More school consolidation in Ypsilanti, and its long term ramifications

Tonight, across town, there is an Ypsilanti Board of Education meeting taking place. Primarily, as I understand it, they will be discussing their new Deficit Elimination Plan, which calls for the closing of our remaining middle school, and the restructuring of our high school, which, if I’m not mistaken, has been mandated by law after several years of unmitigated failure. At this point, I’m not sure what can be done to dissuade the Board from the course that they’re on. I see that they’ve got some consultants coming into town tomorrow to walk people at the High School through the plan, which, according to the story I just read at, has already been approved by the Michigan Department of Education, so I think it’s pretty much a done deal. But, some people, like my friend Maria Cotera, and her husband Jason Wright, are still fighting. For those of you who don’t recall, Maria and Jason got incredibly involved in School Board politics when the administration announced about a year ago that their daughter’s beloved neighborhood school, Chapelle Elementary, would be closed. They organized a group of concerned citizens under the Ypsilanti Public School Alliance banner, and they’ve been fighting ever since. And, with that as background, I’d like to share this letter that I received from Maria last night.

January has rolled around, the Holidays have come and gone, and, its time, once again, for our favorite actuary, Mr. David Houle to determine the future of Public Schools in Ypsilanti Michigan. You may remember that last year at around this time, he delivered a Deficit Elimination Plan that called for deep cuts in our budget, slashing teachers, and closing two schools, East Middle (now home to the Administrative offices while the old administration building gets a complete overhaul, go figure) and Chapelle Elementary. You might also remember that for Jason and I, Chapelle was more than just a school. It was a thriving hub for the community in which families from all over Ypsi came together to create a sense of engagement and belonging. We loved it, and we still mourn its loss, especially since we saw in it a potential source of renewal of faith in our public schools.

We were told that “school reconfiguration” would result in lowered class sizes and an improvement in the educational quality in all of our schools, claims that we actively disputed to no avail. What was the result of all this “fiscal realism”? Estabrook is now an elementary school serving close to 600 students. Some third grade classes have 35 students in them. Adams Elementary, the school where a good portion of Chapelle kids ended up is overcrowded as well, serving children from kindergarten through 6th grade (as opposed to Estabrook and Erickson which serve 2nd-6th grade). It is the only school in our district without an enclosed playground forcing the littlest ones to play in a playground bounded by two very busy streets and within spitting distance of a party store. I’ve been told by reliable sources that 6th graders are often asked to help keep an eye on the kindergarteners, and that they may well be scheduling 6th grade and kindergarten recess at the same time for this reason. Moreover kids at Adams and Erickson get about 20 minutes of art once a week. I can’t see how this “district realignment” has resulted in an improvement in the educational quality of Ypsi schools.

We were also told by the administration that the sacrifice we made in giving up Chapelle and East would save the district from more draconian cuts, but this was either a lie or a case of magical thinking, because since that time we have experienced the disaster of bus consolidation (in which all of our beloved, trusted, and experienced bus drivers were let go and replaced by much lower paid newcomers, leading to a situation in which some of our children were arriving to school over an hour late, and others weren’t even getting picked up at all), and now the NEW Deficit Elimination Plan (DEP). The DEP just presented to the public (on the YPSD website) will be up for discussion and debate at the Board of Education Meeting on Monday, January 10. It includes many nasty cuts, but the worst of them are: 1) a plan to close the remaining middle school by 2013 and place 7th and 8th graders in the FAILING, about to be RESTRUCTURED high school, 2) a 12% paycut to cafeteria and janitorial staff, 3) cutting five more teachers, and a number of other unpleasant things. Never mind that the High School Restructuring plan that the district was required to submit to the State Board of Education (after Ypsi High filed to meet Annual Yearly Progress for the 5th year in a row) says nothing about bringing in 7th and 8th graders in 2013, the impact of such a move will be far-reaching and devastating. How many parents (especially the vaunted “knowledge workers” that the district always invokes when it speaks of YPSD’s “potential”) will allow their 12 year olds to go to a school that had nearly 2400 “disciplinary incidents” last year? Losing many of our kids at Middle School will render completely pointless the district’s strategy for keeping high school kids in district by offering “school choice” (in their recently established New Tech Academy, and the planned International Baccalaureate Program to be housed at the old West Middle School building), because once kids move to other districts or to private schools, they are not likely to return. We said it last year, and we will say it again, the district is acting like the only strategy they can employ in this period of tightening budgets is to cut essential services. But when cutting is achieved at the expense of educational quality and school safety, then students leave, and when students leave, so too does their revenue, which only exacerbates the problem. We will not cut our way to solvency or, more importantly excellence. We must be more imaginative than this, and we must stop letting actuaries determine the future of our schools.

