Why states are being sued over unprepared graduates

Michigan state is in federal court for Detroit’s poor education practices and a study shows low reading scores across the U.S.
By: | October 31, 2019
While districts such as Detroit Public Schools are struggling to provide quality education in the U.S., others are finding success in their college and career readiness programs. gettyimages.com: yigitdenizozdemir

A federal lawsuit blames the lack of quality education at Detroit Public Schools’ on the state of Michigan, which has controlled the district for nearly two decades and, according to NBC News, is accused of siphoning students to local charter schools. 

The case was filed on behalf of Detroit students who didn’t have access to up-to-date textbooks and certified teachers, including an eighth grader who led a math class for a month after his teacher quit, reported NBC News

The court is deciding whether this lack of quality education violated the students’ constitutional rights.

From DA: K12 deepens ties with higher ed to keep students on track—from preschool to college completion

Rhode Island lawyers filed a similar federal lawsuit that claims the state’s public schools do not prepare students to be informed citizens, The Providence Journal reported.

Last year, South Carolina lawmakers began overhauling K-12 funding after the state was accused of failing to provide college and career readiness skills. But the senate will likely not pass legislation in 2020 since “lawmakers will be in study mode for awhile,” Sen. Ross Turner, R-Greenville, told The Post and Courier.

DA’s District of Distinction: Preparing Students for a Strong Future

Meanwhile, the average reading score of eighth-graders declined on a national test in more than half of the states, according to new government research.

“We can neither excuse them away, nor simply throw more money at the problem,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is championing a $5 billion school choice program, said in a statement obtained by The New York Times.

Providing college and career readiness

The Virginia Board of Education now requires schools to devote 85% of state funding to achieving equity, preparing graduates for life after high school, and recruiting and retaining teacher, reported CBS 19 News.

In Wisconsin, students are finding success in Madison high schools that employ a combination of Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) and Teens of Promise (TOPS) college and career readiness programs, according to a recent study

AVID, a national system, aims to close the achievement gap by preparing students with a 2.0-3.5 GPA for college.

Over the last four years, college and career readiness programs at Center School District experienced a 31% increase in enrollment after the Missouri district collaborated with local industries, colleges and technical programs. The district earned Districts of Distinction recognition from District Administration for provide students with experiential real-world, project-based learning. 

In New York, about 90 K-12 teachers work with nearby Medgar Evers College to learn skills that will help students avoid taking remedial courses in college, DA reported.

“We all need to be better observers of what’s happening to young people as they go through the system,” Rudy Crew, president of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and former public schools chief, told DA. “Some of the problems we see in college, we saw someplace down in the third grade and they were never dealt with effectively.”

Resource: The Three Essentials: Improving Schools Requires District Vision, District and State Support, and Principal Leadership