Russ Gibb at Random

Dearborn Schools Failing

February 2, 2008

A Parent speaks out.

Can someone explain the new "hands off" attendance policy... Going on in the Dearborn Public schools ?

Its simple IN THE DARK, it basically means that students can be absent all they want and the school system cannot do anything about it. A student could miss 30 days of school and teachers are not allowed to fail them because of attendance alone.

It is conceivable that a student could do the assigned work, or at least enough of it just to pass, but they cannot be failed because of attendance. My son's science teacher told me that she has students who have missed half the lab assignments but was told that she can't fail them because of the new policy.

An impromptu survey of my son's teachers and a few others I know at EFHS say that their total number of absences has skyrocketed this year. My son's first hour science teacher says in a class of 28, she has logged over 250 total absences with 180 late and tardy, in just one class. That's 430 total absent, late and tardy in one first hour course. She had three students fail with 16 receive some form of D. That means in a class of 28, just 9 got a C or better. How does our schools system receive accreditation with grades like this? She is not alone people! Every single teacher is reporting similar spikes in attendance and performance drops across the district. Why don't you all check it out?

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32 Comment(s)


Out of fairness to the DPS, we need to tell the whole story. We are not the only district that has this policy. It's the State of Michigan that pushed this on us.

The policy of not being able to fail a student based solely on attendance comes from our state capitol and our Governor's state Superintendent.

We didn't invent the rule, we have to follow the law just like every single other school district has to.

--by Tell the whole story on 2/2/08   Lives: Dearborn  

I have not heard of any policy you stated at the middle school level, but that does not mean that one does not exist. At the middle school, we are strongly encouraged to make certain our students pass, which could mean anything from allowing them to make up missed assignments, re-taking tests, offering them tutoring, re-structuring/modifying their work, etc.

While the idea of helping the students achieve the learning and pass the course is a noble one, I am afraid that we have forgotten and/or neglected basic standards of achievement.

--by A middle school teacher in Dearborn on 2/2/08   Lives: Dearborn  

It seems to be just enough for a lot of our students, just to get by. This is being condoned and institutionalized by our school system, but before you start wanting to lay it on Artis, it goes a little higher than that.

Our Governor has mandated that our students not be able to fail because of attendance. If you want to lay the blame, put it at her pumps in Lansing. Apparently, as far as Grandholm is concerned, people need not be at school or on the job to be successful. History does not prove this, but that is what she seems to think.

Maybe she should stay home 180 days a year, perhaps we might get something done in Lansing.

As far as moving our public access into the stratisphere, all you need to do is drop Comcast and get Wide Open West. If companies are going to do things like this, kick them to the curb and move on to the competitor. My guess is that Dearbornites will simply roll over and take it, just like we always do.

--by More on 2/2/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Public schools have become so bad that parents all over Michigan are taking their kids out of the failing school systems and placing them in private schools.
I was speaking with a teacher in the Bloomfield schools and she told me they have the same problems as Dearborn. Wealthy parents dissatisfied with the public schools and paying extra money to send their kids to Private schools.

--by russ on 2/2/08   Lives: Dearborn  

...I look forward to the day when I can afford to send my kids to a school where the people in that school are as invested in my kid’s success as I am. I would love to be able to see my schools principal take a kid who was in his 5th fight this year or who has 20 absences to say GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Public schools can’t do that, private schools can.

--by Trapped on 2/2/08   Lives: Dearborn

These are two links that I hope will help in this discussion. The district I teach in has a program after school that students are required to attend if they are failing so they can make up work they missed in class.

Our handbook states that if a student is absent from class for more than 10 days and the absences are "unexcused" the student shall loose credit for the class. In my experience the district will allow the student to "make up" the hours, or absences, they missed after school hours by either attending the after school program and making up their work or by doing community service.

If you think about it attendance is linked to money...75% of school funding (FTE) is given to the district in November based on the number of students. The last 25% is given in later in the year. Maybe that's why the DPS is keeping these students around? Just a thought....

But what do I know...I just teach woodshop. The following site is a great site to find information related to public educaiton.

Michigan Association of Secondary Principals

--by A teacher from the other side of the state... on 2/3/08   Lives: Michigan  

I'm sorry...the correct spelling is: Flanagan

--by A teacher from the other sid eof the state on 2/3/08   Lives: Michigan  

Last link....

Flannagan's pod cast from 1/11/08,1607,7-140-37818_45256-183367--,00.html

Talks about new MMC requirements and personal curriculum...

--by A teacher from the other sid eof the state on 2/3/08   Lives: Michigan  

I just watched Flannagn's podcast. I agreed with many things he spoke about. But nowhere, did he address discipline. The discipline to arrive at class on time. The discipline to hand in assignments on time. I was taken by his spin to "do your own thing " sounded like a throw back to the hippies 60's . And I know a lot about that era.