update: It looks as though the board voted down the closing of the middle school. There’s more information in the comments section.

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  1. Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Maria Cotera has things exactly right again. Thanks, Mark, for posting this, which is the first I’ve heard about the 2013 consolidation plans. It is remarkable to think that parents won’t vote with their feet to send their middle school age kids elsewhere under the proposed scenario.

    Only a bean counter could think that this notion makes good long-term sense for the district. Perhaps it’s time to put some more folks with steel in their spines to stand up and say “No!” to death by a thousand cuts. If we don’t, there may be no Ypsilanti Schools to save by 2015…….

  2. Lisa
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the sentiment expressed here. I work with a small school district, who has a similar plan and similar issues. They’ve closed 2 of 3 elementary schools in the past five years due to budget difficulties and declining enrollment.

    However, what I’d like to know is where people WOULD cut the enormous amount of money required to be solvent? You can’t continue to run a school district in the red. It’s true that the proposed changes would lead to decreased enrollment which will lead to decreased funding and therefore a vicious downward cycle, but where should the money be cut? (and if it shouldn’t, how can the district drastically increase enrollment and/or funding in a very short timeframe?)

  3. Symph Athizer
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    While I find myself wanting to be supportive of Maria and her passion and work, I do find the concluding sentence a bit troubling:

    “…we must stop letting actuaries determine the future of our schools.”

    It comes across as “we must stop letting present reality determine the future reality.”

    I will rally behind her and other parents if she can show how imagination will pay teacher’s salaries. Maybe, the imaginative effort that is most needed now, is how to raise funds (through tax or otherwise) for our schools rather than attacking those who have to make cuts without the benefit of imagination?

    In short, what Lisa said.

    Maybe imagination, in this circumstance, is as simple as strong arming all our neighbors who sent kids other places to get their funding back in the district.

  4. Glen S.
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    What YPS is struggling with is just a local manifestation of a well-orchestrated plan by conservatives to erode public spaces and institutions in favor of private, for-profit interests.

    For generations, universal, free public (K-12) education was a fundamental part of the American democratic ideal — providing almost everyone an opportunity to gain basic skills, offering untold millions a chance at greater opportunities — including higher education, and providing an important public space where students (and parents) were likely to interact with fellow community members from different social backgrounds.

    However, this important cornerstone of our society has been seriously eroded over the past two decades: by growing anti-government, anti tax sentiment; by religious voters who object to public school curriculum (evolution, etc.); accelerating suburban sprawl that dramatically increases infrastructure costs; by increasing numbers of better-educated and more affluent parents who believe their children will gain an educational advantage by being in private schools; and perhaps most important, by legislators who have failed to live up to one of their primary responsibilities — to provide appropriate funding and support for public education.

    If our new governor and legislature are truly serious about rebuilding Michigan and its economy, I can’t imagine how reforming, rebuilding (and refunding) our system of public schools cannot be their #1 priority. But, somehow, I doubt that’s the case.

  5. Knox
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Good comment, Glen. I’d add one thing, though. The motive for breaking public schools seems pretty clear to me. They want to kill the teachers union. By de-funding public schools they kill two birds with one stone. They stop perceived liberals from indoctrinating their kids, and the dry up a huge Democratic funding source.

