Percent of students that take and pass their AP tests in Lansing public high schools, and their college readiness index score according to U.S. News

Lansing public high schools struggling to make students college-ready

The Lansing Public School District has gained an outstanding reputation for their high schools from some. But others say the academics are as poor as Detroit Public Schools. Michigan State University academic advisor David Williams has worked in East Lansing for over 5 years, and currently has children in high school. Due to the reputation of the high schools in the Lansing area Williams sends all three of his kids to Okemos High School. Williams said the academics and environment of some public high schools isn’t something that allows students to grow and progress positively academically.

Lansing public school buses line up outside of Eastern High School on March 15, 2016. Photo by Taylor Skelton

‘It is an option that I wish more parents would explore:’ Homeschool community succeeds in Lansing

 

About 24 years ago, Kim Winter and her husband started Lansing’s largest homeschool support group, Christian Home Educators’ Support System (CHESS). Years later the organization has grown to serve nearly 300 homeschooling families in the greater Lansing area. CHESS focuses on helping parents and training them to be better teachers for their children. Additionally, they provide co-op meetings and enrichment days for students. With a home school community like Lansing’s, Winter says there are frequent opportunities for students to engage with each other.

Holt High School, pictured, is one of the many places in Holt students can go to receive specialized special education curriculum.

In Holt, special education is underfunded but still successful, officials say

There are about 35 professionals and 65 parent professionals that make up Holt Public School’s special education staff. But according to the director of special education across the district, Wayne Abbott, it’s enough for Holt.

“We individualize programs and services to the needs of the particular student,” Abbott said. This is all thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was signed into law in 1990. Across the country, just like students in Holt, students with disabilities are given what is called an Individualized Education Program, or IEP. It’s a federal mandate that many fear is in jeopardy under the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Common Core, no more?

Educators throughout Michigan have been teaching to the Common Core State Standards since it was adopted in 2010. Recently, a lawmaker proposed a bill to repeal these standards in Michigan.

Elliott Elementary School Park photo by Denise Patterson

What to do with kids after school? There aren’t many cheap options in Holt

Holt is one of the many school districts that no longer have free or affordable after-school programs. Parents that cannot afford before-and-after care are left cutting their work hours to pick up their children, leaving them home alone, or having family or friends pick them up until they are able to get off work. Unfortunately, Holt Public School District has a strict budget that does not include coverage for free after school programs at every school in the district. Parents can either switch schools or come up with a solution themselves. According to David Hornak, Holt Public Schools superintendent, “keeping in mind how the budget is set up, adding free after-school programs to each school in the district year-round is simply impossible. There has to be money to pay the staff who will lead these programs and money to feed the children who participate in the programs.”

After school programs are not meant to be “babysitters” but they are the reason why crimes committed by young people are decreasing.The lack of after school supervision put children at a higher risk to participate in criminal activity and an array of other problems that could have been prevented because of free after school programs.

Maria Sanchez mother of three Elliott Elementary boys says that she has missed several days of work this week because she is not comfortable with leaving her 8-year-old triplets home alone with the recent burglaries that has happened in the neighborhood.

Image of Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Photo taken by Andy Chmura

Lansing falls behind rest of the nation in higher education

You know how the saying goes. A high school diploma is useless in today’s society. More and more quality jobs are requiring bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, this does not sit well in the city of Lansing. According to Census data, Lansing’s high school graduation rate is consistent with the rest of the nation.