Contents of this issue:

  • Complaint filed against Ferris State for turning down contract
  • Many talented low-income students do not attend top colleges
  • Legislators working to ease graduation requirements
  • Education Achievement Authority bill passes House committee
  • Flint school district to close four schools 

Complaint Filed Against Ferris State for Turning Down Contract

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – The Ferris State Faculty Association has filed a grievance in response to the board of trustees turning down the association’s proposed five-year contract and has sued the board in circuit court, MLive reports.

According to MLive, the proposed contract, which could have been approved before the state’s right-to-work law takes effect, included a provision that required faculty members to pay union dues.
Trustee President David Eisler said that there was too great a risk of losing state funding if the university approved a contract that circumvented the right-to-work law, MLive reports.
A hearing on the suit against the board of trustees will be held on March 20, according to MLive.
SOURCE: MLive, “Ferris State faculty file complaint after trustees turned down contract amid right-to-work concerns,” March 11, 2013
FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Universities Dodging Right-to-Work Law Under Scrutiny," March 7, 2013

Many Talented Low-Income Students Do Not Attend Top Colleges

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New York Times reports that a study by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University and Christopher Avery of Harvard found that high-achieving low-income students frequently do not attend top-tier universities.

Just 34 percent of low-income, high-achieving high school seniors attended a selective university, compared to 78 percent of high-income high-achieving seniors, according to The Times. The disparity is most stark among students in smaller, rural areas, The Times reports.
High-achieving low-income students in smaller geographic areas, Hoxby told The Times, “lack exposure to people who say there is a difference among colleges.”
Hoxby and Avery found that 69 percent of high-achieving, low-income students are white, 15 percent are Asian-American, 8 percent Latino, and 6 percent black, according to The Times.
SOURCE: The New York Times, “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor,” March 16, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Is Affirmative Action the Right Fight?” June 22, 2004

Legislators Working to Ease Graduation Requirements

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Increased high school graduation requirements put into place seven years ago have made it difficult for some Michigan high school students to take courses that interest them, according to FoxUP TV 6. Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, are working to ease those requirements, TV 6 reports.

According to TV 6, fewer students are taking music and career and technical education classes because they have to fulfill other graduation course requirements, like taking two years of a foreign language.
TV 6 reports that Rep. McBroom and Sen. Proos hope to allow students to substitute CTE courses or technical math courses, such as statistics, for some of the math courses currently required for graduation.
SOURCE: FoxUP TV 6, “Will Michigan’s high school graduation requirements be changing?” March 14, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Why Statewide Education Policy is Limited," Nov. 5, 2012

Education Achievement Authority Bill Passes House Committee

LANSING, Mich. – A new bill to expand the state’s Education Achievement Authority passed out of House committee, according to MLive.

MLive reports that legislators on the committee voted along party lines, with nine Republicans voting in favor and five Democrats voting against the bill.
The EAA bill, in order to become law, will have to be approved by the House, the Senate, and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, according to MLive. Snyder’s administration supports the bill, MLive reports.
SOURCE: MLive, “School debate: Michigan House panel approves Education Achievement Authority bill,” March 13, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “No Grand Rapids Carve-Out under EAA Bill,” March 8, 2013

Flint School District to Close Four Schools

FLINT, Mich. – The Flint Board of Education unanimously voted to close four district schools, which will impact 2,200 students, according to MLive.

MLive reports that Flint’s spending is $11.5 million above revenues, and that the district could save millions by closing the schools.
Flint Mayor Dayne Walling told MLive that the move is consistent with patterns of population decline throughout the city. “It’s better for our community that education dollars are focused on the classroom and teachers and not keeping open buildings that are under-utilized,” he told MLive.
SOURCE: MLive, “School’s out: Flint school closures to displace more than 2,000 students,” March 15, 2013
FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “How to Fix Flint Schools, Oct. 8, 2010