  6. EOS
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The public school system was trashed prior to the mass exodus of children whose parents know the value of true education. Few would home school their kids or pay large sums for private school tuition if it weren’t necessary. They left as a result of the failure of public schools and certainly shouldn’t be blamed as the cause. In reality, it’s the result of a well-orchestrated plan by liberals to erode real education and learning in favor of outcome based education (OBE) where content and reasoning skills are replaced with political indoctrination and values clarification. It doesn’t matter that Johnny can’t read or multiply, so long as he has a high sense of self-esteem in spite of his ignorance. The preferred option of the MEA to reduce educational disparities among children is to limit the intellectual growth of the high achievers. Best thing that could happen for our community is to abandon the four failing districts: Ypsilanti, Willow Run, Lincoln, and Romulus; and create a new school district with a strong curriculum,a high level of parental involvement, and with a focus on challenging every student to achieve their maximum potential.

  7. TeacherPatti
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Glen and Knox have it exactly right. As I’ve often said, I know it KILLS the old white men that a girl like me can earn a good wage and benefits and support myself without a man if I so choose (sorry to break anyone’s heart, but I am married :)). In my heart of hearts, I believe that notion drives a lot of the desire to break the union.

    Having said that, and I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but I actually agree with EOS about the self esteem thing. I just posted an article on my FB about how mothers in China don’t play that self esteem shit and get on their kids when they bring home anything less than an A. One of the many things I like about my job is that we don’t play that bullshit here–we don’t have helicopter parents (hell, half our parents are cracked out somewhere, dead, or just plain not around) or any of that crap breathing down our necks. You flunk the test? You get an F motherfucker. I can live with that.

    Anyway, I do miss the old days (mid70s-late80s) of my K-12 education when the local, neighborhood public school was the thing. It was a community center, public space, hosted ice cream socials, parks and rec in the summer and was just generally a place to go. I would give almost anything to get back to that i.e. get rid of this bullshit charter school nonsense and for God’s sake stop the homeschooling craziness. In case you don’t know, MI is one of the most lenient states for that nonsense…all you have to do is tell the truant officer you are “homeschooling” and you can keep your kid at home, rape it, sell it for drugs, let it play video games all day, whatever you want and then give it a homeschool diploma at age 18. (And yes yes I’m sure you all have heartwarming stories about someone you know who was homeschooled successfully…I have never seen it but like the tooth fairy (that I’ve never seen either), I’m sure it exists.

  8. Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    “mothers in China don’t play that self esteem shit and get on their kids when they bring home anything less than an A.”

    There’s another side to this. Japan does this, too, and the consequences are that suicides amongst children are inordinately high. Bullying and abuse amongst children is out of control, much of which can be attributed to overachieving parents who expect nothing less than perfection.

    Home schooling is a complete joke. My ex suggested home schooling my son so that he wouldn’t have to go to school with children who used obscenities. Seriously. Trouble is, my ex wasn’t certified to teach, can’t add and subtract to save her life, and mostly took an attitude toward parenting that included letting my son sit on the couch all day playing video games and eating potato chips.

    What’s next, home surgery?

  9. EOS
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    A 2006 study by the Department of Education found that 31 percent of parents who taught their kids at home did so out of concern for the public school environment, citing such issues as “safety, drugs or negative peer pressure.” Another 30 percent said that home schooling offered them the ability to “provide their children with religious or moral instruction.” An additional 16.5 percent of parents cited dissatisfaction with “the academic instruction available” in the public schools, while about 14 percent said they chose home schooling because of special needs of their children.

    While public school officials and education “experts” have tried to denigrate the home schooling option as inferior to the tax-funded marvel of public education, both research and anecdotal evidence has demonstrated that children taught at home perform better than their public school counterparts.

    For example, a 2009 study by the NHERI found that home schoolers score an average of 34 to 39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests. The national average for home-schooled students ranged from the 84th percentile for language, math, and social studies to the 89th percentile for reading.

    Research also confirms that the high performance of home-schooled students continues when they reach college. The Journal of College Admission cited a recent report showing that “home school students possess higher ACT scores, grade point averages (GPAs) and graduation rates when compared to traditionally educated students.”

    There are an estimated 2.346 million home-schooled students across the nation today and another “notable surge” is predicted in home schooling numbers in the next five to ten years, as those who were home schooled in the 1990s choose that education option for their own children as well.

