Contents of this issue:

  • Charter company wants to open fourth school
  • Clinton voting on use of 'Redskins'
  • Buses: 90 percent pass inspection
  • School-closing committee not open to public

CHARTER COMPANY WANTS TO OPEN FOURTH SCHOOL


CANTON, Mich. - Hamadeh Educational Services Inc. wants to open a fourth public charter school, this one in the Canton area, according to the Canton Observer. The educational services firm already operates two schools in Dearborn and one in Detroit.

The firm has filed a request for special land use to build University Academy, a K-12 school. The Canton Planning Commission will address the request at its Nov. 3 meeting, the Observer reported.

"We are definitely excited," Nawal Hamadeh, the founder, superintendent and CEO of Hamadeh Educational Services, told the Observer. Currently, Hamadeh schools enroll about 2,000 students.

Hamadeh said the schools emphasize diversity and offer Arabic language classes, and that children are better served by having educational options, according to the Observer.

"Private schools can't meet 100 percent of the needs and public schools can't meet 100 percent but charter schools can serve as a medium," Hamadeh told the Observer. "I believe that choices are great."

SOURCE:
Canton Observer, "Canton could get 2nd charter school," Oct. 13, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Charter school enrollment breaks 100,000," Dec. 18, 2007


CLINTON VOTING ON USE OF 'REDSKINS'


TECUMSEH, Mich. - Clinton Community Schools is polling residents on whether to change the name of the school mascot to something other than "Redskins," according to the Tecumseh Herald.

A Herald article said that, following an exchange of letters-to- the-editor between two local residents and Superintendent David Pray, the superintendent agreed to review the issue and poll residents. Residents have until Nov. 1 to sign a petition in Pray's office; the results will determine whether he takes the matter to the school board, the Herald reported.

The residents who raised the issue, Elspeth and Kylista Geiger, said the "Redskin" mascot is derogatory and dehumanizing, according to the Herald. Approximately 57 Michigan school districts use mascots or images related to American Indians, among them Chiefs, Warriors, Reds and Redmen.

SOURCE:
Tecumseh Herald, "Petition drive looks to - Eliminate Redskins," Oct. 8, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Fees for school activities increase," Aug. 26, 2003


BUSES: 90 PERCENT PASS INSPECTION


CHARLEVOIX, Mich. - Ninety percent of school buses statewide passed inspection by the Michigan State Police Traffic and Safety Division in 2007-2008, the Charlevoix Courier reported.

The article said that the pass rate was up slightly from the previous year's 89 percent. A total of 17,200 vehicles were inspected in the annual program.

The Courier reported that the 198-point inspection was done on buses owned by public and independent schools, as well as those used in school districts that contract with a private firm for transportation.

"I would feel bad if I failed - I'd be disappointed," said Joe Howie, the transportation director for both the Boyne City and Boyne Falls public school districts. Both districts had an exceptional five-year record, according to the article.

State police records show that The Public Schools of Petoskey, which has a private contract with Johnson's Buses Inc., also had a perfect record during the last five years, the Courier reported.

Regarding failing vehicles, some are allowed to continue in use while a defect is addressed, and others must be taken off the road until they meet standards, the Courier reported.

SOURCE:
The Charlevoix Courier, "Bus safety inspection results are in," Oct. 10, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Survey 2008: School Service Privatization Grows Again," Sept. 8, 2008


SCHOOL-CLOSING COMMITTEE NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC


BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - The Bloomfield Hills school district is refusing to release the names of all the members of a school- closing committee, and the public may not attend its meetings, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The group is meeting weekly in closed-door sessions and will make recommendations in December regarding which two schools the district should close, the Free Press reported. About 15 parents serve on the 30-member volunteer committee, but the district will not release parent names. The Free Press said it is seeking more information through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

District administrators turned down a request for the names from a member of its own board of education, the Free Press reported.

"They need to work in a safe place because of the emotion,"

district spokeswoman Betsy Erickson told the Free Press. "They need a place to be candid."

SOURCE:
The Detroit Free Press, "Bloomfield Hills district cites privacy in school closing case," Oct. 8, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Myth #3: Private schools are unaccountable to the public," in "School Choice in Michigan: A Primer for Freedom in Education," July 16, 1999


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report (http://www.educationreport.org), an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at
mailto:med@educationreport.org

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