Contents of this issue

  • Attorney General: ‘Protect Our Jobs’ should be kept off ballot
  • Michigan Department of Education releases school grades
  • New charter public school focused on entrepreneurial education
  • Dearborn district must provide transportation to better schools
  • Is the National Education Association facing a pension crisis?

Attorney General: ‘Protect Our Jobs’ Should Be Kept Off Ballot

LANSING, Mich. – Attorney General Bill Schuette has serious concerns about a proposed amendment that would prevent state and local government, including public schools, from passing almost any law to limit public sector union collective bargaining, according to The Detroit News.

Schuette writes in his analysis that the initiative, dubbed the “Protect Our Jobs Act,” is too broad to be summarized in 100 words for voters, The News reported.

Moreover, Schuette believes that POJA would override several state laws, and could put federal funds received by the state in jeopardy.

SOURCE: The Detroit News, “Schuette urges board to keep Protect Our Jobs initiative off November ballot,” Aug. 3, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “‘Protect Our Jobs’ Would Make Union Bosses the Most Powerful People in Michigan, Aug. 6, 2012

Michigan Department of Education Releases School Grades

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Education released its revised grades of Michigan school districts, MLive reports.

According to MLive, MDE has revised the way it grades districts in order to focus on student academic achievement gaps.

Schools with the widest gaps between the highest scoring 30 percent of students and the lowest scoring 30 percent of students are now listed as “focus schools,” and will receive assistance  intended to reduce that gap, MLive reports.

SOURCE: MLive, “Michigan school report cards: Achievement gaps could see academic powerhouses targeted for improvement,” Aug. 2, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Report Card," July 19, 2012

New Charter Public School Focused on Entrepreneurial Education

LANSING, Mich. – A new charter public school opening this fall will focus on entrepreneurship and mathematics, according to a letter by its founder published in the Lansing State Journal.

The founder, Paula Cunningham, writes in the State Journal that the Learn, Live, Lead (L3) Entrepreneurial Academy will provide the same core curriculum that Michigan public schools provide, but that students will spend twice as much time on reading and math.

Cunningham also says that the school will attempt to teach financial literacy by awarding students fictitious dollars for academic success, and deducting those dollars if students fail to meet expectations.

SOURCE: Lansing State Journal, “Paula Cunningham: New School will teach kids with a focus on business” Aug. 4, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “With Clear Eyes, Sincere Hearts and Open Minds: A Second Look at Public Education in America," July 27, 2002

Dearborn District Must Provide Transportation to Better Schools

DEARBORN, Mich. – Schools with large achievement gaps are now required to set aside transportation funding to send students to schools with smaller gaps, the Dearborn Patch reported.

Five schools within the Dearborn Public School District receive federal Title I funding and have an achievement gap large enough to subject them to the requirement, according to the Dearborn Patch.

Superintendent Brian Whiston told the Dearborn Patch that the district will have to set aside $1 million for transportation costs.

SOURCE: Dearborn Patch, “Michigan Districts Must Allow Students to Move from Schools with Performance Gaps,” Aug. 3, 2012

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Time to Take School Choice in Michigan to the Next Level,” Aug. 8, 2011

Is the National Education Association Facing a Pension Crisis?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Education Intelligence Agency reports that the National Education Association may be facing pension payout obligations of nearly $700 million.

According to EIA, the NEA staff pension covers almost every permanent employee at the union’s Washington, D.C., office and some employees of state and local affiliates.

EIA reports that the recent loss of NEA members is leaving the union with less dues revenue, and may worsen the union’s ability to fund its own pension.

SOURCE: Education Intelligence Agency, “Is NEA Surfing Its Own Pension Tsunami?” July 30, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Shifting School Employees to a 401(k) Is The Most Important Thing,’” July 3, 2012

MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report, an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

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