Archived Story

Schools slow to change and it shows

Published 8:49pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dr. Richard Weigel, superintendent of Niles Community Schools, presented a frightening report about the state of education in our schools compared to the world.
While there were many stats thrown out there, here are just a couple to give you a taste.
Michigan ranks 46 out of 50 states in the country, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
In international assessments there are 20 countries rated higher than us in science and 16 in math.
With less attention to higher academic achievement we continue to trend down while other countries make great advances.
Who is to blame? In my mind it is all of us.
Surprisingly, the reports show we are the top spenders on education in the world.
Throwing money at the problem obviously is not the solution.
Schools too often become a political issue and not one of truly educating our children.
Schools are slow to change.
Weigel commented that the education process throughout the country is basically the same as it was 50 years ago.
Weigel stressed that the education system should promote learning — not teaching. Now that’s a concept.
Parents and grandparents can help if we all showed the interest and spent the time helping our children understand that they can do better.
Why shouldn’t all of our children be pushed to achieve top grades and not only graduate high school but all graduate college?
Why not help your children plan now for their doctorate?
And while I’m a pointing finger, are we in the media doing our part?
Leader Publications dedicates at least a page a day in each of our publications to sports.
By comparison we provide little coverage of academic achievement.
And I have rarely heard a complaint. But if we miss coverage of a high school football game our phones light up.
Like Weigel said, wouldn’t it be nice to see an academic achievement trophy case next to the sports trophy case? Or do we really care?
If you are like me, you care a great deal. Let’s work together to highlight and honor our students publicly in the cyber and physical pages of Leader Publications.
Whether it is K-12 or away at college, we want you to help us celebrate academic achievement in our pages. Just get the information to me and we will get it in the paper.
Next year, along with the athlete of the week we will also develop the student of the week.
Dr. Weigel, I for one heard your message and we at the Leader will do our part to encourage an improved education system throughout Leaderland.

Michael Bennett can be reached at or  (269) 687-7700.

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  • Samuel Taylor

    For the Amount We pay for Building, and Upkeep, We Could
    afford to give each Student a Decent Laptop, pay for DSL,
    and a Wifi Router, and create Virtual Classrooms, where
    they Could Watch, and paticipate in a Virtual classroom.
    They could only need to attend a School, once a week for
    testing and evaluation, of the weeks learning. With
    Web cams ask questions, and via Skype get the needed
    assistance neccesary.
    Then the School could only be One fifth of the Size,
    thus One Fifth of the cost
    I was an Absentee father for three Years Working in
    My Loves Family Tuna fleet, and My kids grades suffered.
    So I went to Work in their Portugese Winery in Napa.
    We Made it a Habit to invite each of our eight kids
    Teachers to our home at the Winery each Year for a
    Meal, and or bar be Que to get aquanted with them
    outside of the classroom Enviorement, and the grades
    Jumped Dramaticly when the teacher was not the Enemy
    but a Friend.
    Even bribed them with some of our best Vintage to boot.
    Teachers could produce DVD Classes for the price of the
    It would then be up to The Parents to create a learnfull
    Surounding for their Children, and they could co-observe
    their progress and home work.
    Just a Thought

  • Laura Hollister


    There are some amazing educational opportunities in our community, though. Look at what LMC is doing with youth robotics and Fab Lab, giving our youngest learners the chance to develop critical thinking skills. The homeschool partnerships in this region are groundbreaking projects being rolled out across the state- and they started here. Innovation is happening, but much of it is under the radar screen, among the homeschool population.

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