January 22, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Michigan charter school students best conventional school peers
  • Birmingham approves limited Schools of Choice for state money 
  • L’Anse Creuse approves Schools of Choice due to low enrollment
  • Michigan can count some failing students as 'passing' on MEAP 
  • Center for Education Reform gives Michigan charter laws an ‘A’

Michigan Charter School Students Best Conventional School Peers

DETROIT – A Stanford University study of more than 85,000 Michigan public charter school students found that they are learning more than their conventional school peers, The Detroit News reports.

According to The News, Detroit public charter students did even better, gaining three more months of learning each year, compared to their peers.
The study found that 35 percent of Michigan public charter schools did significantly better on state reading tests than conventional schools, and 42 percent of public charter schools did better on state math tests, The News reports.
Only 2 percent of public charter schools did worse than conventional schools on reading tests, according to The News, and just 6 percent did worse on math tests.
SOURCE: Detroit News, “Study: Michigan charter schools making greater strides over public education,” Jan. 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Charter Schools a Smashing Success," Jan. 15, 2013

Birmingham Approves Limited Schools of Choice for State Money

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – The Birmingham Board of Education reluctantly voted to allow up to six nonresident students to attend its district under the state Schools of Choice program, the Birmingham Patch reports.

The move was done to access state incentive money, not to indicate support of Schools of Choice, according to Patch.
Patch reports that Superintendent Chris Nerad told the board that “[t]his proposal should not be viewed as a public policy recommendation in favor of Schools of Choice. If it didn’t have the possibility of helping the district’s budget situation, this would not be before you.”
The move will allow up to six nonresident 11th grade students to attend Birmingham’s alternative high school, Patch reports.
Birmingham will receive $430,000 in state incentive money as a result of the change, according to Patch.
SOURCE: Birmingham Patch, “Birmingham Joins Schools of Choice on Limited Basis In Exchange for State Aid,” Jan. 16, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Birmingham Latest District to Game Schools of Choice," Jan. 17, 2013

L’Anse Creuse Approves Schools of Choice Due to Low Enrollment

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The L’Anse Creuse Board of Education voted to allow Schools of Choice in response to declining enrollment, The Voice reports.

According to The Voice, Superintendent Jacqueline Johnston told the board that between October 2011 and October 2012, student enrollment had dropped by 238 students, which had a large negative impact on the district’s budget.
“It is the loss of student population, and the dollars associated with it that I believe…is what brought forward the discussion of schools of choice for this district,” The Voice reports Johnston told the board.
According to The Voice, the L’Anse Creuse school board voted to approve unlimited enrollment under Schools of Choice for Kindergarten through eighth grade for the 2013-14 school year.
Up to 20 students in ninth and tenth grade will be allowed in under Schools of Choice, The Voice reports.
SOURCE: The Voice, “L’Anse Creuse approves schools of choice,” Jan. 18, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Students’ ZIP Code Should Not Limit School Choice,” Sept. 27, 2012

Michigan Can Count More Failing Students as 'Passing' on MEAP

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michigan can now count more students who fail to score proficient or better on state tests as “passing,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that failing students who are on track to score proficient within four years can be counted as “passing” for accountability purposes.
The change is a slight one, according to the Free Press. Previously, the state was able to count failing students who were on track to score proficient within three years.
The Free Press reports that this change is limited to grading schools — student test scores will not be changed.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Michigan granted flexibility for students who fail MEAP, but show improvement,” Jan. 15, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Michigan granted NCLB waiver, July 2

Center for Education Reform Gives Michigan Charter Laws an ‘A’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Michigan was one of four states to receive an ‘A’ on a nationwide assessment of state charter school laws, according to the Detroit News.

The Center for Education Reform publishes the ranking annually, and this year, according to The News, Michigan moved up from the fifth-highest to the fourth-highest ranked state.
In recent years, Michigan has listed the cap on charter schools, and allowed for the creation of more online charter schools, The News reports.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Group gives Michigan ‘A’ for support of charter schools,” Jan. 18, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Arbitrary Cap on Charter Schools Lifted,” Dec. 15, 2011