Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kindergarten Blues

A parent I know whose child goes to one of our southeast Ann Arbor Public Schools says that her daughter, who is in kindergarten, gets a packet full of worksheets every week for homework. She, as a parent, finds it takes her quite a bit of time at least twice a week to work with her daughter on these worksheets.

Another friend, hearing about this, is thinking seriously about sending her daughter to Rudolf Steiner. The Rudolf Steiner school follows a Waldorf, play-based curriculum and actually does not believe in teaching young children to read, but rather believes it is important developmentally to wait. In the Waldorf world, they are more interested in developing "critical thinking and innovation, open-mindedness and compassion."

Hearing this, I feel very sad. My oldest son experienced a very play-based curriculum in kindergarten and first grade. One of my favorite memories from that year was when a group of children decided to design a city. When I arrived at the end of the day they had not gotten very far, but they had figured out where they would put the church, the synagogue, and the mosque. [That, perhaps, is what happens when there are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim kids in the class.]

Seven years later, I noticed that there was a big difference in the kindergarten and first grade experience for my youngest son. The class was much more structured and there was much less time for open play. Unfortunately, it appears that in the years since my youngest son finished kindergarten that trend has greatly accelerated.

Where does this trend come from? Friend #2, above, says to me (completely unsolicited--I don't even think she knew I was involved with Ann Arbor STOP: Stop Overtesting Our Pupils), "is all this testing really necessary?"

And the answer, of course, is no. There is no reason to use the NWEA MAP test on kindergartners or first graders, something that we have been doing in the Ann Arbor Public Schools without a good reason for doing so, and apparently without an evaluation plan (at least, none that has been made public).  Its use exacerbates a trend toward "test prep" worksheets.

There is no reason that we shouldn't be teaching reading or math, social studies or science using a play- and project-based curriculum with early elementary students. If they are going to give kindergartners homework (which, to me, is questionable in any case), can't they at least be fun projects?

Friday, January 25, 2013

So How Are Those Emergency Manager School Districts Doing?!

I took this from the Save Michigan's Public Schools facebook page (a good page to join if you are interested), and it kind of boggles the mind.

Under the management of EFM Don Witherspoon, Muskegon Heights, the first fully privatized Michigan school district, has just borrowed $3.5 million from the State of Michigan. From Gongwer:

"Two of the school districts currently under emergency financial management were approved Friday for a total $6.5 million in emergency loans from the state.

The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board found that both Highland Park Public Schools and Muskegon Heights Public Schools would run deficits for the current school year and needed the loans to cover those shortfalls.

Highland Park will borrow $3 million and Muskegon Heights $3.5 million. Under the loan agreements, Treasurer Andy Dillon would have to approve use of the funds, which are only to pay vendors.

The districts are alone in having their operations passed to a charter school management company as part of the effort to repair their finances. Managers in both districts found they would not be able to balance their budgets under their prior management structures."

Well, I guess they couldn't balance their budgets under the new management structures, either, and. . . oh, yeah. . . with the new management structures there is no public representation. . . 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Real Life NWEA MAP Experiences, Part II

You might have noticed that I am part of a group, Ann Arbor STOP: Stop Overtesting Our Pupils, which is working to reduce the amount of standardized testing in the Ann Arbor district. We have a facebook page (which you can join)
a petition (which you can still sign),
and we are hoping to get more discussions going in the district.

Anyway, probably because of all of this,  I've been getting emails and tweets about the testing from parents and from teachers.

And in addition to complaints about the actual tests, this fall I had another complaint to add. The district higher-ups (Dr. Green & Co.) told the schools to give the MAP test on Yom Kippur--a three-star holiday on which no tests are supposed to be given because of the district's own policy--which says:

School district employees may not schedule any of the following during these (three star) holidays.

   1. Major exams
   2. Reviews for major exams
   3. Standardized tests 

[Read the full policy here.]

Yes, you read that correctly: Standardized Tests. The district said, "Oh, it's not a test. It's an 'assessment.'  To be perfectly honest, and to speak very politely, that's. . . balderdash. . . hogwash. . . or more honestly. . . bullshit.

And what this meant that my son. . . who was out for Yom Kippur. . . had to miss some additional classes that his other classmates did not miss. For a standardized test I don't want him taking.

