Only (1) candidate from outside of Michigam???
Only (4) candidates that our Trustees are going to interview?
And (1) of those (4) is an internal candidate?
FPS is in trouble deep and declining. This "effort" is at risk of being insufficient to meet the needs of the district.
At the March Board meeting, Instructional Services Administrators presented the results of the 2013 Statre assessment of FPS. At every grade level the summary statement include the report of further decline with multiple incidences of student performance falling below County and State averages. 2013 caps a decade of declining student performance. It is actually worse. The January Board packet included a County report that included the statement that County and State level educators all recognize that the MEAP performance cutoff scores have fallen below the National Standards of the NAEP and the need to reset them higher. FPS is spiraling downward to a worse extent on a national level.
That same County report also discredited the use of student course grades as a measure or standard of performance. Yet, both December and January Board meetings included Instructional Services department presentations doing just that. FPS substituted a C- Course Grade in place of the State Assessment Standard of Proficient provided at each grade level from 3rd to 9th Grade for multple subjects, the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade NAEP Standard of Proficient, and the ACT and MME Proficient Standard of performance at the high school level. What was accomplished by the substitution of the Standards of Proficiency with a C- Course Grade? The standards of proficiency report the need of 70% of all students need intervention and support programs to become proficient. The curriculum is being ineffectively delivered in their classrooms. The use of the C- Grade for "proficiency" allows FPS to claim only 30% of the students are not proficient and are mostly Black or Economically Disadvantaged. This supports their program of intervention and support programs only for those students leaving the rest of the students behind.
The January Board meeting included an Instructional Services Department presentation that again used a C- Grade as a "standard" of "proficiency". This allowed them to increase the reported number of Black and Economically Disadvantaged students who are proficient but are not enrolling in AP Classes or the IB Program. Coupled with a chart showing under-representation of Black and Economically Disadvantaged Students currently enrolled in AP Classes and the IB Program based on their respective percentages of the total student population, they created a class warfare problem using the flawed and fraudulent use of the C- course Grade to justify additional support and intervention to increase AP Class and IB Program enrollment by Black and Economically Disadvantaged students. Selective noneducationally based programming that continues the district practice of ignoring the educational issues that the State Assessments report annually and consistently at all grade levels for all subjects tested and avoiding any accountability for what is and is not occurring in the classrooms of the district.
I have heard from building administrators, teachers, and parents alike of a lack of adequate discipline in our schools and classrooms. At a recent Board meeting, the Instructional Services Department presented a review of district discipline in which they advocated putting an end to progressive suspensions. Their argument was that the most common cause for progressive suspensions is classroom tardiness and that the wrong students are most often "victims" of this practice. The FPS curriculum focuses on the skills, practices, and habits of successful learners in 4th Grade. Getting to class on time is a 4th Grade skill. Why does the district think that demonstrating a 4th Grade skill is too onerous and an unfair expectation of a high school student? And tardiness is a overt demonstration of a total lack of respect for both the teacher and all of the tardy student’s classmates. This district proposal implies a district claim that that is an acceptable behavior. And we have a highly compensated, highly skilled teacher ready to deliver the curriculum, a classroom of some 25 students who arrived on time, are prepared, and ready to learn that are all disrupted, put on hold and redirected to mollify, accommodate, and to reach out and understand the habitual offender? This proposal, like the other district practices and policies discussed above are upside down and backward.
But Farmington is not alone. FPS is a participant in coalitions of County and State schools that are advocating and practicing these activities in place of education. Nationally they have their advocates and practitioners as well. I wrote to both the Board and School Exec Connect urging that the Board engage SEC to perform a 3rd party assessment of FPS from a national perspective and then to proactively identify and solicit national superintendent candidates with a proven record of addressing the findings of the assessment. The current Board timeframe is artificially and unnecessarily short. After throwing $75K away on a biased special election, there is no excuse not to invest in a national assessment and search. There is still time.
Write questions to the Board that you want them to ask on your behalf. Send a copy to the Observer as a public record. Attend or watch the candidate interviews to determine if you think any of the candidates will turn this District atround. Then let your decision be heard. (0) Finalists from these (4) candidates may be the correct decision.