  10. Alice Krum
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Was anyone at the meeting? If so, can they let us know what happened?

  11. TeacherPatti
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Peter, that is a good point re: suicides. What is the balance, then, between helicopter parenting and “bring home an A or else you are an embarrassment to this family”.

    I agree with you on home schooling of course…what I think few people realize is that there are NO requirements in MI. You can be a felon, rapist (although if you were a child molester and on the registry, I guess it would be a problem), ax murderer, illiterate, whatever and you can home”school” from now until Doomsday. From what I understand, every time someone in MI thinks about regulating it, the “parents’ rights” groups come out the woodwork.

    In MI, you don’t have to be certified to teach, don’t have to submit lesson plans, don’t have to do anything besides tell the traunt officer you are homeschooling. So you could use curriculum from 1700 or you could use curriculum that says that dinosaurs ate Jesus’ baby or whatever the hell you want and it’s all good. The kid will get a diploma at 18 (one you make yourself, of course) and go out into the world.

    As I said, I’m sure there are all sorts of anecdotes about it being successful but I’ve never seen it. Also, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!

    PS: Pete, I had no idea you had kids!

  12. Mr. X
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Pete’s got more kids than Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

  13. Posted January 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    What EOS is her infinite wisdom fails to mention, is that the information as to the high test standardized test scores amongst homeschooled children is highly contested. But what else would we expect?

    We can assume that she just doesn’t want her kids going to school with black people or homosexuals.

    I’ve known successfully homeschooled children, but their parents were certified educators who had years of classroom experience before schooling their children.

    As a teacher myself, I can confidently say that teaching is not for everybody. It takes years to become an effective teacher even in one subject, let alone 8 or 10. I just cannot see how the average parent could ever have the resources nor time to pull it off. It would be an incredible commitment.

    Plus, you would deprive children of the opportunity to come into contact with really, amazing and inspiring teachers (as I have).

    And seriously, given what I’ve seen of adults and their math skills (I’m a math teacher), I cannot believe that your average Joe on the street would have the sufficient understanding of mathematics to teach it properly. I just don’t see it.

    I only have one kid, and he’s hardly a kid anymore!

  14. EOS
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Peter doesn’t know Jack. He’s not a math teacher – he’s a grad student in the program with the lowest entrance standards on campus. If he had any intelligence whatsoever, he wouldn’t assume so many erroneous beliefs.

    Home School parents buy an approved curriculum and then supplement. Standardized test scores are not highly contested. There’s more than 60 years of validation.

    Parenting children successfully is an incredible commitment. Parents are far more likely to know and understand their children and have a vested interest in their success, unlike an unrelated public school employee.

    Schoolwork is completed in about 2-3 hours a day. This gives the students far more time each day to come in contact with amazing adults in the community through volunteer work and part-time jobs and shadowing opportunities.

  15. Posted January 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    “Peter doesn’t know Jack. He’s not a math teacher – he’s a grad student in the program with the lowest entrance standards on campus. If he had any intelligence whatsoever, he wouldn’t assume so many erroneous beliefs. ”

    I am just loving this.

    How does one assume a belief?

  16. Posted January 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Wait…EOS is a *her*??? Seriously? My mental image is completely destroyed. In case anyone was wondering, I am a girl too! I also took a Meyers-Briggs (?) test yesterday and I am ESFJ!

    For the record, I am a teacher, certified in 3 areas (2 special ed) and highly qualified in about 6 more areas and there is no way in hell I could teach all subjects…nor should I. There is a reason they are moving away from the small classrooms of special ed students with one teacher…because they aren’t effective in teaching broad curriculum (curricula)?

  17. Posted January 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a girl and I’m INTP, whatever that means. I think that means that I stay home a lot.

    Not certified, decided that dealing with school parents was not the life for me, but have taught math at community colleges for the past 5 years, taught ESL for 3 and English composition to high school kids on a volunteer programs for a year.

    I can teach math, could teach lit with my lit degree and certainly could teach stats or epidemiology, but I couldn’t ever be asked to teach econ, chem, physics or any lab science. Anyone who thinks they could teach everything effectively is smokin it or arrogant, you pick one.

