The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 16, 2005 - 5
State may raise
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LANSING (AP) - The Michi-
gan Department of Education is
researching the possibility of rais-
ing mandatory graduation require-
ments for high school students, the
state's schools chief said yesterday.
Michigan's K-12 schools must
improve their graduation rates and
have more rigorous requirements for
students, state superintendent Mike
Flanagan told the Senate Education
But it remains to be seen exactly
what role the state might play in
pushing local school districts to
adopt tougher, more uniform gradu-
Graduation requirements now are
decided by local school boards. The
only state requirement is a semester
"I'm leaning much more in think-
ing we need to have a voice in this
at the state level," Flanagan said of
Several states set more exact
graduation standards for math, sci-
ence and language than does Michi-
gan. High standards are needed to
better prepare students for jobs and
college, said Flanagan, who was
hired by the State Board of Educa-
tion in May.
"We want to participate with you
in the process of turning our schools
around - not just our public schools,
but all our schools," Senate Educa-
tion Committee Chairman Wayne
Kuipers (R-Holland) told Flanagan
during the hearing.
Afterwards, Kuipers said the con-
cept of the state establishing man-
datory requirements for graduation
would be subject to debate because
of Michigan's tradition of local con-
trol over schools.
"I don't know where we end up on
that issue," he said.
Flanagan replaced Tom Watkins,
who resigned as schools chief after
a public feud with Gov. Jennifer
Granholm over his leadership.
Flanagan, former leader of the
Lansing-based Michigan Associa-
tion of School Administrators, was
Granholm's favorite for the job. He
served as Granholm's education
adviser early in her administration
before returning to the schools asso-
He also is a former superintendent
of the Wayne County intermediate
school district and Farmington-
Farmington Hills schools.
Post bnrpcal'ines eXpected to slim dw
Their bankruptcy filings behind them, Delta and
Northwest began a lengthy and costly road to recov-
ery yesterday that will likely include cutting employee
rolls, pensions and routes. In the end, if they survive,
the nation's third- and fourth-largest airlines will be
smaller and may look more like the discount rivals
that helped send them into bankruptcy.
That perspective by analysts, bankruptcy experts
and academics was underscored Thursday as Atlanta-
based Delta Air Lines Inc. and Eagan, Minn.-based
Northwest Airlines Corp. sought to reject certain air-
craft leases. In Delta's case, it also asked a New York
bankruptcy judge to allow it to abandon some proper-
ties and prevent utilities from turning off its power.
"What are they going to look like? They are going
to look like Southwest or JetBlue," said Manches-
ter, N.H., bankruptcy and restructuring expert Dan
Sklar, referring to the low-cost carriers.
David LeMay, an attorney who worked on Conti-
nental's bankruptcy in the early 1990s, said that air-
line raised cash in bankruptcy by selling a valuable
trans-Pacific route and a terminal it was building at
LaGuardia airport in New York.
"I'm sure that both Delta and Northwest will be
looking very, very hard at what is absolutely essen-
tial to keep and what can be sold," he said.
While bankruptcy gives the airlines more lever-
age, it doesn't address one of the companies' funda-
mental problems - not enough revenue.
"There's no motion you can make in bankruptcy
court that says, 'Please put $20 million in the check-
ing account this week," LeMay said. "People have
this impression that in bankruptcy you can do what-
ever you please, but that's really not true at all."
In Northwest's case, the airline will likely press
its pilots to change rules that limit its regional pas-
senger service, said airline analyst Ray Neidl at
Calyon Securities in New York. Regional flying is
important to both carriers. But Northwest, with its
large Midwest presence, already does more flights
at small airports than any other carrier. Shifting
more of those flights to its regional partners will
help Northwest get profitable again, Neidl said.
Northwest is Michigan's leading passenger air
carrier, with a hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Yesterday the Air Line Pilots Association said
Northwest was reducing flying levels, which would
result in 400 pilot furloughs over the next eight
months. That's in addition to around 500 Northwest
pilots already on furlough, the union said in a state-
ment. A Northwest spokesman confirmed the fur-
loughs, but had no comment on them.