Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why I'm writing about the schools

I have a lot of time invested in the Ann Arbor Public Schools--as a parent, as a volunteer, as an outside presenter, and even as paid staff. My children have even more time invested in the schools.

Sometimes I find the schools satisfactory, and sometimes not, but in general I have a lot of questions. Questions about why things run the way they do. Questions about whether things could run better. Critiques about the schools. Ideas to improve them. And--in general--I believe that most of the staff wants the schools to work. But for whom? Are we teaching to the masses? To the top 10%? The bottom 10%? And are we succeeding? Anyway, what does it mean to succeed?

In addition, as the Ann Arbor News shrinks its coverage of everything (except maybe sports--which are important too), we are not getting the news we need about the schools. I believe that these are our schools--yes, the taxpayers--and we need to know what is going on. These are our schools--yes, the parents--and we need to be able to make decisions for our kids. These are our schools--yes, the staff--who often don't have a voice in decisions. These are our schools--yes, the students--and what students think also matters.

I also am interested in the other school districts in Washtenaw County, and about educational ideas in general, so you may occasionally find some news about other schools and ideas as well.

What are you interested in?


  1. Thanks for taking the initiative! Our family is just starting in the AAPS system, so this forum could prove very helpful. I look forward to your posts... and hope word spreads about your blog, and generates positive, varied discussions and responses!
    All the best,
    D. Rathjen

  2. I don't currently have a child in Ann Arbor schools although my step son graduated from there. I do have children who have attended Ypsi schools, private schools, and Saline Public Schools. Thank you for this blog and mentioning other school districts. I plan on bookmarking your site.

  3. Thanks for posting this Ruth. I've been slowly posting a bit of AAPS stuff myself at

    and noted this blog there.

    I was surprised in reading the minutes of the January Board of Education meeting that there was no public commentary recorded. They will accept written submissions, so at the very least you should be able to send something in to get it into the board packet (even if there isn't time to go to the actual meeting).