Contents of this issue:
Detroit school district reaches short-term agreement
Lakeview Public Schools drops MESSA
New MEAP procedure will begin this fall
State report cards for schools released
National study highlights funding disparity for charter schools
Mackinac Center to award four $1,000 scholarships
DETROIT SCHOOL DISTRICT REACHES SHORT-TERM AGREEMENT
Detroit — The Detroit Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Public
Schools came to a one-year contract agreement last Wednesday in what
one Detroit Free Press article said would only "delay the pain" of
future cuts as the district seeks to close a $200 million budget
The contract, which calls for teachers to loan the school district five
days salary and five days sick leave, increases co-pays for
prescriptions, and freezes scheduled pay raises, was unofficially
approved at Cobo Center by DFT members last week, according to The
Detroit News. The agreement means an on-time start of the school year.
The Free Press reported that William F. Coleman III, interim chief
executive officer of DPS, characterized the agreement as "an effort to
ensure that school would start as planned." He also suggested the
agreement would decrease "the chances that parents would enroll their
children in charter schools rather than wait out a strike." The News
reported that DPS is facing the possibility of losing 10,000 students
this school year, but also that parents of DPS students are happy that
school will start on time.
The DPS CEO also told The News that the new contract would satisfy a
state-mandated deficit reduction plan because it would lead to $63
million in savings for the district.
David Plank, co-director of the Education Policy Center at Michigan
State University said of the one-year contract, "It is simply a
strategy for postponing the day of reckoning."
The union will officially ratify a new contract through a vote by mail
on Sept. 6.
Detroit Free Press, "Deal with teachers in Detroit defers pain,"
Aug. 25, 2005
The Detroit News, "Short-term fixes avert strike," Aug. 25, 2005,
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Playing Monopoly with Detroit's
Kids," July 15, 2004
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Government Encouragement,"
Feb. 23, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "When will conventional public
schools be as accountable as charters?" July 7, 2004
LAKEVIEW PUBLIC SCHOOLS DROPS MESSA
Macomb County, Mich. — A new contract for teachers and para-professionals at Lakeview Public Schools in Macomb County replaced
insurance offered by the Michigan Education Special Services
Association with premium Blue Cross/Blue Shield preferred provider
organization coverage, The Macomb Daily reported. MESSA was established
by the Michigan Education Association, the largest teachers union in
According to The Macomb Daily, contract negotiations between the
district and teachers stalled some months ago. In a press release
issued on Aug. 11, Superintendent Sandra Feeley-Myrand wrote that,
"Over the past year, the sticking point in negotiations both at
Lakeview and around the state has been MESSA insurance. With the
teachers' union ... demanding that MESSA be continued, and boards seeking
other more competitively priced insurance products, conflicts have been
The district projects that changing from MESSA-administered health
insurance could save the schools $500,000. According to The Daily, the
district was faced with imposing a contract after union officials
refused to accept the change in insurance administrators. The
district's labor attorney, Craig Lange, told the newspaper, "We are not
going to be held hostage by MESSA," and school board Trustee Michael
Werner added, "Something has to happen for us to stay in business for
the next couple of years."
In her press release, Superintendent Feeley-Myrand said, "In this time
of tight budgets, when we can provide raises and the absolute best PPO
insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield at no cost to the employees, the
Board is demonstrating that they value the teachers and staff. ... This
plan is better than what most people around the country have today."
The Macomb Daily, "Lakeview imposes teacher contract," Aug. 11, 2005,
Lakeview Public Schools, "Lakeview School Board takes action on
contracts," Aug. 11, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Education Special Services
Association: The MEA's Money Machine," Nov. 1, 1993
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Why school districts can't save on
health care," Jan. 6, 2004
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "4M: The real structural problem,"
Feb. 16, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "MESSA: Keeping school districts from saving
money on health care," Summer 2004
NEW MEAP PROCEDURE WILL BEGIN THIS FALL
Lansing, Mich. — The start of this school year marks the beginning of
changes to the administration of the Michigan Education Assessment
Program. The changes were approved by the state's Board of Education in
June 2004 to speed the availability of results, according to Booth
The article highlighted four major modifications to the MEAP: middle
and elementary MEAP tests will be administered in the fall so scores
can be reported by January; students in grades three through eight will
be tested every year in math and English to comply with the No Child
Left Behind Act; social studies MEAP tests will be moved from fifth and
eighth grade to sixth and ninth grade; and all student answers will be
counted and released with general scores so that teachers will be able
to tell how individual students performed on particular questions.
Not everyone is satisfied with the changes. Ray Telman, executive
director of Middle Cities Education Association, told the newspaper
that his group is wary of the change because, "Studies have shown that
kids in lower socio-economic families tend to lose more of their
knowledge over the summer, and need time to recoup."
Similarly, Teri Moblo of the National Education Association-funded
Great Lakes Center on Education Research and Practice, told Booth
Newspapers she questions the MEAP on more general grounds: "They can do
anything they want to with that MEAP test — they can move it, they can
change grades, but as long as high-stakes tests are being used as the
sole indicator of student and school success, we're never going to get
an accurate picture of how students are achieving."
