February 5, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Wayne State union wants 10-year provision to avoid RTW
  • State Superintendent: $100,000 would attract better teachers 
  • Inkster could turn its high school into a public charter school 
  • Federal government proposes rules for school snacks
  • Thumb-area school employs first full-time virtual teacher

Wayne State Union Wants 10-year Provision to Avoid RTW

DETROIT – In response to the state’s new right-to-work law, the Wayne State University faculty union is pushing for a 10-year contract provision to ensure that it can continue forcing members to pay dues or agency fees, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Free Press reports that the 10-year provision would be separate from a proposed four-year contract that the union and Wayne State University are negotiating.
“Right-to-work was an attack on unions and we’re trying to defend ourselves the best way we can,” WSU faculty union President Charlie Parrish told the Free Press.
A university spokesperson declined to comment on the matter, according to the Free Press.
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “WSU faculty union seeks 10-year contract before right-to-work takes effect,” Jan. 31, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “School District Reaches Five-Year Contract Preventing Teachers From Leaving the Union," Jan. 30, 2013

State Superintendent: $100,000 Would Attract Better Teachers

LANSING, Mich. – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says that offering $100,000 salaries could attract better math and science teachers, MLive reports.

Flanagan said that there is a shortage of math and science teachers, according to MLive, and that higher teacher salaries could address it.
MLive reports that the average Michigan teacher’s salary is $61,560.
SOURCE: MLive, “State superintendent: $100,000 salary would lure more math and science teachers,” Jan. 29, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “$100K Teachers? For Some Educators, Unions Are Standing In the Way," Feb. 1, 2013

Inkster Could Turn Its High School Into a Charter Public School

INKSTER, Mich. – The Inkster school district, facing a $12 million overspending crisis, is considering turning its high school into a charter public school and becoming a K-8 district, according to the Free Press.

A deficit elimination plan filed with the Michigan Department of Education suggested the changes, the Free Press reports.
According to the Free Press, the high school costs $9 million to operate, but only brings in about $6 million in revenue.
The district has already cut spending by reducing employees and pay cuts, the Free Press reports.  
SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, “Proposal calls for Inkster schools to become K-8 high school to become charter school,” Jan. 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Inkster Schools Wrongly Blames Previous Emergency Financial Manager for Its Deficit,” Aug. 31, 2012

Federal Government Proposes Rules for School Snacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing calorie, fat, sugar and sodium limits on school snacks, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that most snacks would have to have less than 200 calories, and that schools would be limited to selling water, milk, fruit or vegetable juice and low-calorie sports drinks.
The new federal guidelines will not apply to after-school concessions, or anything a student brings for personal consumption, according to The News.
The earliest the new guidelines could take effect would be during the 2014 school year, The News reports.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Rules would make school snacks healthier,” Feb. 1, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Federal meal restrictions cause drop in hot lunch purchases, Nov. 6, 2012

Thumb-Area School Employs Its First Full-Time Virtual Teacher

CROSWELL, Mich. – Allison Ruiz is Croswell-Lexington High School’s first full-time teacher who interacts with all of her students remotely, according to MLive.

The high school, located in the “thumb” area of Michigan, serves 800 students, MLive reports. About 175 students are enrolled in at least one virtual class, according to MLive.
Jeremy Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual University, told MLive that online courses are especially beneficial for students in rural areas.
“It’s an incredible equity lever that makes available curricular offerings that historically were only accessible by students in wealthy suburban schools with 3,000 kids,” he told MLive.
SOURCE: MLive, “School in Thumb takes online learning to the max,” Jan. 23, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Let Online Learning Flourish," Aug. 16, 2012