Education Blackboard — March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

School Beat Are schools political or practical? by RANDY SELLHORN, Trustee, Board of Education I have been a school board trustee for many years now. I have come to expect certain things at certain times of the year as we move through the activities of a school year. Kindergarten roundup, graduation, budget development, purchasing buses to replace worn vehicles, spring break, all of these events happen at a similar time each school year. Let me share with you what I expect from an election year. This being an election year and the start of spring drills for political football season is underway. Political football season comes every two years, when politicians select their “platform” to promote their election campaigns. I am certain at the top of the list of platform topics will be Michigan’s failing public schools and the cost of public school funding. They feel that bashing public schools is a winning play almost as certain to score votes as the wrap-around draw (a favorite play of Rockford football fans) is to score a touchdown. I would be foolish to claim that there are not public schools that deserve the reputation the politicians will describe, and equally foolish if I told you the current budget circumstances can be easily resolved. The politicians will claim that public schools fail to graduate the majority of the students that start school in the ninth grade; that the schools will not accept accountability for student performance, that they are economically inefficient, that they are attempting to overtax the residents, and schools are unwilling to change to correct these shortcomings. I want to demonstrate to you that they are not talking about Rockford Public Schools when they make their accusations. I am here to proclaim that Rockford Public Schools is an example of what is right about public school education. We have high expectations for our students and ourselves. We get extraordinary results from both. We graduate almost every student that starts the ninth grade in Rockford. Only 2.2% drop out; some of those are transfers to another school to complete their education. In addition, every graduate of Rockford High School since the class of 1995 is required to pass a reading and mathematics proficiency test to receive a diploma. […]