--by russ on 2/3/08   Lives: Dearborn  

“If you think about it attendance is linked to money...75% of school funding (FTE) is given to the district in November based on the number of students. The last 25% is given in later in the year. Maybe that's why the DPS is keeping these students around? Just a thought....�

There is no doubt that this is what DPS is doing. This is also why they are not pushing the residency re-verification program that was proposed by several people. They are getting paid for those out of district kids. That’s also why they are sending students to HFCC, they are getting the kids out of the schools so they can close the electives and cut full time jobs. This is the loop hole they are going to use to dump students into HFCC to be taught by some part time, unqualified teachers.

--by Tell us something we dont already know on 2/3/08   Lives: Dearborn  

And the same reason they send students to the "tech center" rather than filling our in-house electives.
I was in our main office one morning getting my mail and I happened to over hear our attendance officer asking a student why they were 20 min. late. The student's response "it's winter, you can do that". No excuse!! I made it to school/work on time. I am finding that more and more students are unresponsive to the current discipline practices. We need more creative discipline. I always remind my students that it wasn't long ago that paddles were used...and they should ask their parents about the discipline they received in high school.

--by A teacher from the other sid eof the state on 2/3/08   Lives: Michigan  

Speaking of lack of discipline and needless loss of instructional time in our public schools, what is the story with this "seminar period" over at DHS? My kids say their classes, two days a week, are shortened by 10 minutes. The failing and habitually absent students get extra time in class to catch up. The students who work hard to do well spend that hour sitting in the cafeteria listening to their I-pods. How is losing 120 minutes of instructional time a week for the good students helping them to be more successful? That equates to over one day of lost instructional time a month for good students. We are just slowing everything down for the bad students. Why don’t we just give the good students an extra day a month off and make the failing students come in? That is essentially what they are doing isn’t it?

Someone in the DPS really needs to “man up� and come out here and address the attendance issues in out High Schools. Why are we shutting down a High School for an hour a day to let the smart kids play? Our teachers are spending more time “catching up� delinquent students than teaching the ones that are in the seats every single day and doing well. How is this helping ALL our kids succeed? Why are we discriminating against successful students?

We are wasting so much time in our schools with this garbage? It’s a wonder that anyone can get a good education in this state. It seems like all we do is cater to students who display habits of bad attendance, disciplinary problems and poor performance. The way I see it, the only children being left behind are the ones who do what they are supposed to be doing!

--by Eyes on the ball please on 2/3/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Gale Shenkman, the principal at Dearborn High is looking to get out of Dearborn and finding a new job. The shorten class instruction time is to make her look innovative to her next employer.

--by DHS parent on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Please tell me why Fordson High School and several other Dearborn Public Schools have become Arabic Schools teaching Arab students instead of American schools teaching Arabic students.?

--by The Truth on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Truth,you want the truth? Ha,Ha, It's a form of racism. That only blacks can understand Blacks and teach Blacks and that only Arabs can understand Arabs and teach Arabs. Tribal racism mentality.

--by Awake on 2/4/08   Lives: Detroit area  

Let’s not forget how politically correct it is to have an all Arabic High School in the DPS. Remember the last technology bond that got passed after several failed tries? If you remember, the DPS school board cut a deal with the local Arabic leaders to get on board and get it passed and they go their pay off. They wanted their own High School in the South end, instead, we got the Michael Berry center and gave the newly expanded FHS over to them lock stock and barrel. Why do you think FHS started its decline when they started putting the new wing on the building? That was when the “change� occurred and it’s been solid down hill sense.

This “south end deal� was struck and well known back when it transpired back in the late 90's. It is nice to see that the DPS kept up their end of the deal, even if it did destroy FHS. Problem is that once they opened that Pandora’s Box by placating those AAPAC people, they could not close it! Now they own the whole district.

Believe me, Arabs understand better than you think they do. They, above else, know that everyone on this school board has their price. They just held out until they could find a few who were willing to sell their soul for as little as possible. Looks like they were quite shrewd in doing so.

--by Shami-lami-ding-dong on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Lets say a special ed. student brings an 8" hunting knife to school. The student will be expelled but under current state law the district shall provide an education to that student until the age of 26 by offering services to the student at home. This means paying a certified teacher to go to the students home during the week. Is there any other options? I see this as a waste of tax payers money.

--by Jeff on 2/4/08   Lives: Detroit area  

Middle school issues ban on intentional flatulence
By Holly S. Anderson
VillageSoup/Knox County Times Senior Reporter

CAMDEN (Feb 1): The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition for flatulence is brief: "flatus expelled through the anus." And while it's a natural bodily function, it seems some Camden-Rockport Middle School eighth-grade boys are taking it to new heights and making a game of seeing who can expel the loudest and grossest flatus.

--by Sneeky Pete on 2/4/08   Lives: Michigan  

Shami Lami has it correct. Some Arabs in this community feel they can live by some twisted code of the desert and all they have to do is buy someone officials, the press and politicians and they can keep getting things their way.

--by You Got It on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  

You got it, Your right, but it's not just Arabs it's the BIG bucks guys from all nationality's. MONEY talks.

