April 15, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Concord superintendent recommends seniority-based layoffs
  • Washington Post lists ‘most challenging’ Michigan high schools
  • Families trying to keep Threshold Academy open
  • New Jackson public charter school looking to hire teachers
  • Rockford may add personal finance course for all seniors

Concord Superintendent Recommends Seniority-Based Layoffs

CONCORD, Mich. – Concord Superintendent Terri Mileski and Concord School Board President Brian Philson are recommending the district make layoff decisions on the basis of seniority, according to MLive.

The district has not yet completed teacher evaluations, which is why Mileski and Philson are recommending having layoffs impact the least senior teachers, MLive reports.

According to the Mackinac Center, state laws passed in 2011 prohibit districts from laying teachers off solely on the basis of seniority. The Mackinac Center publishes Michigan Education Digest.

According to MLive, the district might have to trim close to $1 million from the budget.

SOURCE: MLive, “Concord school board at a crossroads on where, how to make budget cuts,” April 11, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Roadblocks to Reform?: A Review of Union Contracts in Michigan Schools,” March 5, 2014 

Washington Post Lists ‘Most Challenging’ Michigan High Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Post has published its list of the “most challenging” high schools in the United States, and 35 Michigan high schools made the list. 

According to The Post, the five most challenging high schools in Michigan are Utica Academy for International Studies in Sterling Heights, International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Township, Grand River Prep in Kentwood, City High in Grand Rapids and Black River in Holland.

The Post reports that it identifies challenging high schools by looking at the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests administered at a high school, relative to the number of graduates from that high school.

SOURCES: Washington Post, “America’s Most Challenging High Schools,” April 4, 2014 

Washington Post, “How Jay Mathews’ Challenge Index works and how he ranks the nation’s high schools,” April 4, 2014

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Database," July 2012

Families Trying to Keep Threshold Academy Open

ORLEANS, Mich. – With the news that Central Michigan University will not reauthorize Threshold Academy, parents are rallying to try to keep the public charter school open, according to MLive.

“We transferred our children to Threshold because they weren’t getting the help and attention needed in their other school,” Terri Atchison, a Threshold parent, told MLive.

MLive reports that 158 elementary students attend the school. 

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, told MLive that it will be difficult for Threshold to find another authorizer in time.

“Every child deserves a quality education in a quality school,” Quisenberry told MLive. “If a school isn’t delivering a quality education, it needs to be closed down – whatever type of school it is.”

SOURCE: MLive, “Families lobbying for Ionia County charter school closing after CMU pulled sponsorship,” April 11, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Two Charter Public Schools Being Closed," May 14, 2013  

New Jackson Public Charter School Looking to Hire Teachers

JACKSON, Mich. – A new public charter school in Jackson is looking to hire 10-15 teachers, according to MLive.

MLive reports that 180 students have registered to attend Jackson Preparatory & Early College, which will serve sixth- through 10th-graders this fall.

The school is currently working with Jackson Community College to lease classroom and office space, according to MLive.

Each year, the school plans to add a grade, up through “grade 13,” MLive reports. With the 13th grade, graduates will leave the school with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from Jackson Community College.

SOURCE: MLive, “Hiring of teachers set to begin at Jackson Preparatory and Early College charter school,” April 9, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Jackson Community College wavering on charter school approval, Jan. 15, 2013  

Rockford May Add Personal Finance Course for All Seniors

ROCKFORD, Mich. – Rockford is considering automatically adding a personal finance course to all high school seniors’ course schedules beginning in two years, according to MLive.

The personal finance course is already taught at the district, with six sections offered, MLive reports.

The district’s personal finance course is based on a curriculum developed by personal finance expert Dave Ramsey, according to MLive. The course covers financial responsibility, saving and investing and money management, among other topics, MLive reports.

SOURCE: MLive, “Rockford schools considers personal finance course for all seniors,” April 8, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Financial Literacy the Key to Independence,” July 11, 2013