  18. Eel
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Permalink has a story about last night’s meeting.

    “Ypsilanti school board rejects proposed closure of middle school, waits for deficit elimination plan”

  19. Maria Cotera
    Posted January 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    TeacherPatti, we once experienced a school like the one you describe, complete with ice cream socials, book fairs, movie nights, and parents from radically different backgrounds coming together with a single mission in mind: to make school a place for community. It was called Chapelle Elementary, and the School Board closed it. We thought it could be the start of a renewal for public education in Ypsi, and we really believed that we could get some of those parents to come back to the district. Unfortunately budget considerations (ie. “realism”) got in the way of carving a future for Ypsi schools. We were all in, as were other parents, and if this is what some (Symph Athizer) call “imagination” then YES it is what’s needed: ie. parents who are committed to the schools, and committed to getting other parents excited about them. In fact, I just saw the enrollment numbers last night, and we lost 50 students last year, or around 377,000, just under the amount we SAVED closing Chapelle (wiping out our “savings”), except now, there is no chance to build enrollments again because the remaining schools are at capacity and so we physically CAN’T attract more students at the elementary level.
    As for the quality of public education, I couldn’t disagree MORE with EOS. In fact, our daughter has gotten an EXCELLENT and SUBSTANTIVE education in Ypsi schools. She loves her teachers and her friends, and she is a 3rd grader reading at the 7th grade level, learning higher math, talking about Haiti, the earthquake and Cholera outbreak,, and “thin ice” and the polar bears, and experiencing strong discipline as well. We are amazed at how she’s developed, and what she’s learned in just the last 3 months. As for ‘homeschoolers”, while some may be providing an excellent, well rounded education to their children, I’ll never forget one incident when my husband and I were shopping for homes in Ypsi some ten years ago. We looked at a house in which an attic room had been repurposed as a “homeschool.” On the wall of that room was banner that documented human history. It began with a picture of Adam and Eve, moved on to a picture of them taming dinosaurs, then a picture of the flood, then a picture of the ark, then a picture of “modern animals” and humans. I don’t have a problem with biblical stories, but they hardly supply a realistic account of human history. My cousin and his wife homeschooled their kids, and I helped their daughter with her university applications. When asked the classic essay question: “what ‘great books’ have you read, and how have they impacted your world view,” she was stumped. The only “chapter books” she had read up to that point were books the “Left Behind” series. Again, I have no problem with these books, but they will not prepare you for a standard lit class at UM.

  20. EOS
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink


    It’s not uncommon for most parents to think that while there are lots of bad schools out there, their child’s school is not one of them. If your child has been attending Ypsi public schools for 4 years, you have already lost a significant portion of very critical early learning opportunities. In 2009, 3rd grade reading scores on the MEAP show the following percentages of students who did not meet the minimal standards: Eastabrook 20%, Chappelle 31%, and Adams 33%. By the time students in Ypsi schools reach the 9th grade it is worse. 46% don’t meet the minimum Social Studies standards. Your daughter may be very bright, but she’ll spend the next ten years in Ypsi schools repeatedly drilling on remedial fundamentals. She’s unlikely to be challenged to work to her full potential and she’ll likely think that she’s an advanced learner due to comparisons with her peers. Much instructional time will be lost to disciplinary efforts. If you can’t consider full time homeschooling, you should at least spend significant time each week in providing supplemental instruction, guided reading, and practical application of age appropriate skill development activities. At a minimum, enroll her in summer “camps” where she’ll be exposed to a large number of children her age who are similarly academically gifted and advanced in their studies.

  21. TeacherPatti
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Maria, thanks for your post! Please keep up the good fight!
    I am glad you brought up higher education…I also question how a homeschool (or this bullshit “unschooling” thing I’ve read about) could possibly prepare a student for college. We are so into sending kids to college at all costs (not always a good idea IMHO but that’s another post) but no one stops to question the curriculum of home”schoolers”. I’m sure someone will trot out statistics showing that home”schooled” kids are now leading the Ivy League but as they say, there are lies, damned lies and….

