July 29, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Charter schools boost student achievement with less money
  • Union files grievance against Mackinaw district
  • Freedom Christian schools close
  • Michigan Tech receives $5M to help STEM in K-12
  • MDE to hold hearing on MEAP update
  • Event: Milton Friedman Day at West Michigan Aviation Academy

Charter Schools Boost Student Achievement With Less Money

LANSING, Mich. – Charter public schools in Michigan are able to increase student academic performance with less money, The Detroit News reports.

A study from the University of Arkansas found that for every $1,000 spent on education, Michigan charter public school students posted NAEP mathematics test scores 18 points higher than conventional schools, according to The News.
The reading gain for charter public schools was similar, reports The News, 17 NAEP points higher than conventional public schools.
Michigan’s results mirror the national trend, The News reports.
“Across all states, we found charter schools to be more cost effective than their traditional public school counterparts for one of two reasons: they either generate higher student achievement at a lower cost or they generate equal to slightly lower student achievement at much lower cost,” Patrick Wolf, professor at the department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas told The News.

SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Charter schools more cost-effective in Michigan, 27 other states, study says,” July 22, 2014

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Contrary to Report, Charter Schools Get Less Money Per Pupil Than Conventional Schools,” Dec. 6, 2013

Union Files Grievance Against Mackinaw City District

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. – The Michigan Education Association has filed a grievance against the Mackinaw City school district, according to the Cheboygan News.

The Cheboygan News reports that MEA UniServ Director Robert Kwiatkowski says that his job has changed significantly in the wake of right-to-work, and that collective bargaining reform laws passed in 2011 were at issue in the Mackinaw district.
At issue is the district’s procedure for laying off teachers, according to the Cheboygan News. Kwiatkowski told the Cheboygan News that the union has been seeking more information regarding the district’s layoff policies, and does not feel it has been provided with more information.

SOURCE: Cheboygan News, “Union rep. files complaints against Mackinaw schools,” July 26, 2014

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

Freedom Christian Schools Close

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. – Freedom Christian Schools, a nonpublic school, is closing due to a lack of funding, according to MLive.

The school is about $500,000 short of what it needs to operate, MLive reports. The school is closing due to declining enrollment, which has dropped by almost half during the past decade, according to MLive.
Students are trying to save the school by appealing for donations, MLive reports. “Freedom means everything to me,” Freedom Christian student Caleb Seeley told MLive. “It’s just a family of love.”

SOURCE: MLIVE, “Freedom Christian school closing has parents ‘scrambling,’” July 23, 2014
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Private schools cope with weak economy," May 26, 2010

Michigan Tech Receives $5M to Help STEM in middle schools

HOUGHTON, Mich. – Michigan Tech has received a grant for $5 million to improve STEM education in middle schools, according to Michigan Tech News.

The grant was provided by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Michigan Tech News reports.
The university will develop a new curriculum for middle school science courses that will incorporate problem-based learning, according to Michigan Tech News.
The new program will be test-run in the Midland, Grand Rapids, Eaton Rapids, Calumet and Houghton school districts, Michigan Tech News reports.

SOURCE: Michigan Tech News, “Michigan Tech Receives $5 Million from Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to Reform Middle-School Science Education”
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “In Their Own Words: Calumet High School, July 2, 2013

MDE to Hold Hearing on new student tests

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Education will hold a hearing on how to better measure student learning, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that the new student assessment will be implemented in spring 2016.
The new assessment under development must measure student academic growth, The News reports. Michigan’s MEAP test does not measure growth, according to The News, and simply measures proficiency.

SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press, “Michigan Department of Education plans hearing July 30 on future statewide test,” July 22, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Instead of Focusing on Gaps, Focus on Growth,” Aug. 8, 2012

Event: Milton Friedman Day at West Michigan Aviation Academy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – On July 31, Americans For Prosperity and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies are holding an event to celebrate the 102ndbirthday of renowned economist Milton Friedman and his passion for school choice.

The Friedman Legacy Day will be celebrated in Grand Rapids, between 6-8 p.m. at the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The location is:
West Michigan Aviation Academy
5363 44th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Speakers at the event include Kyle Olson, of Education Action Group, Dan Quisenberry, of Michigan Association of Public School Academies and Audrey Spalding, of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Attendees can RSVP for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/ e/afpf-mi-milton-friedman-legacy-day-tickets-11999541953