Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Tech and Budgets in Ypsilanti: A Good News, Bad News Story

Superintendent Dedrick Martin gave some sobering budget news to the high school teachers in Ypsilanti the other day. I know, that's not surprising, but it is important because the teachers are in the middle of union negotiations.

According to the teacher I spoke with though, his presentation could have been a lot worse. What made it better was that: a) she felt she was being told the truth, and b) the bad news was coupled with some good news. With the good news, Martin described changes that are being made at the middle school and high school levels (for the better, in her opinion). He also shared information about the prizes and accolades that Ypsilanti's New Tech High School has gotten--even though it is only in year two.

My conversation with this teacher reminded me of a conversation I had back in October about New Tech.
That conversation was with a cashier.
I was paying for some goods at a local store, and I must have been buying something related to schools, because my conversation with the cashier immediately turned to school.
Where, she asked, did my kids go to school? I told her.
I asked her where her kids went to school. 
Her son, she told me, was attending New Tech. She reported to me that when he started (last year, in ninth grade), he was way behind in school--particularly reading and math--and what was worse, he didn't care.
[An aside: if you've ever been a parent of a high school student who didn't care about school, it's very hard to even get them to show up at school. For parents, it's a very stressful and no-win situation.]

After a year at New Tech, though, she told me that he had started to care.
She said to me, "He's still behind, but now he's trying to catch up."

And that is some really, really good news.

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