EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steven Cook regarding the release of the list of schools up for potential closure by the state’s School Reform Office:
“We all need to be dedicated to ensuring every child, regardless of their zip code, gets a great public education. But when it comes to closing schools through the School Reform Office, we need to take a hard look at how this process is working.
“First, closing schools without finding out why those schools are struggling isn’t a viable long-term strategy. Why have these schools been struggling for so long? What’s the cause? For many years, MEA has advocated for rigorous educational audits of struggling schools to get to the bottom of why they aren’t succeeding. Simply closing schools and up-ending the lives of students won’t fix any problems if the root causes aren’t adequately addressed.
“It’s also important to note the dissatisfaction among many Lansing lawmakers with overemphasis on standardized testing and the failure of existing federally-instituted school reform models. We must realize that for many students, academic achievement and academic progress simply cannot be measured by a standardized test.
“Finally, we need to involve all the stakeholders – staff, parents, and community members – in developing a plan that comprehensively assesses the needs of our students and determines any impediments to learning. We need buy-in from those on the front lines of public education to make the changes necessary to helping every student succeed.”
Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, (517) 337-5508