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Keeping the Balance

By Mark Palmer

Mark PalmerEvery year, as the school year gets rolling, I find myself asking the same question, “Do we have the right balance between academics and extra-curricular/co-curricular activities in my school?” Over the last ten years, the pressure to increase student academic achievement has become overwhelming. I understand that need, but, at the same time, feel compelled to make sure that our schools are engaging and interesting places for all students. For many schools, it takes more than academics to ignite all student learning. Tight budgets are also making it more and more of a challenge to provide the “extras” in a school.

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Higher Ed Budget Cuts Promise Grants

The $4,000 scholarship for 96,000 Michigan college students was eliminated under a higher education conference committee report just reported out on a 4–2 vote.

Chair Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing) voted against the budget along with Sen. Jim Barcia (D-Bay City). While it is unusual for a chair to oppose their own budget bill, Ms. Bauer said she couldn’t support the cuts to the Promise Grant and other scholarship programs.

Rep. George Cushingberry Jr. (D-Detroit) joined the three Republican members in voting the conference report approved.

Mr. Cushingberry said he plans to bring up a supplemental budget out at some point to restore funding for the Promise Grant.

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School Aid Budget - Update

Here in Lansing, the focus is on closing in on the budget. If I were a betting man I would bet that nothing is really going to be done and the legislature will adopt a continuation budget until the end of October. But before that there is going to be a lot of rumors, twists, and turns. It is coming more and more clear school districts will experience state funding cuts. The only discussion topic among school leaders is how much and how will it be applied.

September 22, 2009

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AP Keynote Speaker - Eric Chester

View the video, below, or follow this link:

Eric Chester Video

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At the Table

ADP Network: Holding the Line Panel

The executive director of the Michigan Education Association once told me “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” He is so correct. The building principal is on the menu regarding federal school improvement policy. Apparently improvement starts with replacing the principal.

It seems impossible to stop this "plan of improvement." But, our voice is being heardin Michigan. We’ve move the principal to being at the table to have a voice in such policies.