Contents of this issue:

  • Roscommon teachers leave Michigan Education Association
  • DPS teachers awarded bonuses
  • Detroit high school students to try virtual learning
  • Chicago strike sparks discussion about teacher evaluations
  • College stats in for Kalamazoo Promise’s first class

Roscommon Teachers Leave Michigan Education Association 

ROSCOMMON, Mich. – Teachers at Roscommon Area Public Schools voted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to leave the Michigan Education Association, according to TV9&10 News.

The teachers have reorganized into a local union in order to save money on dues, the station reported. The new union, the Roscommon Teacher’s Association, told TV9&10 that the MEA wastes money on union executive salaries.

RTA Interim President James Perialas said that “We’re exercising our right to say, we’re your customer and we’re not buying your product anymore.”

SOURCE: TV9&10 News, “RAPS Teachers Leave State Union,” Sept. 11, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “’They Are A Bureaucratic Machine That Got Out of Control,’” Sept. 12, 2012

DPS Teachers Awarded Bonuses 

DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools teachers will receive a bonus as part of a court settlement with Emergency Manager Roy Roberts, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that the bonus will cost DPS about $3 million. The settlement stems from a suit filed by the Detroit Federation of Teachers over Roberts’ actions under the state’s emergency manager law.

Teachers could stand to gain more, The News reports, if DPS ends the year with a surplus. According to The News, eligible employees will receive a 1 percent bonus for each $5 million in surplus. Projections indicate teachers may receive an additional 2 percent bonus for the 2011-12 school year, The News reports.

SOURCE: Detroit News, "DPS to award $3M in bonuses," Sept. 17, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “DPS and teachers union reach teacher bonus agreement," Sept. 4, 2012

Detroit High School Students to Try Virtual Learning 

DETROIT – Detroit-area students at high schools run by the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan will have the opportunity to take virtual courses, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The Free Press reports that 600 students will be able to take up to four virtual courses each at Michigan Virtual School.

Students will alternate every other day between taking courses at their high school and taking courses online, according to the Free Press.  

SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, "Some Detroit high schoolers can add Michigan Virtual University online classes," Sept. 12, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools," Jan. 27, 2011

Chicago Strike Sparks Discussion About Teacher Evaluations 

LANSING, Mich. – The ongoing Chicago Teachers Union strike, in part due to controversy about how teachers are evaluated, is elevating the question of how to evaluate a teacher and how to use that information, MLive reports.

Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, told MLive that teacher evaluations need to be retooled in order to provide effective feedback, and should be used to help direct staffing decisions.

MLive reports that research has shown that students taught by highly rated teachers learn more, while students taught by poorly ranked teachers learn less.

SOURCE: MLive, “5 points about teacher evaluations in Michigan, Chicago and beyond," Sept. 12, 2012
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, "How the Chicago Teacher Union Strike Affects Michigan," Sept. 12, 2012

College Stats in for Kalamazoo Promise’s First Class

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Kalamazoo Promise officials have released the latest data showing how the Kalamazoo Public Schools’ class of 2006 is doing, according to MLive.

The Kalamazoo Promise provides funding for KPS graduates who attend public in-state universities, reports MLive.

According to MLive, the 2006 KPS graduates who were eligible for Promise funding have a higher college graduation rate than the nationwide average.

Data posted by MLive show that 92 percent of Promise-eligible students attended college, compared to the national average of 63 percent. MLive also reports that 36 percent of Promise-eligible students have received a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to the nationwide average of 23 percent.

SOURCE: MLive, “Kalamazoo Promise’s fist class outperforms national numbers on college completion,” Sept. 14, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Kalamazoo Promise vs. School Choice," June 17, 2010

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.

Contact Managing Editor Michael Van Beek at

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