This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Non Traditional Learners Get Their Due at Oct 6th Bloomfield Hills School Board Meeting.

 A quote from Albert Einstein who had trouble fitting into the traditional education system of his day highlighted the October 6th Bloomfield Hills School Board Meeting.
“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Superintendent Robert Glass also mentioned recently deceased Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs. “Here was a non-traditional learner who didn’t graduate from college. What we do in education should support that rather hinder it and a test crazy culture kills it.”
Earlier in the week Glass had spoken to the PTO at Way Elementary School. There he said he left a district where standardization was stressed to come to Bloomfield Hills which “Enables students to become architects of their own future.”
Way Principal Adam Scher was the guest speaker at the afternoon study session and the evening board meeting.
 In the classroom, Scher said the state determined and mandated the curriculum. Many teachers had trouble “covering” the entire curriculum.
The point missed was the need to “uncover “through the visual thinking, the learning already in the pupils. Often students were ahead of the curriculum.
One lady said she thought some people in the community would like to see the school board make their thinking more visible.
That thinking was most vividly visible in regards to Senate Bills 618-624. Bill 618 has already passed the Senate but requires House approval. The Bill would remove the cap on Charter Schools.
Board Vice President Ed Ford decried a “one size fits all.” (Solution) “Crafted by Lansing.” Ford said such measures, intended to promote competition failed to consider that Bloomfield Hills Schools compete quite successfully with best private schools in the state.
Board Member Robert Herner wondered,” What did we do to rate this broad based fix up?”
The consensus was that the state’s initiatives would diminish local control.
Superintendent Glass suggested that concerned citizens call their representatives very quickly and Cynthia Von Oeyeen introduced a resolution opposing Mandatory Schools of Choice which passed unanimously.
Of equal  impact was the announcement that the Andover High School may not be able to field a Football team for the 2012 season, the last before a  presumed  consolidation.  The 2011 squad has only 21 members and is currently 0-6. Superintendent Glass said this also affect other school activities such as the Marching band and the Cheer squads.  “Solutions are being sought,” Glass said and added that he and athletic department would not give up without a fight.
Only 15 people attended the School Board meeting which competed with a crucial Tigers -Yankee playoff elimination baseball game.
Only one audience member chose to speak at public comment and she spoke in in opposition to Charter and Choice schools
The High School Transition agenda item supplied handouts of promised on line features that have as yet made it to the school board web site.
The meeting which ran well past ten pm included a two late approval items of note.
The first was a million dollar price tag on “necessary” and in some cases “mandatory “mechanical fixes to maintain Andover and Lahser until consolidated.   “It hurts,” said the consensus but the item passed   by a unanimous vote.
The second was an agreement to participate in the “Widening Advancement for Youth “program. The participation further affirms the Bloomfield Hills Schools support of the non-traditional learner.

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