October 22, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • MEA publishes blacklist of teachers who left union
  • After school programs strive to bring U.S. students up to speed
  • Nearly half of Michigan students eligible for subsidized lunch
  • Resolution introduced to exempt home-schoolers from Common Core
  • Former EM to manage Pontiac consent agreement

MEA Publishes Blacklist of Teachers Who Left Union

STEPHENSON, Mich. – Michigan Capitol Confidential reports that the Michigan Education Association has published the names of some Upper Peninsula school employees who left the union. Capitol Confidential is a news publication of the Mackinac Center.

According to Capitol Confidential, the names of employees were published, along with the services the union will no longer provide to them.
“The fact that names were published in the newsletter confirmed the thought that some unions would throw their members under a bus at the blink of an eye,” Kathi Moreau, a counselor at Stephenson Area Public Schools, told Capitol Confidential. “Additionally, there was no reason for publishing our names and is nothing less than a cheap shot,” she told Capitol Confidential.

Capitol Confidential reports that MEA President Steve Cook has referred in the past to employees who left the MEA as “freeloaders.”

SOURCES: Capitol Confidential, “Union Tries to Shame Ex-Members,” Oct. 17, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Who’s the Freeloader? MEA Spends More On Benefits Than Bargaining,” Oct. 9, 2013

After School Programs Strive to Bring U.S. Students Up to Speed

CANTON, Mich. – The Detroit News reports that more schools are offering extracurricular programs in the Detroit area in an attempt to encourage student interest in science and math-related subjects.

According to The News, data show that U.S. students come up short when compared to Chinese, Korean, Canadian and Japanese students, among others. “[Education in science, technology, engineering and math] is the foundation for independent and critical thinkers and doers,” Christopher Webb, director and co-founder of the ESD Institute, told The News.

Some Detroit-area schools are using extracurricular programs to encourage students to develop interest in these topics early on, The News reports.

Kellie Kosch, a parent of two students attending Detroit Country Day, told The News that “My children love attending because they are immersed in science in a way that does not feel so academic.”

SOURCE: Hometown Life,“FPS disputes campaign violation claim against board chief Wallach,” Oct. 10, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest,“’It’s hard, but it’s fun,’” July 15, 2013

Nearly Half of Michigan Students Eligible for Subsidized Lunch

LANSING, Mich. – Approximately 46 percent of Michigan students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to MLive’s review of a study by the Southern Education Foundation.

MLive reports that subsidized lunch eligibility is based on student family income. According to MLive, students from families with income of up to 185 percent of the poverty line are eligible for subsidized lunch.
The study shows that Michigan has the second-highest percentage of students eligible for subsidized lunch among Midwestern states, according to MLive.
SOURCE: MLive,“Almost half of Michigan public school students living in low-income households, study shows,” Oct. 20, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Superintendents Falsely Claim Charter Schools Shortchange Poor Children,” Dec. 12, 2012

Resolution Introduced to Exempt Home-Schoolers From Common Core

LANSING, Mich. – Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) has introduced a resolution to explicitly exempt home school students from proposed Common Core State Standards, MLive reports.

According to MLive, state law already allows parents to retain responsibility and oversight over home schooled students. MLive reports that currently state law only requires home-school programs to educate students in reading, spelling, math, science, history, civics, literature, writing and grammar.
Michigan home school advocates, however, have testified against Common Core, according to MLive. They have said that the standards would force changes in college admissions tests, MLive reports, requiring them to adhere to the standards when educating college-bound students.

SOURCE: MLive,“New Common Core resolution makes home-school exception clear,” Oct. 16, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Condiential, “Examining The Issues Surrounding Common Core,” Sept. 30, 2013

Former EM to Manage Pontiac Consent Agreement

LANSING, Mich. – Donald Weatherspoon, former emergency manager for the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts, will now be serving as consent agreement consultant for the Pontiac School District, according to The Detroit News.

The News reports that Pontiac is facing a $38 million overspending crisis. The district chose a consent agreement, according to The News, instead of an emergency manager.
Weatherspoon will be responsible for carrying out all of the terms and conditions associated with the 60-page consent agreement between the school district and the state, according to The News.
“I am not an emergency manager,” Weatherspoon told The News. “This is a consent agreement under PA 436,” he said according to The News. “I don’t foresee me taking part in those discussions.”

SOURCE: Detroit News,“Pontiac school board OKs consultant for consent agreement,” Oct. 15, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Digest, “Pontiac avoids emergency manager for now," Sept. 24, 2013