Education in Lansing

Governor Jennifer Granholm believes that Michigan’s educational system is in need of serious reconstructive surgery, and Lansing public schools are considering going under the knife.
At her State of the State Address on January 29, 2008, Granholm made several proposals to increase the performance and federal test scores of public schools in the state.
“We want every student in Michigan to leave high school with the skills it takes to succeed in college and the workplace,” Granholm said in her address.
Granholm suggested replacing large schools that fail to meet the federal standards with smaller five year academies that would grant students a high school diploma and associate‘s degree upon graduation.
Not everyone in Lansing is so enthusiastic about Granholm’s plans. Natalie Maluchnik, secretary at Bingham Elementary School, 121 Bingham St., just shook her head when asked her thoughts about Granholm’s plans.
“I just don’t see them as being realistic,” said Maluchnik.
Bingham Elementary School Principal Freya Rivers jumped in and said “I think the smaller high schools are a great idea”.
Rivers went on to say that if Granholm could pull it off, though it would be very hard to, it would be good for the schools.
Maluchnik added that they are all good ideas, but she does not see them happening. She said that it is so much more easier said than done.
Then you have to take into account those parents who don’t read the paper or watch the news. They are uninformed about the content of Granholm’s State of the State Address.
Tara Mitchell, 31, said that she was completely uniformed about Granholm’s plans although she thinks that they are great ideas and would benefit the educational system greatly.
Mitchell has three children that attend Fairview Elementary School, 815 N. Fairview Ave., ages 9, 6 and 5. She said that Lansing Public Schools are behind on a lot of things.
“They need a higher curriculum and better education,” said Mitchell, suggesting what Lansing could do to improve education.
Iris Salters, Michigan Educational Association President was quoted in the Detroit News saying, “We need to help schools meet a different mandate- to prepare students for engaged citizenship in a diverse democracy and productive employment in a high-tech global economy,”. She went on to say that the main mission is that schools need to evolve.
Lansing schools reportedly have a student population of 37,383 that attend 81 schools in 23 public school districts and 21 private schools.
Though this is a large student population, Governor Jennifer Granholm finds that the school districts are not working effectively.
In her address Granholm spoke about the drop out age, proposing that the age be raised to 18 instead of the standing 16 years of age.
Granholm and Salters seem to agree on one thing, students need to have the correct preparation so that they can go out into the world after graduation and have a successful life.
Shannon Pugh, a Michigan State University Mathematics sophomore, also believes that students aren’t getting the adequate learning that they need.
Pugh tutors students throughout the week in mathematics and chemistry at Eastern High School, 220 N. Pennsylvania Ave. She said Lansing Public Schools are horrible.
“Eastern has a lot of refugees from different countries and the school system holds them to the same standards of Eurocentric curriculum”. She added, “It’s unfair not to have a greater connection with ESL-English as a Second Language. There should be more centered curriculum for them”.
Eastern High School is one of three area high schools that have failed to make adequate yearly progress since No Child Left Behind took effect five years ago.
Maluchnik had three children in Lansing Public Schools. “I took my two sons out, and put them in Catholic schooling. I wish I would’ve done the same with my daughter but she stayed in Lansing Public Schools,” said Mitchell.
She said, the education was very poor and she was not satisfied with what her children were getting.
Maluchnik’s children are grown and out of school now, and the times have changed. Society is much different than it was say 20 or 30 years ago, when all you needed was determination to work hard and availability.
Now, it is almost imperative that students coming out of high school be prepared and ready to attend college so that they can specialize in a specific field.
Though Granholm’s plans sound good, it will be interesting whether or not they come to fruition. Though many Lansing residents doubt her, they are still hoping for a change to what many also feel is a poor, and lacking school district.

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