And this is in clear violation of the district's OWN policy. I didn't write the policy. The district did. Follow it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Real Life NWEA MAP Experiences, Part I

An acquaintance emailed me about her experience with her son taking the NWEA MAP test. I have only edited it to keep it anonymous. I appreciate that she took the time to write up this story.

My son is a dead-average reader. He's in second grade, and every single report card has had him right at the reading level that is the benchmark for that report period. If the goal is level I, he's at I -- not J, not H. 

[Editor's Note: This is how the Ann Arbor schools report on young readers on the report cards. . . as a Level A, B, C, etc. reader.]

When he entered 1st grade, he took the MAP test and scored in the 40th percentile. Fine. At the end of 1st grade, he scored in the 54th percentile. While the test wasn't sharing new information, it was confirming what we already knew. (His math scores, by the way, are quite high, but again, that's not info from the test, that's the test confirming life.)

So, we get his first report card in November (And whose brilliant idea is it to test kids in September and tell parents how they did in November? Is it some kind of secret?) 

[Editor's Note: Not only that, but the NWEA MAP reporting to parents is entirely useless. If the whole "strength" of the MAP test is in its detailed information, that does not come through in the reporting, which provides no detail at all.]

His reading percentile was 6. This was surprising -- not at all in line with what we were seeing in real life, and not at all aligned with his report card, which continued to show him reading right at grade level. So I took a closer look.

Not only was his score (not percentile, but the actual score) quite low for his grade (and remember, one of the "great" things about MAP is that the scale stays the same year to year, so you should be able to see growth from year to year), but it was lower than it was at the beginning of 1st grade. According to this test, he had lost reading ability in the last year -- and actually a significant amount.

OK, so I know, his teacher knows, the principal knows that that's bad data. I don't know what happened the day he took the test, but his score didn't reflect what he could do. 

But consider that his teacher and the school will still be judged by a score that is obviously wrong. His last year's teacher will still have a kid from whom she allegedly removed the ability to read. On the flip side, his teacher this year will look like a miracle worker, because next time he takes the test he'll probably score in the average range -- what growth!!

And this is one of the big problems with using test scores to measure kids, teachers or schools. 

There's no opportunity to do a reality check.

It reminds me of once when I brought my son to the doctor and they measured him and said he had shrunk by about an inch. I could not convince the PA to remeasure him, that that could not be right. The data is never wrong. It must be me. Or him. Even when the facts and common sense disagree.

[Editor's Note: How about sending the entire Board of Education your concerns or a story about the NWEA MAP test? Email them at: Alternatively, sign our petition.]

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Participate in the Ypsilanti-Willow Run Process

I got this in my email today from a local group, Success by 6:
The Willow Run and Ypsilanti school consolidation must involve community members to be successful.  On Thursday, January 24th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm you are invited to participate in the launching of the Community Advisory Groups.

Remember: When Opportunity Knocks, Open the Door! 
[In other words: participate in this project. Please.]

The email included two flyer attachments, which I am pasting in here. 

Building Unity
Launching Advisory Groups to implement the 
Unified District Design

Thursday, January 24, 2013, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

• Overview Presentation
• Dinner
• Breakout Advisory Group Sessions
• Feedback on proposed district names

Willow Run Auditorium, 235 Spencer Lane, Ypsilanti
RSVP TO: Brenda Hegwood, or call
(734) 994-8100, ext. 1283

Here is some information about the possible advisory groups that you could join. There is a reason that they also say "short- and long-term commitment options available." If you can't go to the meeting, email Brenda Hegwood and tell her you can't go to the meeting and identify the advisory group you would like to join.

• Board  of  Education 
• Transition  Steering  Committee  (TSC-°©‐9  members  comprised  of  board,  superintendents  and  WISD  staff) 
• Transition  Task  Force  (25  members  comprised  of  TSC,  chairs  of  advisory  groups  and  district  leadership 
• Community  Advisory  Groups  (up  to  50  members  in  each  group)  responsible  for  planning  and  coordinating  implementation  of  the  educational  pillars: 
            1. Early  Childhood  (birth  to  kindergarten  entry) 

