Contents of this issue:
NEA study: Michigan teachers paid above national average
State board approves graduation requirements
Thompson to focus on one Detroit school
Holland community forums discuss schools
Detroit could get new coed Catholic school
NEA STUDY: MICHIGAN TEACHERS PAID ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michigan public school teachers earn an
average salary of nearly $57,000 a year, about $10,000 higher
than most of their counterparts across the country, according to
a study conducted by the largest teachers union in the nation.
That represents a 2.6 percent increase over the previous year,
putting Michigan fourth nationally, behind only Connecticut, the
District of Columbia and California.
Public school teachers overall saw salaries increase an average
of 2.3 percent between 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, to about $47,800.
The National Education Association released the study, titled
"Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States 2004 and
Estimates of School Statistics 2005," earlier this month.
Student enrollment and the number of teachers also increased in
Michigan, the report said. The state ranks 11th in the number of
teachers, at 96,749, an increase of 0.8 percent, and eighth in
students, at 1.73 million, a 0.7 percent increase.
Michigan ranked among the top 10 states in the country in total
expenditures on public education, moving from ninth to eighth
this year. A 3 percent increase took that amount from $18.7
billion to $19.2 billion, according to the report. Michigan
remained fourth nationally in total public education revenues
from state government, with a 4.3 percent increase from $12.4
billion to $12.9 billion.
National Education Association, "Rankings and Estimates: Rankings
of the States 2004 and Estimates of School Statistics 2005,"
Michigan Education Report, "Teacher Pay and Teacher Quality: How
Do They Relate?" April 16, 1999
Michigan Education Report, "Increase teachers' pay the right
way," Sept. 13, 2000
Michigan Education Report, "Detroit teachers not receiving
paychecks; privatization of payroll service could fix problem,
say observers," Feb. 10, 2000
STATE BOARD APPROVES GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
LANSING, Mich. — The State Board of Education unanimously adopted
tougher high school graduation requirements last week, adding two
credits to the previously presented plan, according to Booth
If the plan becomes law, high school students will need four
credits each of math and English, three credits each in science
and social science, two credits of a foreign language and one
credit each in physical education and the arts, Booth reported.
During the meeting, board members added the two-credit foreign
language requirement, also called "world languages," to State
Superintendent Mike Flanagan's 16-credit plan.
Flanagan said the changes will help prepare the next generation
for an ever-changing economy, including students from all income
levels, Booth reported.
"It's an economic development issue," Flanagan said. "But I also
think it is a social justice issue."
The issue now goes before the Michigan Legislature. If signed
into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm before March 1, the
requirements would begin with the class of 2010, according to
Booth. Those students will be freshmen next fall.
"We'll move as quickly as we can, but March 1 is unrealistic,"
Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, told The Detroit News. "We don't
want to ram this down local districts' throats without taking
steps to make sure their concerns are aired."
Kuipers, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said his
committee would hold hearings around the state to gather input.
There is no guarantee, however, that the plan will win full
support among lawmakers, Booth reported. Rep. Brian Palmer, R-Romeo, has said the plan could be too broad.
"We have to make sure we cover the basics," Palmer, chair of the
House Education Committee, told The News. "You get past that, you
The Detroit News, "State may require foreign language,"
Dec. 14, 2005
Booth Newspapers, "Board of Education endorses tougher graduation
requirements," Dec. 13, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Hope in State Graduation
Standards Misplaced," Nov. 22, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Credit Conundrum,"
Dec. 12, 2005
Michigan Education Digest, "State-mandated graduation
requirements presented," Nov. 22, 2005
THOMPSON TO FOCUS ON ONE DETROIT SCHOOL
DETROIT — Philanthropist Bob Thompson, who has twice offered $200
million to build 15 new high schools in Detroit, will now focus
on opening one school in 2007, according to The Detroit News.
Thompson's foundation, in conjunction with the Skillman
Foundation and former Detroit Piston Dave Bing, plans to open a
high school in Detroit's Northend neighborhood, close to Bing's
auto supply company, The News reported. The group, which had
applied to Grand Valley State University's charter school office
in August, will withdraw that application and focus on the single
school so as not to delay its opening.
