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Phil in the Blank A column by Phil Custodio

Orange alert

September 04, 2013 - Students, teachers, and parents head into a new school year with information from Michigan Department of Education that Clarkston Community Schools ranks an "orange."

This is a bad rank. Only a "red" is worse. The state went with colors this year to make the data more "understandable," they said from danger "red" to goodness "green."

But it's a system where, for instance, Clarkston High School can score "greens" in Mathematics, Reading, Social Studies, Writing, and Attendance Rate categories, yet still score an overall "red," with only 39 out of 64 points earned.

Where were the points lost? Well, going deeper into the data shows the school scored 0/10 points in the "Bottom 30 percent" student group, 4/10 in "Economically Disadvantaged," and 1/10 in "Students with Disabilities." But Clarkston High School scores 10/10 for "All Students." I understand whatever confusion might be felt about these things.

With most Michigan schools placing near the scarlet side of the spectrum, this means schools in our state are terrible at educating kids, legislators in the statehouse want to bust teacher-union chops, or both.

Whatever, I suppose there's always room for improvement. Whether the state has the right to meddle in local education, that issue was decided 20 years ago with Proposal A.


Taste of Clarkston is Sept. 15. Too late for this year but maybe for next, all those fast food workers going on strike for $15/hour wages should get together to open their own restaurant.

Then they can make sure everybody gets at least $15, and the public gets at-least-$15/hour food and service. Everyone wins!

I wouldn't eat there, because I'm out of the fast food eating business. But if they had a booth at a Taste of Clarkston, maybe I'd try it out just to see what a $15/hour burger tasted like.

Anyway, Taste of Clarkston is a great time for downtown, filled as it is with crowds of hungry folks looking to sample the best local restaurants have to offer.

Hopefully the weather and the barbecue ribs hold out!

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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