December 10, 2013

Contents of this issue:

  • Push against EAA intensifies as EMU ed dean leaves board
  • U.S. students score poorly
  • State Superintendent Flanagan to retire
  • Lotto revenue slows for schools
  • A-F grading bill and 3rd grade reading bill stall
  • Special Alert: VoteSpotter App Joins the Mackinac Center Family of Apps

Push Against EAA Intensifies as EMU Ed Dean Leaves Board

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Jann Joseph, dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education, has stepped down from the board of the Education Achievement Authority, according to The Detroit News.

EMU student teachers are being boycotted because some are upset with the EAA, also known as the statewide recovery district, The News reports. Joseph cited that boycott in her email resignation letter. According to The News, Kim Schatzel, EMU provost and executive vice president of academic affairs, will replace Joseph on the EAA board.
The News reports that the Washtenaw County Education Association is boycotting EMU student teachers from being placed in schools. According to The News, the WCEA is working with other unions in nearby counties to have them boycott EMU student teachers as well.

SOURCES: Detroit News,“EMU education dean leaving EAA board,” Dec. 3, 2013

FURTHER READING: Michigan Capitol Confidential,“Teachers Union Pushes Districts To Boycott Some University Students Over Politics," Nov. 8, 2013

U.S. Students Score Poorly

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. students score poorly when compared to their international peers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports that U.S. students received middling ranks in math, science and reading on the Programme for International Student Assessment. U.S. scores have stayed flat, according to The Journal, while other countries have improved.

Higher PISA scores are not correlated to class size, but higher scores are correlated with student attendance and punctuality, The Journal reports.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal,“U.S. High School Students Slip in Global Rankings,” Dec. 3, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy,“Education: U.S. Spends More, Gets Less,” Dec. 6, 2013

State Superintendent Flanagan to Retire

LANSING, Mich. – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan will retire once his contract expires, according to MLive.

MLive reports that Flanagan’s contract ends on July 1, 2015. State Board of Education President John Austin told MLive that the board and Flanagan had agreed in 2012 that Flanagan would leave his position at the expiration of his contract.
MLive reports that the board members are considering the process of creating a search committee and timeline. Austin told MLive that the search and associated processes will begin formally in 2014.

SOURCE: MLive,“Michigan schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan to retire at end of current contract,” Dec. 6, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy,“State board hires new ed chief,” Aug. 16, 2005

Lotto Revenue Slows For Schools

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Lottery sold about $2.5 billion in tickets last year, according to MLive, an increase of 3 percent. However, MLive reports, the amount the Lottery provided to the state School Aid Fund dropped by 6 percent.
Soon, the state will be selling tickets online, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the state Lottery has suggested that online tickets will bring in more money for schools.

SOURCE: MLive,“Michigan Lottery prizes up, school aid contributions down amid record sales,” Dec. 6, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy,“The Lottery: Really Helping Schools?” June 18, 2012

A-F Grading Bill and 3rd Grade Reading Bill Stall

LANSING, Mich. – Two bills geared at reforming Michigan’s education system – one which would give school’s A-F grades and another that would hold back third-graders who are not proficient in reading – are now moving more slowly than initially anticipated and being changed to accommodate critics, according to MLive.

MLive reports that the A-F bill initially stipulated how schools would be graded. Since hearing testimony, the legislation has been modified to require that grades be based on 50 percent student academic performance, 25 percent overall academic growth, and 25 percent on the growth of lowest-scoring students, according to MLive.
MLive reports that changes have also been made to the third-grade reading bill to provide exceptions for students with learning disabilities.

SOURCE: MLive,“3rd grade reading guarantee, school grading bills on pause in Michigan House,” Dec. 5, 2013

FURTHER READING: Mackinac Center for Public Policy,“Audrey Spalding Testimony on House Bill 5112,” Nov. 6,

Special Alert: VoteSpotter App Joins the Mackinac Center Family of Apps

Imagine an easy and convenient way to get notified of important education votes your state legislators make. Imagine an easy and convenient way to alert your legislator about your agreement or disagreement with those votes. Coming this December, you won't have to imagine it. The VoteSpotter app alerts you of important votes which take place and enables you to tell you legislator — within just a couple taps of your screen. See more here.