Contents of this issue:
- Senate considers plan to pool public school health insurance
- Survey: Parents losing confidence in Michigan public schools
- Ann Arbor teachers create video to raise money for union PAC
- Parents want businesses to support education
- Shelby schools pink slip 20 teachers
- Win an iPod; Map: Does your district competitively contract?
SENATE CONSIDERS PLAN TO POOL PUBLIC SCHOOL HEALTH INSURANCE
LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate is examining a plan that would
allow public schools and local governments to pool their health
benefits and save about 8 percent on insurance costs in the
first year, according to Booth Newspapers.
Supporters say this would save money for school districts, while
not affecting collective bargaining agreements or the level of
coverage a district offers its employees. Under the plan,
employers would be required to obtain four bids for insurance
plans, Booth Newspapers reported.
The plan is opposed by the Michigan Education Special Services
Association, a third-party administrator affiliated with the
Michigan Education Association, a school employees union. MESSA
argues the legislation will hurt its business model by allowing
the release of insurance claims information. The plan has gained
the support of the Michigan AFL-CIO and the Michigan Federation
of Teachers, however, which said having larger pools will lower
financial risk for districts and local government units, thereby
Booth Newspapers, "Senate plan would pool health insurance
coverage," April 19, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Insurance sold by MESSA a major
issue in metro Detroit, state," April 3, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "School districts report saving money
in insurance pool," Feb. 23, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Boards and Teachers
Should Address Their Own Insurance Issues," Feb. 15, 2007
SURVEY: PARENTS LOSING CONFIDENCE IN MICHIGAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
DETROIT — The percentage of parents expressing confidence in
Michigan's public schools decreased and the percentage of
parents taking advantage of alternative educational options has
increased in the last two years, according to a survey conducted
by The Detroit News, Channel 7, the Skillman Foundation and an
organization called "Your Child."
In March 2005, 90 percent of parents were "confident" in public
schools, compared to only 84 percent now. Also, 12 percent of
parents said they home-school or send their children to charter
public schools, compared to 3 percent in 2005. Enrollment in
charter schools grew from 19,053 students in 1997-98 to 91,567
in 2005-06, The News reported.
Michele Grimble decided to home-school her children three years
ago after officials at the school her son was assigned to
recommended that he be put in special education classes. She
said her children are getting more from home-schooling than they
would have from public schools, according to The News.
"I would not go back and change for anything," Grimble told The
News. "They are getting opportunities here at home that they
would never get in public school."
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said education officials are
working to improve schools by increasing flexibility, but said
parents may be concerned that the schools are not meeting the
standards for today's world.
"A slight decline in that level of confidence may well reflect
the feeling that our schools must meet the needs of today's
economy and today's students," Flanagan told The News.
The Detroit News, "Trust in public education falls,"
April 18, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "At home at Delta College: Delta
College, home-school families see advantages in joint program,"
Feb. 23, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "State charter schools see enrollment
increases," March. 7, 2006
ANN ARBOR TEACHERS CREATE VIDEO TO RAISE MONEY FOR UNION PAC
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Several Ann Arbor school district teachers,
an administrator and school board member created a homemade
movie to raise money for the Ann Arbor Education Association,
according to The Ann Arbor News.
The video, titled "PACho Libre," is a play on the film "Nacho
Libre" and puts an emphasis on the union's political action
committee. In the film, a teacher battles against a state
legislator over funding for education. Sixth grade teacher Brit
Satchwell has distributed the movie to Ann Arbor schools and is
hoping to raise $30,000 in a fundraiser for the AAEA PAC, The
News reported. Several individuals appear in the film calling
themselves "PACho Libre," including those who identify
themselves with specific public schools. Michigan Education
Association Executive Director Luigi Battaglieri and AAEA
President Karen Cross also appear in the film.
Making the villain a state legislator draws attention to the
real problem, Satchwell told The News. "It all goes back to the
source of it and tries to encourage people to become active in
fighting for education funding."
Matt Resch, a spokesman for Rep. Craig DeRoche, believes this
film is poking fun at the wrong people.
"In the last 10 to 12 years since Proposal A was passed,
education funding has gone nowhere but up," Resch told The News.
"The best way to get well-educated students is to have well-qualified teachers."
The Ann Arbor News, "Fight for education, video says,"
April 13, 2007
Ann Arbor Education Association, "PACho Libre," April 1, 2007
(WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT)
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Paycheck Protection:
Political Contributions," Feb. 28, 2007
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Budgets: A Crisis of
Management, Not Finance," Feb. 11, 2005
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Union Political
Involvement," Dec. 15, 2001
PARENTS WANT BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT EDUCATION
DETROIT — A survey conducted by The Detroit News, Channel 7, the
Skillman Foundation and an organization called "Your Child"
found that parents generally believe businesses should have a
role in education, but only one-third think they are doing an
adequate job, according to The Detroit News.
In the Detroit area, schools and businesses work together often.
ArvinMeritor, an auto supplier next to Southwestern High School,
often assists the school's robotics team, The News reported.
Tracye Frazier said she thinks businesses should be involved in
education as long as it isn't concerning curriculum.
"The businesses are not as involved as they should be, but they
are probably not invited in enough," Frazier told The News.
The Detroit News, "Parents want businesses to aid schools,"
April 20, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "Profit has a role in public
schools," Feb. 23, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Private firm helps Battle Creek
schools cut energy costs," July 19, 2006
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Six Habits of Fiscally
Responsible School Districts," Dec. 3, 2002
SHELBY SCHOOLS PINK SLIP 20 TEACHERS
SHELBY, Mich. — The Shelby Public Schools has notified 20 of its
teachers that they may be laid off, and is expecting three
teachers to lose their job, according to the Oceana Herald-Journal.
Superintendent Dana McGrew is including the money saved from
those layoffs in the district's budget for 2007-2008 and is
basing anticipated funding on numbers from the count day in
February. There are currently no administrative lay offs planned
for this school year, the Herald-Journal reported. According to
the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's most recent
privatization survey, Shelby Public Schools did not
competitively contract for non-instructional services in 2006.
Oceana Herald-Journal, "20 Shelby teachers will get 'pink
slips,' April 19, 2007
Michigan Education Report, "Map: School contracting continues to
grow," Feb. 23, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Competitive contracting popular in
Port Huron area," March 20, 2007
Michigan Education Digest, "Saginaw schools consider staff
layoffs," April 11, 2006
WIN AN IPOD; MAP: DOES YOUR DISTRICT COMPETITIVELY CONTRACT?
MIDLAND, Mich. — The spring issue of Michigan Education Report
offers a map illustrating which districts have taken advantage
of competitive contracting. It can be accessed here:
Michigan Education Report is offering readers a chance to win an
iPod when they comment on articles in its spring 2007 issue.
Comments can be made via e-mail about stories on the U.S. House
Fellows program (https://www.educationreport.org/8238
school district health benefits savings
whether private employees in public schools provide the same quality of service as public employees in public schools (https://educationreport.org/8254
), a community college cooperating with home-school students
and the role of profit in public schools (https://www.educationreport.org/8250
). Please visit https://www.educationreport.org/8332
for more information.
MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
a quarterly newspaper
with a circulation of approximately 150,000 published by the
Mackinac Center for Public Policy (https://www.mackinac.org
private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational