Contents of this issue:

  • State refuses request for names of ineffective principals
  • DPS parents not satisfied with school choices
  • ‘Falsified’ student count records at WayPoint Academy
  • Union-run charter school falters
  • Highland Park continues transition to charter district

State Refuses Request for Names of Ineffective Principals

LANSING, Mich. – State officials won’t release records showing which principals are rated highly effective or poorly by their school districts, according to Heritage Media.

Though the state recently released district-level tallies of school principals and how they were rated, officials denied a Freedom of Information Act request for the names of principals and how they were rated, according to Heritage Media.

Heritage Media reports that the state’s denial says that the principal ratings are “of a personal nature if public disclosure of the information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.”

Heritage Media reporter Danny Shaw appealed the denial, writing that “…it cannot possibly be the case that the identity of school administrators (who are employed at taxpayer expense) is subject to the privacy exemption.”

SOURCE: Heritage Media, “Which school principals are ineffective? State says you don’t need to know,” Oct. 11, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Schools Create Their Own FOIA Interpretation,” Oct. 11, 2012

DPS Parents Not Satisfied With School Choices

DETROIT – Eighty percent of Detroit parents don’t think that Detroit Public Schools provides students with the best education, according a poll commissioned by The Detroit News and funded by the Thompson Foundation.

According to The News, 64 percent of the 800 surveyed parents said they were unsatisfied with the education options available to them in Detroit. Nearly half cited transportation as the biggest obstacle to sending their child to another school, The News reported.

Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts told The News that “This is exactly why we are not dragging our feet with reform and have discarded the ‘one size fits all’ approach to educating the nearly 50,000 students of Detroit Public Schools by moving quickly to change our educational platform at its core.”

SOURCE: The Detroit News, "Detroit parents embrace school choice, poll says," Oct. 11, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Highland Park Schools the Best Alternative?" July 20, 2012

‘Falsified’ Student Count Records at WayPoint Academy

MUSKEGON, Mich. – The former director of WayPoint Academy has been charged with falsifying school records, according to MLive.

State officials requested that the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District investigate Barbara Stellard, MLive reports, after allegations were made that she continued to count students who had left the school.

According to MLive, inflated student counts would have resulted in the school getting more state money than it should have.

Stellard’s attorney told Mlive that there were “falsified” records, but that they were done by someone else.

SOURCE: MLive, “School official: False student counts at WayPoint Academy ‘kind of a practice’," Oct. 12, 2012 
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Sorry Kids – Say Goodbye to County Day Goodies," Sept. 3, 2012

Union-run Charter School Falters

NEW YORK – A New York City public charter school run by the United Federation of Teachers is doing very poorly, according to GothamSchools.

GothamSchools reports that UFT public charter school students are behind on state tests, that the school has high principal turnover, and that the school compares poorly to other New York City schools.

The public charter is up for review by the State University of New York, and could face closure, according to GothamSchools.

The closure of the UFT public charter school would be an embarrassment for American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who, according to GothamSchools, opened the school in 2005 when she was UFT president to “dispel the misguided and simplistic notion that the union contract is an impediment to success.”

SOURCE: Gotham Schools, “Opened to prove a point, UFT’s charter school could be closed," Oct. 9, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “School District’s Costly Decisions Protect Union Interests," Oct. 13, 2012

Highland Park Continues Transition to Charter District

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – The Highland Park transition to a charter public district is a work in progress, reports CNN.

CNN reports that the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the district for failing to educate its students continues forward, and is a reminder to parents and administrators that the district needs to improve.

Highland Park’s new superintendent is Pamela Williams, who was born in Highland Park, CNN reports. Many of the district’s teachers this year are new, according to CNN.

Karen Johnson, Highland Park graduate and mother of a 16-year-old attending the district, told CNN she thinks that the district has changed. Johnson told CNN that the buildings look better, and that students in detention are working on schoolwork.

SOURCE: CNN, “Can lawsuit, charter takeover save Highland Park, Michigan, schools?” Oct. 9, 2012
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Highland Park Reform May Have to Begin With Finances," July 13, 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.

Contact Managing Editor Michael Van Beek at mailto:med@educationreport.org

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