Thursday, September 07, 2006

Something to Keep You Going.....

Grand Valley State University has authorized a second Detroit charter school backed by philanthropist Bob Thompson. A charter was issued to Public Schools Academies of Detroit. University Prep Math and Science could open in 2008 and will be run by New Urban Learning.

Detroit Public Schools must repay almost $1 million in federal money after a U.S. Department of Education audit found several instances where money and items cannot be accounted for, including five flat-screen televisions.

Charter schools outperformed their neighboring conventional public schools on a majority of 2005 MEAP tests in 18 areas across Michigan. Developed by the Michigan Department of Education, the model compared charter schools to their "host districts" in 18 cities.

School districts across Michigan spent about $5 million by holding school board elections in May, rather than November. Low voter turnout prompted Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson to support House Bill 4755, which would require schools to hold November elections.

More than 20 percent of teacher candidates from five Michigan colleges failed state certification tests on their first try between October 2001 and July 2004. The Michigan Department of Education has told these schools – the University of Detroit, Olivet College, Rochester College, Sienna Heights University and Wayne State University – as well as others that they must do a better job of preparing future teachers.

A home-school student from Portage signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. Ian Arnold, an Eagle Scout who also has earned 36 credits with a 4.0 grade point average at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, will study pre-medicine.

Trimesters are gaining in popularity at Michigan schools. In the Muskegon area, Holton and Orchard View will switch this fall, joining Muskegon Heights, Spring Lake and Newaygo County schools. The switch means a new way of structuring class schedules.

A study released in June said Detroit Public Schools had the worst graduation rate of the nation’s largest 50 districts. Written by Editorial Projects in Education, the study said Detroit graduated just 21.7 percent of its students in 2003.

Some 470 public school employees, including more than 50 teachers, were found to have felony records in a recent background check. After several months of disagreements, including legal injunctions, a report from the Michigan State Police to the Michigan Department of Education showed administrators, cooks, janitors, bus drivers, support staff and teachers who were employed as of Jan. 1 had felony convictions.

Two Metro Detroit charter schools have met demands for enrollment growth with new facilities. Great Oaks Academy, with 300 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, expects to add 300 more students by 2008. It recently purchased the former St. Vincent Ferrer school in Madison Heights. Michigan Technical Academy High School, which expects to add 100 students to the existing 250, opened a new school on 8.5 acres in Redford Township.

No state met the requirement that 100 percent of its teaching force be "highly qualified" by June 30, 2006. The designation is part of the federal No Child Left Behind act, and says a teacher meeting the standard must have a bachelor’s degree, state certification and "demonstrated knowledge" in the core subject they teach. The Michigan Department of Education reported last fall that 94 percent of teachers statewide met the criteria.

Michigan could be a pilot program state for teaching Arabic to school children under a program being introduced by the Department of Defense. The "National Strategic Learning Initiative," could net Michigan $700,000 a year for 16 years to start programs in elementary schools in at least two school districts.

All of those who are opposed to educational options in Detroit better stop listening to the NAACP, Teacher Unions and the Democratic Party and get with the program.

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