            2. Positive  Culture  and  Climate 

            3. High  Quality  Teachers  and  Teaching 

            4. Effective  Leadership  at  all  Levels 

            5. Opportunities  for  College  Credit/Career  Credentials  before  graduation 

            6. Shared  Identity  and  Naming 

            7. Co‐curricular  activities 

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #1    Early  Childhood 
Charge    Examine  and  develop  a  pre‐natal  to  kindergarten  entry  program  to  prepare  students  for  kindergarten 
Key  tasks    Research  to  support  a  successful  family  development  center  that  includes  an  array  of  information  from  health  to  community  resources;  assessing  community  needs  to  support  program  implementation  for  kindergarten  readiness;  examining  program  models  using  blended  funding  models  to  offer  full  day  early  childhood  education  and  care  programs  tailored  to  different  family  needs 
Timeline    January--December  2013  

[Success by 6 actually has a contractual job opening posted for a one-year grant-funded position to support the development of a family development center. You can read more about the position here. Let's just remember that any family development center has to be able to survive without grant funding in the long-term, or--alternatively--with long-term grant funding identified.]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #2    Positive  Culture  and  Climate 
Charge    Implement  a  model  of  character  education  to  restore  and  enhance  a  respectful  learning  environment 
Key  tasks    implement  effective  school  culture  and  safety  models  and  approaches;  professional  learning  for  families  and  staff  related  to  culture  and  achievement;  encourage  student  empowerment  and  leadership  through  programs  and  civic  engagement;  develop  an  alternative  education  program 
Timeline    January--April  2013  

[WHAT? Why is developing an alternative education program part of Positive Culture and Climate and not part of High Quality Teachers and Teaching?]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #3    High  Quality  Teachers  and  Teaching 
Charge    Recommend  a  viable,  community--focused  instructional  strategy  for  kindergarten  through  high  school  with  the  focus  on  engagement  and  achievement 
Key  tasks    outline  teacher  characteristics  and  skills;  recommend  teacher  selection  process;  endorse  instructional  models  for  elementary  and  secondary  programs;  identify  balanced  schools  calendar  models  (versus  current,  traditional  calendar  with  summers  off);  pinpoint  an  instructional  leadership  system  to  support  teacher--leaders;  recommend  an  effective  student  support  strategy  for  special  education  students;  identify  a  productive  professional  development  model. 
Timeline    January    April  2013  2 

[Regarding recommending a teacher selection process, that had better happen very quickly! Regarding a balanced schools calendar vs. a traditional calendar, you may want to put your input in on that! The evidence connecting a balanced calendar with better teaching is rather weak, but there are some advantages to it.]
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #4    Effective  Leadership  at  all  Levels 
Charge    Defining  effective  leadership  and  recommending  models  to  support 
Key  tasks    Craft  an  outline  to  capture  qualities,  characteristics  and  skills  of  proven  leaders  and  using  this  as  a  guide  for  developing  leaders 
Timeline    January  --  May  2013 

[First the group needs to define who they are including as "leaders."]
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR#5    College  Credit  and  Career  Credentials 
Charge    A  multi‐faceted  program  that  provides  opportunities  for  all  students  to  earn  college  credit  or  career  credentials  prior  to  graduation 
Key  tasks    Explore  a  myriad  of  options  for  students  that  can  include  dual  enrollment,  accelerated  graduation,  AP  and  IB  courses  and  direct  credit;  examine  career  options/technical  training  programs;  secure  key  partnerships  to  provide  a  support  system  to  ensure  completion  of  college  courses  or  career  training 
Timeline    January    April  2013  

[I'm not sure if we are reinventing the wheel here, or if it is because we are creating a new district and it's more of a matter of transferring key partnerships.]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #6    District  Shared  Identity  and  Naming 
Charge    Develop  a  strong  shared  identity  for  the  unified  district  including  a  district  name,  mascot  and  school  colors  (secondary  schools) 
Key  tasks    Develop  a  means  to  engage  internal  and  external  stakeholders  in  the  process  of  selecting  a  name,  mascot  and  school  colors.  This  task  will  include  gleaning  feedback  through  suggestion  boxes  in  all  district  schools  and  the  public  library  as  well  as  through  facilitated  public  forums.  A  committee  comprised  of  a  cross‐section  of  stakeholders  will  sift  through  the  names  that  resonate  most  with  the  community  and  make  a  recommendation  to  the  Board  of  Education 
Timeline    January    February  2013 

[This has gotten the most attention so far in the media, but it's probably the least important advisory group here. I don't think people will choose or not choose the district because it's Ypsilanti Unified or Eastern Washtenaw. . . which, by the way, people do know there is already an Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy that is a local charter school, right?] 
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #7    Co‐Curricular  Activities 
Charge    Using  the  key  educational  pillars  as  a  guide,  develop  a  co-curricular  program  that  will  enhance  and  support  the  goals  of  the  unified  school  district
 Key  tasks    Outline  an  athletic  program  that  embraces  the  sports  traditions  of  both  districts  while  setting  standards  that  promote  the  academic  pillars  of  the  unified  district;  design  clubs  and  extra  curricular  activities  that  align  and  embrace  the  objectives  of  the  unified  district. 
Timeline    January    June  2013  

[I do think sports and clubs are key; if a balanced calendar is chosen, how will that affect them?]

