Does Michigan need charter schools or just more parental involve - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Does Michigan need charter schools or just more parental involvement?

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Lansing WJBK -

There it was buried on page 24 of yet another voluminous report on how to improve education in our state.  

Yet the chances of a reporter finding it were pretty remote because the well-intentioned authors had staked out what they wanted the reporters to write about : The public wants more qualified teachers and is willing to invest in more pre-school education.

And reporters being reporters would rather be spoon-fed than wander off to page 24.

Regardless a tip of the hat, as Stephen Colbert likes to say, to the good folks at the Center for Michigan who spent thousands of dollars on town hall meetings. And then thousands more for polling data to either corroborate or repudiate the findings from the town halls regarding what the folks want to do about schools.

There is lots of stuff the Republicans will deep-six out of hand. That's because it goes counter to their market driven belief of introducing more competition into the system: If we just have more charters and more parental choice that competition will drive the public schools to improve or drive them out of business which many Democrats fear is the real reason the R's are jamming this stuff.

After all that competition dogma is how they do it in the business word; the good survive, the bad are devoured.  This is of course based on the premise that little Johnny and Janey are human widgets that could be "manufactured" in the same way day after day.

Ah but the report suggests, "we find considerably less enthusiasm for expanding school choice…an approach under intense consideration in Lansing."

On another favorite GOP front, they can hardly wait to reinvent the schools by shipping the students off to the Internet.  Just think of the money saved by getting rid of teachers which enhances the profit margin of those companies hawking this alternative. Never mind about quality control or oversight, just click your mouse to a high school diploma.

But there again the report concludes, "the public is somewhat skeptical especially if it means replacing traditional brick and mortar schools with more online-only schools."    
Heck what does the public know?

But back to page 24 where the real ticket to improving the system sits like a nugget waiting to be mined.

"More than eight out of ten participants said there was more schools could do to encourage greater family involvement in improving student success."


Unfortunately there was no consensus on how to get there, but if the research is correct, there is a direct and credible link between the child's success in school and the parent's participation in same.

Some one reported that placing washing machines and dryers in the schools "brought parents in."

Another used family events with free food to bring parents, kids and educators together without the pressure of having to pass a test.  While another called for more flexible schedules for conferences.

Reading to children is a precursor of academic achievement.  It needs to be hammered more and chuck all this debate over charters, school calendar, and educational pedagogy…whatever the heck that is.

Here's the sorry fact:  More parents go to football games than meet with teachers.

Maybe instead of spending thousands on interviews, the Center could pony up some parental involvement dollars and you would not need a legislative vote to do that and the results might negate the need for any more studies.

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