--by Poor Boy on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  


We have the DVA (Dearborn Virtual Academy), they just log on and do it from home, no teachers at home.
Its the modern version of Miller School.
Problem is that a SPED bringing a knife into school would likely not amount to an expulsion state law or not. Its simply not possible to kick a student out permanently. Ask the folks over at the "stun gun school."

--by hey ya go on 2/4/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Hi Russ,

About Fordson High School. The arab students have taken over because of the administration. You have the Fadllallahs running the place and the only person of non-arab descent is Ms. Cizek. Fadlallah's go out of their way to treat anyone not or arabic descent as second class citizens.

Remember that Fadlallah is the nephew of the prime minister of Lebanon and his wife is related to the head of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

So why do think the school is more arabic than american

--by Bystander on 2/4/08   Lives: Detroit area  

About Fordson High School. The Arab students have taken over because of the administration.

No, the Arab students have taken over because there are no other students at FHS. They are 98% Arabic. I think that constitutes a "take over" regardless of who the administration is.

The problem here is not who has "taken over" its who is dictating policy, particularly when it is in conflict with state, district and common sense rules of operation. FHS has come up well short on all fronts!

The FHS administration took the easy road for so many years in Bi-lingual education that the majority of their students have lower than a 6th grade mastery of language arts. Now that the State is making us accountable, they are in a hole that they can’t climb out of.

The smart administrators have scaled back the amount of time ESL and Bi-lingual students get to stay in those programs, but FHS just can do it. Their kids are failing miserably and this would only make it worse in the short term and no one is looking for a long term solution. Why should they? We have a lame duck administration.

--by Flood gate is open on 2/5/08   Lives: Dearborn  

If it is true that the state of Michigan is requireing that teachers cant fail students becasue of attendance, check this out\;

Aparently, Garden City has not gotten the word yet!

--by Whats the deal? on 2/5/08   Lives: Dearborn  

To Bystander:
.......and Denzel Washington is related to George Washington.

The administration of FHS and the DPS school board have no control over the ethnic composition of the FHS student body. The school has more Arab-Americans that Non-Arab Americans because those are the students that live within the DPS FHS boundaries. No matter how you redraw those boundaries, you will have schools with large percentages of American students that look different from your kids.

You are treating those students as if they are second class citizens, because it is their majority status in the school that upsets you so much.

--by Not a 5th grader on 2/16/08   Lives: Dearborn  

This is to. "not a 5th grader" You are a racist. You dived students according to race and county's of origin. You are a liberal fascist racist.You think of yourself as fair. YOU ARE A RACIST. Understand ? a RACIST.

--by Fact on 2/16/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Bystander, in a 2/4/08 comment, contended that "the arab students have taken over" because the Principal is an Arab-American. My comment that FHS has a majority of Arab-American students because the neighborhoods within FHS's boundaries have a majority of Arab-American kids was solely intended as a rebuttal to that comment.

I believe that Bystander thinks the Arab-American students at FHS are second class citizens because of his/her statement the those kids have "taken over".

Please reread my comment in the context of it being a response to Bystanders comments. Then tell me who the racist is.

--by not a 5th grader on 2/17/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Not a 5th grader, still doesn't get it. He separates kids by ethnic standards and has no clue that, that is ethnic racism.

--by reader on 2/17/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Why is that The Truth, Shami-Lami-Ding-Dong, You Got It, Bystander, & The Flood Gate is Open can all make comments about Arabs. But when I respond to Bystanders untruths by pointing out that the school has the same ethnic composition as the neighborhood, I get accused of being racist. It is not racist to acknowledge the ethnic background of our students. We have schools that have ethnic dinners and other programs to celebrate the ethnicity of our students and the diversity of our schools.

Pardon me for trying to fight the inane comments of Bystander with facts. I should have just told him he was racist, racist, racist.....and wrong, wrong, wrong.

--by Not a 5th grader on 2/19/08   Lives: Dearborn  

If a teacher misses days, his/her butt is in trouble. If a student does, the teacher's butt is in trouble because the kid isn't there learning and passing the class, or if the kid does squeak by, the teacher is questioned about the strenuousness of the course. Figures, don't it?

--by irony on 2/29/08   Lives: Dearborn  

My son is in the first grade at Maples Elementary and has a teacher that has called off twenty-two days so far this year. She missed a whole week when she admittedly went on a vacation with her husband. This is totally unacceptable in my opinion. IRONY couldn't be more wrong about teacher's getting in trouble if they miss days, not a thing has been done about this.

--by Teachers R Overpaid on 3/7/08   Lives: Dearborn  

Thats horrible! I had no idea. I guess I should be looking for another district to put my child in. I have a situation thats worst than that. My child was made to eat out of the garbage by a principle @ polk last year and it was swept under the rug I feel because my child is african american. she left and was able to retire. THAT IS RACISM and nothing is hidin about it! I know i will get feed back and that is fine! SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED NOT GIVEN A PENSION!

--by parent@polkelementary on 7/2/08   Lives: Detroit area  

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