Sunday, February 16, 2014

Latest Ann Arbor Chronicle Column: Good Ideas, Flawed Process at AAPS

Here is my latest Ann Arbor Chronicle article. The focus is on Jeanice Swift's new proposals (mostly good) and the school board's lack of attention to process or to following the school board's own policies.

It starts like this:

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen good news and bad news coming out of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. 
Good news has come in the form of a new, enthusiastic, positive-energy, forward-looking superintendent in Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift. Her “Listen and Learn” tour was thorough and well-received by the community, followed by some quickly-implemented changes based on feedback from parents, teachers and staff. 
Swift also brought forward some longer-term initiatives that required approval from the AAPS board. Those include plans to address underutilized buildings, a new K-8 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) program, more language programming, and opening up AAPS to students outside the district through the Schools of Choice program. Those ideas are all positive. 
The bad news is process-related, tied to actions by the AAPS board. Mistakes of past years are being made again, as the school board fails to follow its own policies when implementing major changes to the schools. Specifically, the board continues to make important decisions after midnight, with scant information about costs or implementation. Some final votes are rushed through at the same meeting when the items are introduced, not allowing time for sufficient public input.
Read the rest here.

Embedded in the column, also, is the list of Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel members. The Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel is an invited group of community members--and I was asked to be on it. You can access the list directly here.

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