WATERFORD (WWJ) – What will it take to improve achievement by Michigan’s poorest performing schools?
One approach: change the way education is delivered while maintaining certain core values. That’s what educators, parents, clergy, elected officials and others are discussing at a series of meetings this month and next in advance of the Michigan Education Achievement System takeover of five percent of the state’s under-achieving schools.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting spoke with EAS chancellor John Covington.
“If we really look at it, and look at the structure of public schooling in the country, the way that we currently deliver education programs and services are the same ways we delivered those services when you and I were in school,” Covington said.
“So, you have 21st Century digital native children who are exiting their mother’s womb, with a laptop in one hand and a cell phone in another, but we’re still using a 1920s model,” he said.
The education structure must change, he says, to make it more applicable to digital age students.
Judy Munn of United Way also works in high schools in Pontiac and Madison Heights. She wants to see curriculum changes that help failing schools.
Munn said we’ve been getting it wrong for a long time.
“We need to help teachers look at the new curriculums, the new modes of teaching, the new technology, so that they can engage kids who, otherwise, are falling asleep because the teacher’s not passionate, they don’t have the tools to instruct,” said Munn.
“They’re good teachers — not to say that they’re not passionate about the work — but (they need) professional development to support them in doing that,” she said.
In the 10 scheduled sessions, the aforementioned stakeholders will offer input on what the Michigan Education Achievement System’s mission, core values, and school design should be.
The EAS will begin acquiring poorly-performing Michigan schools next fall.