So, PLEASE. . . whether you are a citizen or a professional with an interest in the districts (for instance, a teacher or custodian). . . PARTICIPATE! There is lots of room. There is space for up to 50 people on each advisory group!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Investigating High Schools

I have an eighth grader. That means that we have been investigating high school options.

We are districted to Skyline High School, so that is our default option, and we will go to the curriculum night next week.

Meanwhile, my husband took my son to a Community High School orientation. It was "enthusiastic," "very crowded," and "excellent" according to them. Also, they said it didn't seem particularly "rehearsed" (which in their mind was a good thing). And depending on how many people apply, my son has somewhere between a 20% and 40% chance of getting in as a freshman. . . also, it's only available to Ann Arbor students. Three major attractions of the school: its small size; the amount of choice that students have in taking classes; and the Jazz Band and Dance Body programs (you can dual enroll for those, as well as other classes). Find out more here.

We decided to visit the Washtenaw International High School, which is a consortium program that lives at the former Ypsilanti East Middle School. [It's a consortium which excludes some of the west-side-of-the-county districts, but people in those districts can go by choosing to enroll as a school of choice student in a district like Ypsilanti. On a side note, Dexter is developing their own IB program.]  I expected not to like the school, but I was actually quite impressed. The International Baccalaureate program is very intensive and in contrast to Community High School there are not a lot of choices. Everybody takes four years of a language. Everybody takes two science classes their freshman year, and science every year. Everybody writes a 4,000 word paper. In tandem with the rigorous nature of the program, this is a school for kids who want to think, not do rote learning. There are lots of labs in the science program; much of the literature comes from other countries and cultures; lots of the work is project-based. Those of you who have been wishing for a "gifted and talented" program, I think this will fit the bill--look no further!  Plus, the IB credits are accepted in the same way as AP credits are at various colleges and can give your kids a leg up. On the down side, there are only IM sports; there is 2-3 hours of homework a night; and parents are responsible for transportation. On the up side, it appears that a student's chances of getting in this year are 100%. (They are not expecting to be overrun with applications--yet. The school will graduate its first class in two years. It's a small school. You can go, even if you are an out of county student. Find out more at

Today I saw an acquaintance who told me that she has recently switched her son from Lincoln High School, where she felt he was falling through the cracks, to the newly-opened Arbor Prep charter high school. I asked her how he liked it. She said that sometimes he feels it is not a "real" high school (by which he means that it is quite small) but his grades are much better and he is more engaged. They give every student a laptop and put their books/curriculum on the laptop. The school says they follow a "college prep" curriculum, and a requirement of graduation is that you be accepted into a four-year college. [Admittedly, I think that is not necessarily difficult--but what is nice about it, is that it is a requirement then that you *apply* to college.] Arbor Prep is near the corner of Hitchingham and Merritt Roads in Ypsilanti Township. Arbor Prep is run by PrepNet, which is linked with the National Heritage Academies, and is a for-profit charter company. Anyway, you know I'm not a big fan of for-profit charter companies, but my acquaintance is very happy with her decision to move her son. It's a small school and he is not "fading into the woodwork," in her eyes.

And it makes me wonder--is it really about the size of the school? The one thing these three schools have in common is their size, which will be in the 400-600 student range when they are fully-occupied.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

MHSAA Waivers: The Times Are A-Changing (Slowly!)

There is a heart-warming story in today's about a Pioneer high school girl, Elena Boudreau, who got a waiver from MHSAA to play high school sports even though she has passed the traditional age cutoff. Only two kids in the state have gotten waivers so far, and the other kid is Eric Dompierre from Ishpeming, whose father--Dean Dompierre--petitioned and campaigned to get the Michigan High School Athletic Association to change their rules. I wrote about this back in August--read the Free Press's story here.

[By the way, partly but not only because of Dompierre's story, Sports Illustrated named Ishpeming High School an Underdog of the Year, and you can read the SI story here. And here is the lovely SI photo essay.]

