Oct. 7, 2014

Contents of this issue:

  • Michigan #1 for median teacher salary
  • State charter schools rated highly in national report
  • Florida education policies lead to better outcomes
  • Teachers in Schauer ad repeating inaccurate claims
  • Flint district finds $1.3 million, manages to make payroll

Michigan #1 For Median Teacher Salary

LANSING, Mich. – Median Michigan teacher salaries are the highest in the country when cost of living is considered, according to MLive.

MLive reports the salary data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is as of 2013. On average, Michigan teachers earn $65,633 per year, according to MLive.
The Michigan Education Association, which also compiles teacher salary information, contends that Michigan is the 11th highest paying state, not first, MLive reports.
Both rankings place Michigan well above average, and is likely due to state-level differences in cost of living, according to MLive.

SOURCE: MLive, “Michigan ranked 15th best for teachers, according to report,” Sept. 30, 2014
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Gap Between Teacher Salaries and Private Sector Workers Increasing,” Sept. 9, 2014 

State Charter Schools Rated Highly in National Report

LANSING, Mich. – In a national report comparing charter public school performance in 26 states, Michigan was ranked third, according to Michigan Information & Research Service News (subscription required).

Michigan charter school students, on average, learned more material than conventional students, according to MIRS News. MIRS News reports that charter school students learned 43 more days’ worth of material in reading and 43 more days’ worth of material in math.
Michigan Association of Public School Academies President Dan Quisenberry told MIRS News that the study stands in contrast to a recent Detroit Free Press series that was critical of Michigan charter schools.
“I think this [report] gives clear definition of what that accountability ought to be – academic performance and outcomes,” Quisenberry told MIRS News.

SOURCE: Michigan Information & Research Service News, “Charter Schools Contend National Report Shows Strength in Sector” Oct. 1, 2014 

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Challenging the Rhetoric in the War on Charter Schools – Part II,” Oct. 4, 2014 

Florida Education Policies Lead to Better Outcomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida has tried a number of education reforms in recent years, Bridge Magazine reports, and has seen significant academic success.

According to Bridge, Florida has surpassed Michigan: Bridge cites the fact that in 2013, low-income Hispanic Florida fourth-graders posted higher average reading scores than Michigan students.
Bridge reports that Florida put a third grade reading requirement into place in the 2002-2003 school year. According to Bridge, students who fail to demonstrate reading proficiency are  held back.
“People were running around like their hair was on fire,” Florida State Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. told Bridge. “But when you raise the bar, you’d be surprised what teachers and students can do,” he said to Bridge.
Florida also has created a pool of money to provide teachers with bonuses if they improve student performance, according to Bridge. The state also has more than 500 charter public schools, Bridge reports. Charter schools can be operated by many different entities, including cities, community colleges and private corporations, according to Bridge.

SOURCE: Bridge Magazine, "Smartest Kids: in Florida, Early Reading and Frequent Testing Bring Results and Pushback," Sept. 30, 2014

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How to Fix Flint Schools,” Oct. 8, 2010 

Teachers in Schauer Ad Repeating Inaccurate Claims

LANSING, Mich. – A recent political advertisement for Democratic gubernatorial  candidate Mark Schauer claiming that school spending has been cut by $1 billion contained numerous inaccuracies, according to Michigan Capitol Confidential. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy publishes both Michigan Education Digest and Capitol Confidential.

The $1 billion education spending cut itself is incorrect, according to Capitol Confidential. The Detroit Free Press recently examined this claim and found it to be inaccurate, Capitol Confidential reports.
Teachers from four separate districts appeared in the advertisement and stated that their districts have received less money, Capitol Confidential reports. However, all four districts have actually received more money from state taxpayers, according to Capitol Confidential.
Capitol Confidential reports that Novi teacher Chandra Madafferi said in the advertisement that her district has not received increased school funding. In fact, according to Capitol Confidential, Novi received $1,000 more per pupil in 2013-14 than it did in 2010-11.

SOURCE: Michigan Capitol Confidential, All Four Teachers in New Schauer Ad Claiming School Cuts are in Districts Receiving More Money,” Oct. 2, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “The $2 Billion Education Funding Myth, Jan. 17, 2014 

Flint District Finds $1.3 Million, Manages to Make Payroll

FLINT, Mich. – The Flint School District just barely managed to pay its employees, according to MLive.

MLive reports that state officials noticed that the district had not received $1.3 million in grant funding, and provided that money to the district on Sept. 26, enabling the district to pay its staff members.
According to MLive, Flint is overspending by $20.4 million, and is struggling to manage costs. 

SOURCE: MLive, “Last-minute $1.3M in after-school grant funds help Flint schools make payroll,” Oct. 3, 2014 
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Flint school board makes layoffs,” Aug. 12, 2013