"We didn't want to let Northend parents down by taking too long
to get a school up and running," Skillman President Carol Goss
said in a statement quoted by The News. "Both foundations decided
that we should focus our energies on working with Dave Bing to
make the Northend school a reality."
Although legislation that passed in 2003 would have allowed
Thompson to open up to 15 charter schools in Detroit, the new
school will not be a charter school, The News reported. Goss said
it could either be private or a contract school. A contract
school is part of the existing public school system, but is given
more latitude in how it is run.
Goss's statement said the option of opening more schools will be
evaluated after this one opens. Detroit Federation of Teachers
President Janna Garrison said her union is happy with the
decision and would like to see the new school become part of
Detroit Public Schools, according to The News. The DFT opposed
Thompson's efforts to build the schools, threatening a lawsuit to
prevent Grand Valley from authorizing them.
The Detroit News, "Plan cuts Detroit charters to 1 school,"
Dec. 11, 2005
Michigan Education Digest, "Philanthropist withdraws $200 million
charter offer," Oct. 7, 2003
Michigan Education Digest, "Plans for more charter schools may
draw union lawsuit in Detroit," July 21, 2004
Michigan Education Report, "Bob Thompson renews $200 million
offer," Dec. 15, 2005
HOLLAND COMMUNITY FORUMS DISCUSS SCHOOLS
HOLLAND, Mich. — Holland Public Schools held six community forums
in recent weeks to give residents a chance to discuss the
district's future, according to The Holland Sentinel. The
meetings came a month after the Holland school board declared an
impasse in contract negotiations with teachers and chose a less
expensive health care plan the union did not favor.
A community advisory committee reviewed the ideas gathered at the
forums, but won't make any recommendations until January, The
"We need to break the stigma at Holland Public Schools,"
committee member Marty Ruiter said. "Change the perception —
we've been stigmatized."
The committee includes parents, teachers, staff and business
people, The Sentinel reported. Its task is to help the school
board develop short- and long-term recommendations. The district
is trying to develop its first strategic plan in more than a
"There's a lot of passion and commitment," Superintendent Frank
Garcia said. "I've seen a lot of people who want Holland Public
Schools to be successful."
The Holland Sentinel, "School committee pleased with input from
forums," Dec. 8, 2005
The Holland Sentinel, "Panel has many ideas on improving
district," Dec. 9, 2005
Michigan Education Digest, "Holland board picks cost-saving
insurance," Nov. 15, 2005
Michigan Education Digest, "Holland Talks Fail to Progress," Nov.
Michigan Education Digest, "Holland Union, District Still Split,"
Nov. 1, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Growing number of districts seek
solutions to costly health insurance," Dec. 15, 2005
DETROIT COULD GET NEW COED CATHOLIC SCHOOL
DETROIT — A coed Catholic high school where students help pay for
their own education could open in Detroit, according to The
The Skillman Foundation has given $50,000 to a study group, with
the Archdiocese of Detroit contributing another $5,000, to
examine the possibility of opening a new school based on the
Cristo Rey model, The News reported. Sister Canice Johnson,
coordinator of the feasibility study, said she expects the school
to open in 2007.
"We do expect it to happen," Johnson told The News. "Most people
are very excited. We've talked with a lot of middle school
children. One of the first things they say is they want it to be
Detroit was left without a coed Catholic school after the
archdiocese closed 18 schools, The News reported. Two all-boys
high schools remain.
The Cristo Rey Network helps students find jobs, which in turn
helps them pay up to 70 percent of their tuition. The model is
used in 11 urban areas nationwide.
"It makes private, Catholic, college prep schools accessible to
young people who wouldn't have a chance at it," Jeff Thielman,
vice president of Cristo Rey, told The News.
The Detroit News, "Coed Catholic school sought," Dec. 14, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Detroit Catholic high school 'sees
God in the challenges,'" Aug. 16, 2005
Michigan Education Report, "Catholic schools and the common
good," Aug. 16, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan Catholic School
Remains Union-Free," Aug. 22, 2005
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.