28 September 2017

There’s no doubt Michigan has education crisis

Detroit News published a letter from an AAUP-AFT Union member:

Richard Zeile, co-president of the State Board of Education of Michigan, said “no” in a Sept. 14 column, “Is there an education crisis in Michigan?” Unfortunately, what I have observed in my own research and that of many others is that Michigan’s academic stagnation — and decline in comparison to the rest of the nation — is a real and direct threat to our state and our children’s futures.
Sarah Lenhoff, Assistant Professor, WSU
Sarah Lenhoff, Assistant Professor, WSU
The column suggested that Michigan’s performance on the NAEP is just below average, citing that Michigan’s scores are “5 points or less from the mean.” But five points on a single NAEP assessment translates to about a half-year of learning. In 4th grade reading and math and 8th grade math, Michigan students performed significantly below the national public average in 2015, the most recent year of data. The three- to five-point difference between our students’ average scores and the nation’s means Michigan students have learned 30 to 50 percent less of a year’s worth of content than students on average nationally. And if you look at the states ranked highest on the NAEP, Michigan students were 10 or more points behind, translating to more than a year’s worth of learning that they will likely never make up. Detroit was the worst-performing large urban district in the country on all four assessments, scoring on average 10 or more points below the next lowest district on three of the four.
Perhaps more disconcerting is Michigan’s falling ranking compared to other states. We’re not keeping up, and our children are suffering the consequences.
The column also claims that “it is an illusion that government spending can replace the parent’s role in a child’s development.” There is no evidence that Michigan’s parents are less involved in their children’s development than parents in other states, and I have not heard a single argument that increased spending on public schools should replace a parent’s role. Yet, there is compelling, independent evidence that Michigan is not adequately funding its public schools.
Rather than blame parents for poor performance, schools should be encouraged and supported to better engage families in the educational process, including by significantly increasing resources for students with the greatest educational needs. Treating families as partners in the educational process — and collaborators in solving this crisis — isn’t just the right thing to do, it also works.
Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Wayne State University

14 September 2017

9/28/17 ASSC Annual Welcome & Recognition Luncheon

Please join the Academic Staff Steering Committee (ASSC) of the WSU Chapter of the AAUP-AFT, Local 6075, for a luncheon on Thursday, September 28, 2017, 12:00-1:30 p.m., to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of Academic Staff who have been promoted and/or received Employment Security Status (ESS). This is a great opportunity for new Academic Staff to become acquainted with the ASSC, as well as learn about ESS and promotion from colleagues recently awarded ESS and/or a promotion.

Please RSVP by 9/26/17 by clicking here.

06 September 2017

DACA: Open letter from members of the Wayne State community

Initiated by a Union member in English:

Many members of the Wayne State University community have circulated the following letter initiated by John Patrick Leary, professor of English, to President Roy Wilson. The letter is in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcement that the Trump Administration's intent to terminate President Obama's Executive Order known as DACA. I endorse the letter and urge others who feel strongly about the situation of the 800,000 undocumented "Dreamers" also to sign the letter.

In solidarity,
Charlie Parrish

Additional suggestion by another Union member:

If you can spare one hour of your day, your actions might make a difference.
  • Let The White House Know How You Feel (15 Minutes)
  • Contact Your Member Of Congress (30 Minutes)
  • Use Social Media (15 Minutes)
  • Repeat ... Repetition is critical.

Update: Letter from 64 Higher Education Advocacy Organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, Calls on Congress to Pass the Dream Act (link)