  22. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Once again Maria criticizes Adams with misinformation and scare tactics (e.g. Prospect Park is a dangerous playground to small children). I have 4 grown children that grew up playing at Prospect Park and educated at Adams and find the playground every bit as safe as Chappell School’s playground.
    Your “group’s savings found” and ignored is frustrating but it was never enough and smacked of NIMBY status, sorry…

  23. Maria Cotera
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    My kid has spent a lot of time at the Prospect Park playground as well, in fact I live just a few blocks from Prospect Park and spend a lot of time there myself. And while I think the playground there is perfectly appropriate (and safe) for large groups of older children to play with relatively little supervision, I do not think its appropriate for a very large group of 4-5 year-olds to play there supervised by just a few adults. Those little children deserve an enclosed playground just like the kindergarten children at Perry have. Its just safer for them. They also deserve a Montessori option just like the kindergarten and 1st grade children at Perry have, they also deserve door-to-door busing just just like the kindergarten and 1st grade children at Perry. Please don’t cloud the issue with assumptions about my “scare tactics”. What I care about is basic equity, for all Ypsi’s children, and its just not fair that some children get all the perks while other children are ignored. Instead of criticizing, why don’t you think of some solutions to these problems? At our last YPSA gathering, an Adams mother (who by the way, agrees with me that the little one’s need and deserve an enclosed play area) came up with a great idea: we could re-purpose the old tennis courts and convert them into an enclosed playground for the school. She suggested that we apply for a grant from Kaboom! a non-profit that partners with local community organizations to build playgrounds. Sometimes, with the help of community members, they can build a playground in just a day!

  24. Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    You are completely right, Patti. It is highly unlikely that the average homeschooling parent could ever prepare their children for university. They would be very unlikely to have the necessary math skills to pass even the most basic of college math courses. The way it is now, even kids who have taken 12 years of school from trained teachers can’t do math. I see them all the time, it’s a travesty! They can’t even do basic arithmetic!

    I known that there are great successes out there with homeschooled and (bullshit) “unschooled” children, but I would wager that the parents are highly educated themselves, if not trained educators.

    I must say, however, that none of the homeschooled people I’ve known went into any type of science. They all went to art school.

  25. Tommy
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    EOS – you are full of shit – maybe. Since you know everything and I don’t, please fill me in on whether or not your statistics on homeshooled achievement v. publicly schooled compares kids with very similar if not identical demographics. If they don’t, then you are full of shit. If they do, then we suck as a country and should just give up. I live in Saline – do you have a comparison that shows how the home schoolers are doing in relation to our overarching demographic (white, middle to upper middle class, college educated parents, etc.)? How about one for the Burns Park kids who attend the Public Schools v. Homeschooling?

    Statistics are Bullshit – you know it.

  26. Posted January 12, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    As a statistician, I can tell you that statistics are not bullshit, if you know what you’re doing. The trouble is that most people that throw numbers around don’t understand statistics.

    She is mostly parroting what’s on the Wikipedia page, which clearly states why the results are suspect, and pretty much reiterates what you have just said: The two groups aren’t comparable, and the researchers made little attempt to control for the factors that are different.

  27. John Galt
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Once we get these outdated and onerous child welfare laws off the books, kids will be back in the factories where they belong, and we won’t have this problem anymore. I think Adams elementary should be an iron foundry.

  28. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Adams should consider a fenced playground on the front yard of the school for the kindergarteners, the tennis court area of the park is in use by many locals playing roller hockey. They help with park clean ups and are part of the eastside community too. I know it is sad that schools were closed but it was very long overdue, we have been way over capacity, probably long before you had school age children. Go to Perry if you want Montessori. The district is not a vending machine. Find the money is what we are up against now, fair or not. The whitehouse was ridiculous in it’s old state and in better days (?) a bond was passed to pay for its re-building. That bond money cannot be spent elsewhere only on its stated purpose. Now we wonder…why can’t THEY move into the highschool? Thing is we have been cutting, cutting , cutting…and it will never be enough it seems.

