Monday, April 27, 2009

Interesting News of the Week

First, let's start with the comprehensive series by David Jesse for the Ann Arbor News, on the trials and tribulations of the Willow Run Schools. I have to say that when I saw last week's Willow Run school closing proposals (close two schools and reopen one that was closed before, or close one this year and one the next)--neither of them made any sense to me. Why reopen an already-closed school? And if you are going to close two schools in the end, why not just get it over and done with? And the Willow Run school board is obviously still not ready to make a decision. I guess if they delay long enough, there will be some new school board members. And one of the more interesting rumors that I have heard (I emphasize the word rumor here), is that some people would like it if the state takes over with a finance manager (like the Detroit Public Schools situation), because that will allow someone else to make the hard decisions.

Second, the Ann Arbor Chronicle summarized the League of Women Voters discussion session with prospective board members (the election is not contested, so I think I wouldn't call it a debate...). I got this little tidbit out of it: Liz Margolis, the AAPS PR person, is setting up a communications committee.

Glenn Nelson: Liz Margolis, AAPS director of communications, is putting together a group to strategize about communication issues, Nelson said. He gave out her phone number – 734.994.2236 – and urged people to contact her if they are interested in getting involved.

Call if you would like to be on it (or try her email, , and perhaps help improve the AAPS web site. (Hope springs eternal, anyway.) I'm not sure why this committee is not publicized on the web site.

Third, apparently AAPS has an "Options" program geared toward attracting homeschoolers and people who want to take online courses into the AAPS system. Here's the link. The program is open to anyone in the Washtenaw ISD district. This seems like a back door way into Schools of Choice. I have to find out about the funding flow for this. Typically in Schools of Choice the person coming in brings in whatever their district's per-pupil funding is. Since AAPS has higher per-pupil funding than any other district in the county, it is a disincentive for AAPS to open up the district to choice students. Either this funding mechanism works differently, or it is just that online courses are much cheaper to operate, so it is still a net profit. [If you know, please comment.]

Last, but not least, Jeff Kass is doing something really fun and interesting (if you are into poetry and/or theater). Wrestling the Great Fear: A Performance Poetica, will be performed on Wednesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater in the Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor. Admission is $5. To reserve tickets or for more information, call (734) 223-7443 or email Jeff Kass at Go if you can.

P.S. Take my poll, just open for a few more days, on the right hand side of the screen.

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