Sunday, June 8, 2008

Academic Fraud

In the following link from the Mackinac Center the author shows how when there is a question of whether there was financial fraud in the Detroit Public Schools there was a remedy in the courts. The author wonders why when promises were made and not followed through with in the education of the students, that the academic fraud had no immediate remedy.
The article goes on to show one possible solution made by a local school board. My “bottom up” award to the Rockford school board, headed by Dr. Michael Shibler.
At least one Michigan school district is taking a new approach to address the problem of academic fraud. Over a decade ago, Rockford Public Schools in Kent County recognized the need to guarantee that its graduates possess basic skills. If a student does not attain a certain level of competency, the district provides, and pays for, remedial education. In this way, Rockford seeks to ensure its diplomas are representative of academic achievement. Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford, recently challenged all public school districts in Michigan to adopt similar accountability measures.
I googled Dr. Michael Shibler and found this interview of him. I found it instructive as to his management style. He basically listened to everyone to come up with the needs of the community. He calls the people stakeholders in the educational system. They will be the ones paying the taxes and are the ones who will be directly affected by the policies. Next he makes all the people responsible for the implementation accountable for it’s success by applying consistent metrics to measure those results, and importantly by holding public meetings on the progress or lack thereof. The article is long but worth the read. Not being familiar with the politics of how a school system operates, I learned quite a bit.
Kent county followed the lead of Dr. Shibler in 2006
I like his approach. I really like the idea of individual school trying their own ideas, of having the freedom to try what they think will work. The Mackinac Center’s study asked what was the way for students to get satisfaction when faced with academic fraud. I think that having the threat of charter schools will help give the necessary incentive to public schools to try and cure themselves. Perhaps along the lines of the methods above. I hope they can as I also believe in the economies of scale the large schools can give. I like the idea of giving as many options to students as possible. As Dr. Shibler relates, a large school can cull enough students interested in a small subject that a smaller school could not. Maybe a Chinese language class, an art class, or perhaps an involved tech type class. I don’t know the answer, I know what I want and it is nice to think that a Dr. Shibler might be out there willing to listen to what I want then have the chutzpa and integrity to carry it out.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

2 comments: said...

Or you could take GRPS new Super's idea of making school attendance optional...

Wait... nevermind.

And folks wonder why there are waiting lists to get kids out of traditional public schools and into the Charters.


live dangerously said...

Choices Nick.
Conservatives are and always have been about choices. Our job is to show that. As the Brits would say Conservatives need to be the facillators for choice, for freedom.
Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative