the
program is capped at 7,500 students this year and 15,000 the next, CNS reported.
The high voucher enrollment in Catholic schools probably
reflects that those schools already had state accreditation, are more
established and have more space available, John Elcesser, executive director of
the Indiana Non-Public Education Association, told CNS.
Catholic News Service, “Vouchers
credited with increasing Indiana's Catholic school enrollment,” Sept. 9, 2011
Mackinac Center for Public
Policy, “Time to Take School Choice in Michigan to the Next Level,” Aug. 8,
Center to host Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
The Mackinac Center for
Public Policy will host Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at a Nov. 14 dinner event in
Lansing, with WJR talk show host Frank Beckmann as emcee. Information on
tickets and times will be released soon. For the latest details, readers can check
the calendar of events at the Mackinac Center website.
Center publishes Michigan Education Digest.
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.