MHSAA has a history of not being able to see the forest for the trees. It took Dean Dompierre two-and-a-half years to get MHSAA to do something that half of the other states in the country had already figured out how to do! Read about another of MHSAA's decisions here that took years and years and years. (This one involves women's sports and Title IX.)

Interestingly enough, in the comments to the story there is a writer named Evergreen who states,
We went through the same thing with our 19 year old autistic daughter Asia and MHSAA in 2000. We had held her back one year entering middle school when we saw the teacher she was to have, would not pay any attention to Asia. MHSAA refused to let her participate in cross country and track in her senior year and she was usually qualifying in the top 6 runners most weeks. We even threatened to slip her in just before the start of the race because running was her number one interest, her number one claim to be a main stream student, and acceptance by her peers.
What finally made it happen was that Coach Steve Porter, who still coaches at Milan H.S. got all the other schools to sign off that she would run but not be counted. Perfect! Asia didn't care about placing, just running and being on a level playing field with class mates.
How important was the running to Asia? She has run EVERY DAY for 15 years averaging about 5 miles a day. She has run 134 races including 5K, 10K, 10 mile, 1/2 marathons and 3 full marathons. The 134 does not include high school where she lettered 4 years in track and CC or Special Olympics which she competed in for 5-6 years at the county and state levels.
We are certainly glad to see that the MHSAA can be educated also! [emphasis added]

Help Wanted



I have less time (for blogging) than I'd like
I have more ideas for stories than ever before
Washtenaw County schools need our attention
I'd like to publish more frequently, not less frequently

SO. . . 
If you are interested in becoming a co-blogger or a guest blogger. . . please contact me!
Email me at rlk234 [@]

[Note: Your ideas and analysis don't have to be exactly like mine. On the other hand, they can't be antithetical to mine either. In other words, if you are supporting the privatization and profiteering off of public education, don't apply.]

Monday, January 7, 2013

Choosing Schools (The 2013 Edition)

Ann Arbor Public School Choices

In Ann Arbor, in response to some of the new county-wide options, the Magnet and School of Choice timelines have been moved up, relative to last year, and there are a few additional changes.

Elementary and Middle School

Ann Arbor Open: If you want to apply to this K-8 school, then you are encouraged to come to the Open House and you must do either an Orientation and/or a Tour. (Depending on how you choose to do this, there are different instructions on the web site. Find the application information here.)  Here are the dates for the Open Houses and Orientations:
Sunday, January 13, 2-4, Open House
Wednesday, January 16, 6:30-8 p.m., Parent Orientation
Sunday, February 3, 1-2:30 p.m., Parent Orientation

According to Liz Margolis, AAPS Director of Communications, whether there will be any in-district transfers offered for other AAPS elementary or middle school will be determined in the next few weeks. (In past years, there have been limited spaces at about half of the elementary schools and one or two of the middle schools.) 

High School

Community High School: If you want to apply to this school, located in downtown Ann Arbor and open to students throughout the Ann Arbor school district, a parent/guardian and a student must attend one of these orientations:
  • Tuesday, January 8, 2013,  7:00-8:30 PM        
  • Sunday, January 13,  2013, 2:00-3:30 PM                
  • Thursday, January 31, 2013,  7:00-8:30 PM 
  • Monday, February 4, 2013, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • Thursday, February 7, 2013, 7:00-8:30 PM               
Applications are due Friday, February 8th, by 4 p.m. at the CHS main office. Applications are available here.

Skyline High School: Curriculum night is January 23d, with tours beginning at 5 p.m. and curriculum presentations at 6:30 p.m. There are 100 slots available to incoming ninth-grade students from other parts of the Ann Arbor school district. Applications are due by February 8th at 4 p.m. Getting into Skyline does not mean that you will get into the magnet program of your choice (that happens in 10th grade). Find out more and get applications here. [The link to "Open Enrollment," found at the very bottom of the Skyline home page, appears to be broken. When it is fixed I will add it.] I think you can access the application form from the front page here. Don't click the "enrollment" link unless you want to know about general enrollment into the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Have questions? Contact Tanishia Peterson at

Pioneer High School and Huron High School have 25 spaces each available for students who live in  other parts of the Ann Arbor school district. Unfortunately they are only available to incoming ninth grade students. Parents are responsible for transportation. Applications are due by February 7th. Read about the application process, and download the applications, here. According to Liz Margolis, AAPS Director of Communications, there are no special information sessions scheduled. She said that the high schools have set up information sessions at the middle schools, and that's it. [Note the difference between this and the other schools? There is no systematized opportunity for parents to get information. They really don't get it.]

