December 11, 2012

Contents of this issue:

  • Right-to-work legislation moving quickly
  • College takes proposals for requested public charter school
  • Alcona residents question district boundaries
  • American Federation of Teachers calls for teacher ‘bar exam’
  • Michigan Senate approves school tax revenues for Red Wings

Right-to-Work Legislation Moving Quickly

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan legislators in the House and Senate passed right-to-work bills on Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the Free Press, the legislation would make it illegal for workers to be required to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment. The bills would cover public- and private-sector workers, the Free Press reported, but would not cover police officers and firefighters
The House bill includes a $1 million appropriation, according to the Free Press, which means that if the bill is passed, it would be ineligible for repeal through ballot initiative.
SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press, “Michigan lawmakers fast-track right-to-work legislation during chaotic day at the Capitol,” Dec. 6, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “The Human Side of Right-to-Work Legislation" Dec. 7, 2012

College Takes Proposals for Requested Public Charter School

JACKSON, Mich. – A month after a parent group requested that Jackson Community College authorize an early college public charter school, the college is accepting proposals, MLive reports.

In addition to outside groups, the community college is also submitting a proposal to run the early college school, according to MLive.
The tuition-free school, MLive reports, would include grades six through 12, with an additional 13th grade added. Students could earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree at the school, according to MLive.
MLive reports that the parent group, called 100 Families, requested the public charter school because of concerns that area schools are providing a low-quality education.
SOURCE: MLive, “Jackson Community College seeking groups interested in running an early college charter school on its campus,” Dec. 5, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Early college high schools helping at-risk teens in Ohio," March 7, 2006

Alcona Residents Question District Boundaries

LINCOLN, Mich. – Residents of Alcona County are questioning the boundaries of the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational School District over a proposed millage, according to The Alpena News.

More than a third of Alcona County’s area is contained within Fairview Area Schools or Oscoda Area Schools, the Alpena News reports, and those districts are not part of the AMA district.
However, the AMA ESD allows Schools of Choice, AMA Superintendent Brian Wilmot told The News, which allows parents to freely send their children to their preferred school.  
The AMA ESD has a proposed millage up for vote in February 2013. Alcona School District Superintendent Shawn Thornton told The News that only AMA homestead residents will be able to vote on the millage — Oscoda or Fairview residents will not be able to vote.
“There is the situation…where someone across the street from their neighbor attends a different school district, because there has to be a line somewhere,” Wilmot told the Alpena News. “…[T]hat’s been decided by people many, many years ago as to what their school district boundaries would be.”
SOURCE: The Alpena News, “School district boundaries bring questions,” Dec. 6, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “A Michigan School Money Primer,” May 30, 2007

American Federation of Teachers Calls for Teacher ‘Bar Exam’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Federation of Teachers union is calling for an additional, required test for incoming teachers, Fox News reports.

The proposal would mimic state-level bar exams, like those given to aspiring lawyers, by requiring incoming teachers to pass a standardized test administered by state-level unions, according to Fox News.
The proposal, according to Fox News, does not address poor-performing tenured teachers already in the classroom.
“What we’re focusing on in is preparing new teachers,” AFT President Randi Weingarten told Fox News.
SOURCE: Fox News, “Education union pitches ‘bar exam’ for incoming teachers,” Dec. 3, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Less Than 1 Percent of Michigan Teachers Rated ‘Ineffective,’” Dec. 1, 2012

Michigan Senate Approves School Tax Revenues for Red Wings

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Senate passed legislation that would redirect school tax revenues to a private development project, including a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, CBC Sports reports.

According to CBC Sports, the tax revenues amount to about $12.8 million per year, and had been previously going to paying down Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority bonds.
Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch told CBC Sports that the development will cost $650 million. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told CBC Sports that the project will add $1.9 million to the Detroit economy, and create 8,300 construction jobs.
SOURCE: CBC Sports, “Michigan Senate OKs new Red Wings arena funded by tax money,” Dec. 5, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “LaFaive: Put Subsidies for Detroit Red Wings on Ice, Dec. 5, 2012