Five new charter schools opened in Michigan last year and one
closed, according to the
Michigan Department of Education’s annual report on charter schools. The state’s
230 charter public schools now serve 5.7 percent of the state’s students. More
public school academy students in grades three through eight score proficient on
state assessment tests than do their counterparts in their host districts, the
Detroit Public Schools’ fall enrollment dropped to 104,975,
about 5,000 fewer students
than school officials had projected. The decline means the district now will
have to cut about $44 million from its budget, the Detroit Free Press reported.
If enrollment drops below 100,000, a provision in state law that prevents Wayne
County Community College District from opening charter public schools in the
district will no longer apply.
Earnings of $90 million
were reported by the Michigan Education Special Services Association in 2007, the third-party administrator that sells health care benefits to a majority of Michigan public schools. MESSA’s end-of-year assets were $359 million, up from $268 million a year ago, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service’s Capitol Capsule. An association spokesman said MESSA will use some of the earnings to lower rates in the coming year. MESSA is affiliated with the Michigan Education Association. A new state law requires public school districts to seek competitive bids for employee health insurance.
A New York state audit says Flint’s controversial former schools
superintendent was overpaid
more than $44,000 in salary, moving expenses and other reimbursements while
leading the Fallsburg Central School District in New York. The district hopes to
recover the money from Walter Milton Jr. and other employees the audit
identified as overpaid, according to an article in The Flint Journal. Milton was
superintendent in Fallsburg for two years before coming to Flint in fall 2005.
He left Flint in 2007.
Power House High School in Chicago will open in August as the
first in a network of schools patterned after Henry Ford Academy,
a public school academy located on the
grounds of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. The venture is funded by the Ford
Motor Co. Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Chicago school will
serve 480 students with a curriculum centered on sustainability and alternative
energy, according to a Detroit News article.
Teacher absences jump 30 to 40 percent on Fridays and Mondays,
according to Professional Education Services Group,
a Caledonia company which subcontracts
substitute teachers to school districts in 26 West Michigan counties. An article
in The Grand Rapids Press said that those are the days when teachers are most
likely to call in sick or take a personal day. About 80 percent of all teacher
absences are pre-arranged and used for training, parent-teacher conferences or
personal business, the article said.
The number of schools offering Advanced Placement courses
worldwide dropped by 13 percent in 2006-2007, following the first-ever audit of
the program. AP teachers at
high schools around the world took part in the audit, which the College Board
announced in 2005 amid concerns about whether the program’s rapid growth had
diluted its quality, according to an article in Education Week. The audit, still
ongoing, included a review of syllabi used in AP courses.
Poor math performance by his own sons prompted Nicholas Aggor, a
Detroit-area engineer, to write a series of math textbooks called the Math
Masters Series. The Riverview
Community School District in Wayne County tested the books with some students
who struggled in math and the district’s curriculum committee plans to consider
adopting it as a supplement when the full series is published, the Washington
The Madison school district’s "no-flunk" policy is under
scrutiny by the Madison District Schools Board of Education.
A long-standing policy in the district
has allowed parents to write a letter instructing administrators to move their
child up a grade level despite failing grades. Some officials believe that the
policy might be the reason the district failed to meet federal No Child Left
Behind Act standards for four years in a row.
A West Ottawa High School teacher facing dismissal for allegedly
giving struggling students the answers to biology
tests denies the allegations and hopes to continue teaching, The Grand Rapids
Press reported. The district’s school board voted 6-1 in early February to
dismiss Karl Nadolsky, a 35-year veteran of the district, for improper testing
practices. Nadolsky is expected to appeal, according to attorney Phil Iorio. The
appeal would be heard by an administrative law judge who presides over tenure
cases for the Michigan Department of Education.
The Southfield Board of Education has announced the creation of
the Southfield Public Schools University Preparatory High School, at a location
still to be selected. The
program will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with
entrance by examination. Southfield also has joined the International Academy