Other (non-Ann Arbor) School Options 

In addition to the possibilities listed below, most of the other school districts have school of choice programs. Look at the individual district web sites for more information.

You'll notice that for the first time I am including a couple of charter schools in this list. Obviously there are lots of charters, but these two are ones that are: a) non-profit; b) in one case, operated by our local community college and in the other supporting the same kind of "open" philosophy that Ann Arbor Open has, but you can go there even if you don't live in Ann Arbor; and 3) my friends who have children in those schools have been pretty positive about them.

Elementary and Middle School

Honey Creek (a non-profit, K-8 charter school with an "open" philosophy): The school is open to K-8 students residing in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District catchment area. This resembles, but does not exactly match, the county boundaries. (For instance, if you are in the Grass Lake or South Lyon school district, but you live in Washtenaw County, you are not eligible.)
Applicant families are required to attend an enrollment meeting, which I believe are scheduled from 5:30-7:30, January 22nd and January 28th at Honey Creek, which is in the WISD building. Applications are then accepted between February 1 and February 15th (postmarked by. . . most of the other applications need to be in the office by the date stated above). Find out more information here.

High School

Washtenaw International High School: a consortium program that involves most of the local school districts, this school follows the International Baccalaureate curriculum. It opened in 2011 with 9th graders only, so this coming year there will be 9th-11th graders.

Information nights for this program are January 10, 15, and 30, 7-9 p.m. at 510 Emerick Street, Ypsilanti, MI. Get more information about the program at or call (734) 994-8145. Applications are due February 8, 2013.

Early College Alliance (consortium program at Eastern Michigan University) is a consortium program that allows students to graduate from high school with up to 60 college credits. Most local school districts participate (check the partners page to see if your school district is participating). The remaining information sessions are on: January 8th at Pioneer High School and January 9th at the EMU Student Center. (I know! Short notice! There were several sessions in December. I don't think they are mandatory though.) Both sessions are from 6:30-8 p.m. Enrollment is open to 9th and 10th graders. Find out more here.

Washtenaw Technical Middle College (nonprofit charter, operated by and on location at Washtenaw Community College): WTMC is now open for 9th-12th graders. (Previously it was a 10th-12th grade program.) I got this from the web site: Admissions "invitationals will be held on January 17 (early admissions) and February 6 (regular admissions) in the Towsley Auditorium of the Morris Lawrence Building, on the campus of Washtenaw Community College. Information about the WTMC Ninth Grade Academy will be provided at a separate invitational event, held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. This invitational will also take place in the Morris Lawrence Building on WCC's campus." I'm not sure exactly what early admissions vs. regular admissions means. My impression from the kids I've known who have successfully gone to WTMC is that the students who do best are fairly independent in their orientation to school, work, and activities. Find out more here.

[Updated 1/8/13] New Tech High School: It occurs to me that I should add Ypsilanti's New Tech High School to this list. This program has been praised by several families that I know. However, there is a lot that is up in the air with this program next year given the Ypsilanti/Willow Run consolidation. The unified board has agreed to keep the program, but it may not be in the same location.

There are some other options, including private schools and other charters. For them, though, you will have to do your own research.

And while you are looking, remember what Sy Syms says: 
"An educated consumer is our best customer."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Promise of 2013

On the last Sunday in 2012, the New York Times magazine section ran a series of pieces, entitled The Lives They Lived. [It's an interesting and varied series of short pieces, well worth your time.]

When I opened it up, I found the following excerpt from Adrienne Rich's poem, Dreams Before Waking (1983). [Read the full poem here. It's beautiful.]

[Many years ago I worked on a Jewish feminist journal with Adrienne Rich. Read more about Bridges here.]

The excerpt?
What would it mean to live
in a city whose people were changing
each other's despair into hope? --
You yourself must change it. --
what would it feel like to know
your country was changing? --
You yourself must change it. --
Though your life felt arduous
new and unmapped and strange
what would it means to stand on the first
page of the end of despair?
Considering the education legislation that we are likely to face in Michigan in 2013, this seems an apt place to start.

We ourselves must change it.

Don't be a bystander.