“Apple Computer is coming to the rescue of Detroit’s schoolchildren and, in doing so, may finally push Michigan to nuke its failed public high school system and start over,” Nolan Finley reports for The Detroit News. “Gov. Jennifer Granholm will announce Tuesday that the California computer maker and master of the red-hot iPod will help finance, equip and advise a small top-quality high school for Detroit students at most risk of being left behind.”
“The goal is intensely ambitious to not only graduate these students, but also to prepare them for college and careers.
If successful — and Apple has had success with similar efforts in other states — the school will teach all of Michigan how to move from public high schools that churn out graduates unprepared for either work or college, to nimble academies that serve as launching pads for college or advanced training,” Finley reports. “The hope is that this first, small school will turn into a statewide system of high schools linked to businesses and hell-bent on preparing Michigan kids for the best colleges, the best jobs, the best futures.”
Finley reports, “‘We know from research that small high schools are making a big difference in the lives of young people across the country,’ says Granholm, who approached Apple about coming to Detroit during a visit to Silicon Valley several months ago. ‘When a global corporation like Apple makes a commitment of this magnitude to education in Michigan, it underscores how critical it is that we prepare all of our children for the 21st-century economy.'”
Finley reports, “Michigan certainly isn’t doing that today. You’ve read these statistics before, but they are so bleak, so disturbing, that they bear repeating at every opportunity, lest parents forget how greatly their children are being cheated.”
• Fewer than one in four college-bound Michigan high school graduates are skilled enough in the key academic disciplines to expect to succeed in college, according to the 2005 ACT test scores.
• Half of the students who start college fail to graduate.
• Just 23 percent of Michigan residents hold a college degree.
• Twenty-two percent of state high school students drop out.
• Michigan, with a 7 percent unemployment rate, doesn’t have enough trained workers to fill 90,000 current job openings in the medical and technical fields.
“Public high schools aren’t working. They must be reshaped to keep Michigan from becoming an economic backwater,” Finley writes.
Full article here.