MEAP's manager for the state Department of Education, Mike Radke,
believes the changes will help schools to have information identifying
which concepts students are struggling with earlier, rather than at the
end, of the school year. "The bottom line is we're trying to help
teachers teach and students learn. The assessment is kind of like
taking the pulse once a year to see how well we're doing," Radke told
Booth Newspapers, "MEAP changes raise worries," Aug. 22, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Which educational achievement test is best
for Michigan?" Fall 2002
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How does the MEAP measure up?"
Dec. 18, 2001
Michigan Education Report, "Markets, not MEAP, best way to measure
school quality," Spring 2000
STATE REPORT CARDS FOR SCHOOLS RELEASED
Lansing, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Education issued a
statement explaining that EducationYES! and Adequate Yearly Progress
report cards have been released to the state's elementary, middle and
According to a statement by the Department of Education, EducationYES!
is a "state accreditation system based not only upon student
achievement on the Michigan Education Assessment Program tests, but
also other school performance indicators, including: curriculum,
teacher quality and professional development, school facilities, and
family involvement." AYP is a standard of student achievement mandated
by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In compliance with federal
law, the reports are released in mid-August.
The report cards released "show that while more Michigan schools meet
the requirements of the federal law, Michigan's own system of
evaluating academic progress has identified more schools in need of
improvement," according to the Department of Education.
Data reveal that 88 percent of 3,670 Michigan public schools made AYP
for school year 2005, as did 95 percent of Michigan public school
districts. However, the number of schools on EducationYES! "D-alert,"
the lowest letter grade given by the program, increased from 70 in 2004
to 126 in 2005.
Changes in the MEAP test mean that next year's EducationYES! and AYP
assessments could provide a more accurate indication of Michigan public
school performance than this year's because 910,000 students will be
tested in 2005, up from 520,000 in 2004. State Superintendent Michael
Flanagan said, "This year we will be testing hundreds of thousands of
more children, in more grades, with entirely new tests. And we expect
that may have an impact on each school's and each district's AYP
Michigan Department of Education, "State releases school report cards,"
Aug. 19, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "No Child Left Behind law demands 'adequate
yearly progress' and offers school choice options for parents,"
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "No Cop-out left behind,"
Mar. 23, 2005
NATIONAL STUDY HIGHLIGHTS FUNDING DISPARITY FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS
Lansing, Mich. — Last week, Michigan Information and Research Service
reported on a press release by the Michigan Association of Public
School Academies that heralded the release of a study by the Thomas B.
Fordham Institute on the disparity in funding between charter schools
and conventional public schools. The study indicates that charter
schools in Michigan receive an average of $1,169 less per pupil than
conventional public schools do, while charter schools nationwide
receive $1,800 less per student than conventional public schools.
Analyses by the Michigan Department of Education in 2005 and the state
Chamber of Commerce in 2003 also demonstrated such a funding disparity.
MIRS reported that, despite receiving less funding, Michigan charter
schools "outpaced state average gains in 7 of 10 grades/subjects on the
2005 MEAPs, including a gain in two instances where the state lost
ground." The Detroit News reported last fall that charter high school
scores were lower than statewide averages, though they were better than
average in Michigan's urban districts.
Nonetheless, charter schools have also shown faster improvement rates
on state report cards than conventional public schools in the state,
Dan Quisenberry, president of Michigan Association of Public School
Academies told MIRS. Quisenberry said that, "Michigan charter public
schools continue to prove themselves as models of fiscal responsibility
and student achievement. ... Parents flock to charters because they
nurture and challenge every child while offering programs families have
long desired from (conventional) public schools, including high levels
of individualized learning."
MIRS Capitol Capsule, "MAPSA: Study affirms charter schools funding
gap," Aug. 23, 2005
The Detroit News, "Progress outpaces public high schools: Charters gain
in MEAP scores," Oct. 22, 2004
The Education Gadfly, "Making bricks without straw," Aug. 25, 2005
Thomas B. Fordham Institute, "Charter School Funding: Inequity's Next
Frontier," August 2005
The Wall Street Journal, "Starving Charters," Aug. 29, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Report: Charter progress outpaces public
high schools," Spring 2005
MACKINAC CENTER TO AWARD FOUR $1,000 SCHOLARSHIPS
High School Teachers: Help one of your students win a $1,000 College
Scholarship!* Join the Mackinac Center for Public Policy for our annual
High School Debate Workshops. For further details please visit
, or call (989) 631-0900.
*A $1,000 college scholarship will be awarded to one student from each
Debate Workshop. An essay topic will be released the day of the
workshop. Essays will be judged by a panel, and authors of the winning
essays will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Students must attend the
workshop to apply.
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
a quarterly newspaper
with a circulation of 140,000 published by the Mackinac Center
for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org
nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.