August 20, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Error could have caused Lansing high school’s low grade
  • NHA to operate 22 Detroit charter schools this fall
  • AAPS drops 7th hour class fee
  • Former Buena Vista students learn about options
  • Contentious Common Core hearing lasts about six hours

Error Could Have Caused Lansing High School’s Low Grade

LANSING, Mich. – Officials at Lansing’s Eastern High School say that a clerical error resulted in the school’s low grade this year, according to WLNS 6.

Though the school has scored poorly on the state’s report card, this year high school students did better on the Michigan Merit Exam, WLNS 6 reports. However, 18 students’ tests were discounted due to mislabeling, Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul told WLNS 6.
If those tests had been included in the calculation of Eastern High School’s ranking, the school would likely not have scored among the bottom 5 percent of Michigan schools, she told WLNS 6.
SOURCE: WLNS 6, “Debate Over Error on Mich. Merit Exam May Have Kept School On ‘Priority List,’” Aug. 16, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “State Report Card Ranks Some Top Schools Near the Bottom," Aug. 15, 2013

NHA to Operate 22 Detroit Charter Schools This Fall

DETROIT – National Heritage Academies will operate 22 charter public schools in the Detroit area — more than twice the number operated by any other charter school competitor, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

NHA is the largest operator of Michigan charter schools, according to Crain’s, with the company running 47 schools. The next largest management company is the Leona Group, which operates 21 schools, Crain’s reports.
More than two-thirds of NHA students come from low-income backgrounds, according to Crain’s.
NHA Vice President of Partner Services and Government Relations Nick Paradiso told Crain’s that NHA is now looking to expand further outside of Michigan. Paradiso cited Michigan’s declining population, telling Crain’s that “We’re seeing a greater competition for a smaller number of students.”
Doug Ross, founder and chairman of the New Urban Learning charter academy, told Crain’s that “Our hope is, over time, between parents making good decisions and charter authorizers winnowing out the low performers, that we’ll get a smaller but better crop of schools within the city.”
SOURCE: Crain’s Detroit Business, “National Heritage to add charters,” Aug. 18, 2013  
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Parents pin hopes on charter school lottery,” March 30, 2010

AAPS Drops 7th Hour Class Fee

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ann Arbor Public Schools has dropped a proposed $100 fee for high school students taking a seventh hour, The Detroit News reports. According to The News, the AAPS Board of Education voted unanimously to eliminate the fee after the American Civil Liberties Union sued the district and claimed that the fee was unconstitutional.

However, the fee may return in the future, AAPS Board President Deb Mexicotte told The News.
“We believe we can do this, and we believe we can do this legally under the constraints of the law and the constitution. But we may have to just take a breath and get a couple of other pieces in place before we can really implement it,” she told The News.
SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Ann Arbor schools drop fee for 7th-hour class,” Aug. 15, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Ann Arbor Students and Parents Take Cuts While Teachers Get Raises,” July 15, 2013

Former Buena Vista Students Learn About Options

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Former Buena Vista students learned about transportation and other logistics at their schools, according to MLive.

The Saginaw Intermediate School District dissolved Buena Vista and sent students to the nearby Saginaw, Frankenmuth and Bridgeport-Spaulding districts, MLive reports. Saginaw ISD Superintendent Richard Syrek said that all districts were working to ensure transportation for students to their new schools.
Saginaw Superintendent Carlton Jenkins told parents that in his district “We’ll do everything we can to embrace you in your new setting.”
SOURCE: MLive, “Former Buena Vista students, parents get answers about enrollment, transportation at new schools,” Aug. 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Close Dysfunctional Schools,” June 3, 2013

Contentious Common Core Hearing Lasts About Six Hours

LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan House subcommittee hearing regarding Common Core State Standards lasted more than five hours, MLive reports.

Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, argues that the state would not have the ability to unilaterally change the standards, according to MLive. State Board of Education President John Austin said the opposite, MLive reports, saying during testimony that the state “absolutely” would be able to change the standards.
Sandra Stotsky, from the University of Arkansas, criticized Common Core during her testimony, MLive reports, and suggested that the state cut off funding for Common Core implementation.
SOURCE: MLive, “Common Core hearing lasts nearly 6 hours as educators, public speak,” Aug. 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Common Core Clarification,” June 12, 2013