Friday, January 22, 2010

News Roundup

Ypsilanti, Lincoln schools are cutting into the muscle. Willow Run, I believe, has reached the bone.

Ypsilanti is considering closing more schools.
Here is the district presentation:
Seriously, does anyone like the idea of K-6 schools? I think it would accelerate flow out of the district. I could see the attraction of K-8 schools. So if YPSD is going to cut a school, maybe they should consider turning two elementary schools into K-8 schools, and closing one of the middle schools.

Lincoln Schools are making major cuts, and thinking about closing Bessie Hoffman. This might drive some kids away from the district, but on the other hand, it would reduce transportation costs enough that it might be worth it.

Also note this quote from the Ypsilanti Courier article linked above:
The [Lincoln] district is currently reimbursed for 84 percent of its more than $9 million special education budget through the state and a Washtenaw Intermediate School District millage. The millage is up for renewal in the fall, but, even if it passes, the district will only be reimbursed for 55 percent of their special ed expenditures because of falling property values. If the millage doesn't pass, the district will only be reimbursed for 32 percent of its expenditures, forcing them to make $1.9 million in reductions.
The exact numbers might differ, but that special education renewal millage will be important for all of the school districts.

Willow Run has started laying off teachers.
Meanwhile, Saline teachers and administrators begin to negotiate.
And (in what is good news from my point of view), the Dexter school board shows some spine and declines to join the Race to the Top.
And I believe that not a single local teachers union has joined the Michigan Memorandum of Understanding for the Race to the Top either.
An article in the New York Times highlights the issues that states around the country are having with the Race to the Top. Some are declining to join the application process.


  1. I'm pondering this K-8 idea... It's true that charter and private schools do it... Maybe that's good?

    I don't know about K-6, but how is this so different from K-5, which AAPS has? I do know that many YPS families would be fine with moving kindergarten back into the elementaries.

    - YpsiAnon

  2. Some studies have shown better performance from kids who are in K-8 programs as opposed to elementary, than middle, than high school.

    A lot of people are unhappy with the way middle schools are set up. For myself, I've worked in a middle school, and I love working with middle-school-aged kids, but I think they don't offer kids the benefits of elementary school (continuity with knowing your teachers, personal connections) or the benefits of high school (lots of elective choice and more independence). I preferred the K-8 option.

    I think the K-6 question vs. K-5 is primarily a function of demographics. As for Kindergarten, do you want an early childhood education center, or to see it more as part of elementary school? I think there could be efficiencies with the early childhood education center but that might depend on the district.

  3. When your child attends kindergarten at such a center, they have a lovely year learning good things and making new friends. Then they leave most of those good friends behind when they go to first grade, since everyone is redistributed to the elementaries. That can be a tough transition, and is it really a necessary one? Also, parents don't put as much effort into becoming part of the school community when they're only there for a year.

    Some of the K-8 schools I've known have been too small to support any electives such as band, and that's been disappointing to some. Also, I think a lot of kids are ready to stretch socially and would like to meet new people. No documentation on that, just anecdotal and personal experience.

    These days, though, many of the things that did make middle school special are being cut, so that may make them irrelevant. Sad days.

    - YpsiAnon

  4. YpsiAnon--All good points. There are pros and cons to both of those systems--which is why (as you already know) I support having multiple options.