  29. EOS
    Posted January 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

  30. dragon
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    “If we end up with a concentration of students under-performing academically, it may be easier to reach out to them,” [Art Pope, a board member of “Americans For Prosperity.” a tea-party organization]

  31. Kim
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    If home schooled kids are outperforming public school kids, it just tells me that public schools must suck, and that we need to spend more money on them. Is that they point you wanted to make, EOS?

  32. EOS
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink


    If you read the link I posted you might not have made that statement.

    “Another obstacle that seems to be overcome in homeschooling is the need to spend a great deal of money in order to have a good education. In Strengths of Their Own, Dr. Ray found the average cost per homeschool student is $546 while the average cost per public school student is $5,325. Yet the homeschool children in this study averaged in 85th percentile while the public school students averaged in the 50th percentile on nationally standardized achievement tests.”

    Neither the amount of money spent on education, the race of the students, nor the teaching credentials of the parents made any difference.

  33. Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    “…the public school students averaged in the 50th percentile…”

    Given that the vast majority of students in the US are in public schools, it is inevitable that they will average at or near the 50th percentile. Percentile gives no indication as to absolute performance, only as to performance relative to average.

  34. EOS
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, by definition, on a standardized test the average is the 50th percentile. The relative difference between public school students and home school students is significant.

  35. John Galt
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    “The student learns best who has lost a hand in the gear of a turbine.”
    -William J. Bennett

  36. Home Alone
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    EOS, your statistics about the cost of home schooling are laughable. They apparently didn’t take into account the “wage” of the teacher. For a two-income family with two kids, you’re likely to find that home schooling costs that family at least $15,000 per child because of lost wages. Home schooling is, by far, the most expensive type of schooling because the teacher/student ratio is so off-the-charts high.

    You’re better off working and sending the kids to Greenhills. Better teachers.

  37. Posted January 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    EOS, you are totally smokin’ it.

    $546!!!! Are you joking? I guess you didn’t bother to figure in the incredible foregone costs of having a parent not work while their child is in school.

    Even at the worst job, working half time, a parent can expect to bring at least an extra $10K a year, vastly dwarfing $546 and the cost of a public education COMBINED.

  38. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    There you go again Peter. You just ASSUMED that both parents would work outside the home if they didn’t homeschool their children. Just like you ASSSUMED that a public school teacher is better able to teach than a parent. Many responsible parents choose to forgo a slight increase in their standard of living in order to provide the optimal conditions for nurturing and educating their children.

    When confronted with the evidence that your previous assumptions were wrong, you just ignore reality and create another diversion. Your extra “10K a year” doesn’t take into account the added expenses of employment (transportation, wardrobe, etc.) or child care costs. Even if the cost were 10-15K a year, I’d gladly pay that to have my kid’s intellect grow to their maximum potential.

    Home Alone – Greenhills costs $17,000 per year per child.

  39. Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    I didn’t ASSUME anything. That’s the reality of it. By choosing not to work when able, you give up earnings. It’s as simple as that. That’s what foregone costs are.

    This Texan pro-homeschooling website you parrot is hilarious.

    I wish teaching were this easy. I can only speak from experience, but I have found teaching baseline level subjects to be an extremely difficult venture, particularly my own child. I actually began to turn down jobs (and money) for teaching remedial math because I’m just not qualified. Some people are, but they’ve been trained. Some people aren’t and do it anyway, and consequently, do an awful job.

    I find the recommendations in the FAQ on your Texan site to be laughably unrealistic.

    Why don’t you try doing your own medical care? If teaching is this easy, then heart surgery should be a breeze!

  40. Edward
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Ha. Ha. You made the ASSUMPTION that women were people. Read your Bible, Peter.

  41. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    No – He didn’t assume women were people. He considers homemakers to have chosen not to work.

  42. Posted January 14, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    What else are you going to do while your kids are in school?

  43. Ypsipologist
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m mad at the Ann Arbor News. Why isn’t the paper full of stories about all the kids at Ypsi High who WEREN’T stabbed yesterday?

  44. Edward
    Posted February 3, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    And if that girl had been made to carry a gun, none of this would have happened.

  45. Ypsipologist
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    It turns out he had a good reason for stabbing her. She’d gotten herself pregnant.

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