1. Is the Michigan Department of Education completely inept?
First comes the report that Ypsilanti High School has scored in the bottom 5% of all high schools in the state. Based on what I've seen, that didn't make any sense to me--and what about Willow Run? Their graduation rates are terrible. And then, three hours (yes, hours) before a big "transformation" grant is due, they are told that they are not eligible. Why? Um, they are not actually in the bottom 5% of all schools in the state. Generally, that's good news. But three hours? Ineptness, yes.
2. Why didn't more teachers take advantage of the early retirement offer?
(Multiple choice answer.)
A. The deal didn't give teachers a lot of time to decide.
B. The incentive wasn't that great.
C. The incentive came with a really big negative. If you accepted it, you couldn't come back as a part-time teacher (a common practice in several local districts), or as a curriculum adviser, or even as a baseball coach, without losing pension income during the time period you were actually working.
D. All of the above.
3. Will the state legislature take surplus money from the School Aid Fund?
Oh, you thought that money was earmarked for schools? It turns out that it is earmarked for "education." Any education--including community colleges and higher education. I do want us to support higher education, but not from this fund. It may not be a technical misappropriation, but it is truly a violation of people's understanding of the fund. [It's right up there with the fact that the state legislature took money out of the fund for matching political campaigns.] After all, K-12 education is mandatory. College is desirable, but it's not mandated. Short answer: Your guess is as good as mine.
4. Why does a2schools.org get you to the Ann Arbor Public Schools web site; and www.aaps.k12.mi.us gets you to the Ann Arbor Public Schools web site; but aaps.k12.mi.us gets you to "Problem Loading Page?"
Educated guess: because there is a problem with the web site.
5. Will Willow Run finally fire Doris Hope-Jackson, former Superintendent? And Willow Run High School is in the bottom 5% of high schools in the state. What are they going to do about that?
I don't know, and I don't know.
6. What was my favorite advice to date in the Three Things That Could Improve Michigan on WUOM? (Admittedly, I haven't heard all of them.)
My favorite advice to date came from Josie Parker, Director of the Ann Arbor District Library. "Be curious," she said. I think that's a great idea.