Apple brings hope to Detroit by funding ambitious new high school

“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.

33 Comments

  1. I went to high school in Michigan, and a few years later I became aware how badly I’d been cheated. I went to a small school, I was one of the smartest kids, and tested in the top percentile of every test I took (99%). Then I went into the Navy’s Nuclear program, and discovered that some kids had gone through courses such as Calculus and Calc 2 in high school!! The highest my H.S. had was Advanced Algebra!!!! I’m glad to see this effort from Apple, but very sorry to hear that Michigan is doing so poorly for the kids there.

    MW: given – Parents, don’t take your kid’s education as a given. Get involved and help mold them, it’s your God-given job and is extremely important!

  2. Going to Detroit is like walking back in time.

    It’s a good argument for IQ tests for politicians, but dummies elect dummies, what can I say?

    It’s all in the genes; brain size, intelligence, testosterone levels.

    The dumbing down of America, Bundy style.

    ain’t it great

  3. While I love Apple, I very much doubt they know what is needed to fix a troubled, urban high school (or, effectively the same thing, the same kids in a new high school). Sure it’s possible (been there, done that), but technology is such a small part of the answer, and most educators couldn’t do it even if they could spend an UNLIMITED amount of money.
    Of course, I applaud Apple’s charitable impulse and wish them the best.

  4. Vouchers are the only way to get past the failing teachers’ unions and schools.
    Why is that parochial schools can educate a child for $4,000 a year but in Washington DC, they get over $12000 per child and fail? It’s all the administrators and hangers on. Pay good teachers more and allow a little disciplinary punishment back in schools.

    Oh yeah! and let them use a Mac too.

  5. hey mac guilt, people will be more likely to take your comments seriously if you avoid throwing around empty and politicized argumentative jargon like “white guys from CA” and “liberal angst.”

    You seem like a really smart person with interesting ideas and a positive outlook. You must lead a fascinating life, rife with adventure and excitement.

    Please try to elevate the quality of your contributions here.

    with my sincere thanks,
    m.

  6. mike k. thanks for scolding “mac guilt” for that bit of insensitive, uninformed, racist dribble. Saved me from having to ask “mac guilt” to give his stupid head a shake, on his way out.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program:

    When I was quite young, I went to school in the inner city of New York. We were fortunate enough to have among other things a planetarium in our elementary school. I don’t know where the money came from for such a thing in an elementary school but I am grateful someone made the technology investment in our school. It helped to peek my interest in the physical sciences and engineering; the foundation of my career today.

    Ah, rock on Steve!
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Good technology can help, but without other reforms it will fail. A good school could get by without cutting-edge technology (but I don’t mean no computers at all, etc.), but a poorly run school will still be poorly run even with expensive toys. So I think this is potentially good, but I hope they don’t expect the technology itself to work miracles.

  8. “Vouchers are the only way to get past the failing teachers’ unions and schools.”

    Because teachers are payed too much? Yeah, right. And what happens when the so-called “good schools” fill up and there are still millions of students who need a school? In many places, a better plan would be to fund schools some other way than property taxes.

    “Why is that parochial schools can educate a child for $4,000 a year but in Washington DC, they get over $12000 per child and fail?”

    Good question. Non-public schools get to choose their students. Where I grew up, many of the parochial schools had entrance exams–and all the expensive private schools did. That cuts a lot of people right there. And even if they have an open admission policy, they can always kick out problem kids. Of course, if you’re seeking out a parochial school or private school for your kid, you’re probably a parent who would make sure your kid does well no matter where they go to school.

    But biggest of all is the fact that public schools are required to provide for everyone, and that includes the mentally and physically disabled. Even if they are put into regular classrooms, many students have a paraprofessional who works with the student one-on-one all day, every day. As you can imagine, that raises the per-pupil cost a bit.

    “Pay good teachers more and allow a little disciplinary punishment back in schools.”

    So what are you saying? Hit them?

  9. Hey, that is interesting. A planetarium in an elementary school? Wow. I think it’s a great idea, and if it gets even one person to be interested in sciences as a career, that’s a good thing.

    However (and I’m having a gentle dig here) I would argue they should have spent a little more on English… it’s “pique”, not “peek”.

    :=)

  10. I’m from Michigan, I went to a catholic school for most of my life. I ended up dropping out of a public high school, getting my GED, going to college, and then dropping out of that, too. I now have a job as an assistant manager at an auto parts store, making just enough to pay back my stupid loans. Even if I had stayed in school, I’d probably be making what I am now, doing what I am now, just further in debt.

  11. This is a very forward-thinking program in a part of the country that very much needs some help.

    It doesn’t matter who is funding the project. It could be Apple, Microsoft, or Pepsi. No matter, it is a deserving project, and the kids will benefit.

    But yeah, it does warm my cockles a bit that Apple is behind it this time. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    MW: term. Hopefully more kids will make it full term now.

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