Contents of this issue:

  • Bills would expand dual enrollment, include private students
  • Harrison buys new testing tool
  • Health care law speeds up bargaining in Mount Pleasant
  • Michigan again in Race to the Top competition
  • Scott recall on again

Bills Would Expand Dual Enrollment, Include Private Students

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation that would extend dual enrollment opportunities to home-school and private school students and expand dual enrollment for public school students passed the Senate Education Committee recently, according to a report by the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc.

The package of bills would set up a way for the state Treasury Department to reimburse community colleges for dual enrolling home-schooled and private high school students, MIRS reported. Public school students already are allowed to dual enroll in community colleges, but the bills would increase the number of courses allowed and open the program to younger students, MIRS reported.

The students would be required to perform well on the Michigan Merit Exam before enrolling for college coursework, according to MIRS.

Sen. Coleman Young, D-Detroit, said any final legislation should protect public school funding, since dual enrollment for private and home-schooled students “might add up to a cost that could be difficult in the years ahead,” MIRS reported. Young did acknowledge that private and home-school parents are taxpayers as well, MIRS reported.

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, said Michigan should not limit access to college education for any students, MIRS reported.


Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., Capitol Capsule, “Community College Transfer Bills Move To Floor,” Oct. 19, 2011 (Subscription required)

MichiganVotes, “2011 Senate Bill 622: Repeal restrictions on non-public school students taking college courses


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Should Education Money Only be for K-12?” April 29, 2011

Harrison Buys New Testing Tool

HARRISION, Mich. — Harrison Community Schools will buy a testing program from the Northwest Evaluation Association to measure student academic growth as it looks to comply with new state laws on teacher evaluations, according to The Clare County Review.

The district will spend $16,000 to $20,000 on the testing tool, The Review reported. The program is a computer-based assessment that can measure student progress during the academic year and between each grade in math, reading, English and science, according to The Review.

"We’re all looking for a tool that measures growth in a fair and unbiased way,” Hillside Elementary Principal Barb Elliott told board trustees recently, The Review reported.

The state now requires that teacher evaluations be based in part on measurable student growth, according to The Review.


The Clare County Review, "Harrison BOE authorizes purchase of 20K testing tool"


Michigan Education Report, "Into and beyond the MEAP," Nov. 25, 2008

Health Care Law Speeds Up Bargaining in Mount Pleasant

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — A new, one-year contract between unionized maintenance workers and the Mount Pleasant Board of Education does not include pay raises, The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun reported.

The group of five employees is represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to the Sun. The group had been working without a contract, but negotiations moved forward quickly after a new state law was passed that would have increased employee contributions to their health care costs, a school official said, according to The Sun.

"We had a contract in about three hours," Peter Trezise, assistant superintendent for human resources, told the school board recently, a school official said, according to The Sun.

Mount Pleasant hired a private contractor to provide custodial services in 2010, but retained a small number of individuals for such work as building repair, major maintenance and snow removal, according to The Sun. An unfair labor practice charge related to that privatization is still before the Michigan Court of Appeals, Trezise said, according to The Sun.


The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, “Mt. Pleasant schools, maintenance staff agree to contract,” Oct. 20, 2011


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan $1 Billion Closer to ‘Benefits in Balance,’” Oct. 3, 2011

Michigan Again in Race to the Top Competition

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan is once again vying for a share of Race to the Top federal grant money, this time focusing on early childhood education, according to a report at MLive.com.

About $500 million will be distributed in this third phase of the federal program, with awards based on the number of low-income children in each state that applies, MLive reported. Michigan is one of 35 applicants to date.

The Michigan Department of Education application says that half of all Michigan children under the age of 5 live in families with incomes of 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less, according to MLive.

It also says that Michigan would use the grant money to boost state-funded preschools, Head Start and other programs through a network created by the education department, the Community Health and Human Services department and the Early Childhood Investment Corp.

Michigan failed to win Race to the Top funding in its first two attempts, MLive reported.


MLive.com, “Third time's the charm? Michigan tries again for Race to the Top funds after two failed bids,” Oct. 21, 2011

Michigan Department of Education, “Michigan Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Great Early Education Gamble,” May 14, 2010

Scott Recall Still Controversial 

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for a recall effort against state Rep. Paul Scott, who then asked for the election to be moved to February 2012 instead of putting it on the Nov. 8 ballot, according to media reports.

The high court overturned an appeals court injunction that would have halted the recall vote, The Detroit News reported. On Friday, Scott filed an appeal with the Supreme Court asking for the delay on the grounds that voters could be confused by absentee ballots that already were distributed, according to The Flint Journal.

Scott, R-Grand Blanc, is chairman of the House Education Committee. Recall organizers say they want him to be removed from office because of his support for K-12 school funding reductions and teacher tenure reform and because he voted in favor of a new system of taxing pensions, according to The Grand Rapids Press. The Michigan Education Association has financed the recall with a $25,000 donation, The Press reported.

A poll conducted earlier this month showed Rep. Scott winning 50.3 to 42.8 percent, Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, told The Press. Ballenger commissioned the poll, which had a 6 percent margin of error.


The Detroit News, “Court: State Rep. Scott recall vote will go on,” Oct. 21, 2011

The Grand Rapids Press, “Rep Paul Scott, recall organizers gear up for home stretch as Supreme Court puts recall back on Nov. 8 ballot,” Oct. 21, 2011

The Flint Journal, “Rep. Paul Scott recall organizers oppose moving election to February,” Oct. 24, 2011


Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Recall Battlefield Report: Michigan Chamber Taking on ‘Greedy Teachers Union,’” Sept. 16, 2011

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at med@educationreport.org

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