Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Will the Real Saline and Math Story Please Stand Up?

Between and Twitter, there is currently a raging debate about whether Saline Schools plans to cancel high school math and move it online. And to be honest, I have no "inside sources," but I can summarize the narrative. [People are googling "Saline and Math," so obviously inquiring minds want to know.]

A visitor to posted, on the Community Wall,
It has been brought to my attention that the superintendant for Saline has introduced a letter of intent that would eliminate the High School math department and replace it with online computer courses.
 Scot Graden, Saline Schools Superintendent, tweeted that "no decisions have been made" and sent out a letter to parents that said in part,
We are continuing to work through a challenging budget reduction process. Recently, there has been information shared with some staff members about possible mid-year reductions. It appears information discussed internally regarding “worst case scenario” options is now being shared as having already been decided. One of the scenarios, was related specifically to high school math and the possible use of online instruction. It is important to understand that no formal recommendations have been made to the Saline Board of Education regarding this option.
 Another commenter says that the Saline union was "given a list of names of Math teachers to be laid off."

Scot Graden tweeted that staffing decisions are on the board agenda for January 26th, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if the administration had given some possible strategies, and names, to the union.

In sum--I'm a little surprised that cutting out all math would be suggested, and I find it really hard to believe that it would work. But maybe that is a real proposal. Maybe it's a proposal that is meant to make a different proposal seem more "reasonable." Maybe it is not a proposal at all. [I will update this if you send me more information.]

BUT--more to the point--the decisions that school boards are making are on a very shortened timeline, because the state took so long to finalize the state budget. So, to some extent Scot Graden is being truthful: no decisions have been made. On the other other hand, it is very likely that some plans (whether cutting math, art, or any other teachers) will be decided at the January 26th meeting, and it is not fair to not share the proposed options in advance with the public.  The January 26th agenda is not posted yet, and neither is the January 26th board packet (is it ever?)--but there is always FOIA. I'll be happy to post anything, or an even better place would be the Ann Arbor Area Government Document Repository


  1. Does Saline High School have a weak math department? If so, it may be easier to envision this. Otherwise, online may be the answer for some situations, but not all. I would call our experience with online geometry the "lost year of math."

  2. You raise the issue of the Board packet. It is a constant irritation to me that Ypsilanti Public Schools don't have their packets on line. Is this the case with Saline, also?

    Its my experience that Saline High School has a strong math department....Their MEAP scores are always high. I would be alarmed if it was eliminated.