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Schools of choice proposed



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May 11, 2011 - Gov. Rick Snyder's list of school reforms include tougher teacher certification tests, restructuring tenure to reward effective teaching rather than time in the classroom, new continuing-education requirements for teachers, and more "Schools of Choice" programs.

Clarkston Board of Education discussed expanding the district's school-of-choice options with a Career Immersion Pathways program for grades 10-12.

In the proposed expansion, nonresident students could apply for classes in Accounting, Drafting and Design Technology, Advanced Engineering Design, Media, Marketing, Human Services, Pre-Teaching, Early Childhood Education, Computer Science, and Pre-Engineering programs.

The proposal allows for "unlimited" students, but Deputy Superintendent Shawn Ryan said it would be limited to about 10 students.

Clarkston has 54 nonresident students in two current school-of-choice programs, Project Lead the Way and Childhood Development. They expect about 63 students next year.

Several parents stayed until the end of the meeting for public comment about open enrollment and three shared their concerns.

"Where is money going to come from," asked Karen Beauregard. "Problems will arise. It is not responsible for the district to invite problems into our community – I think analysis needs to be done to show how it can be good for Clarkston schools."

School board members did not respond to her questions during the open comment forum.

Dawn Schaller was glad the school board is discussing the proposal instead of voting on it. It was orginally placed on the agenda as an action item.

"Make sure the superintendent does not offer any other school of choice items unless brought before the board," she told them.

The school board's next meeting is set for 7 p.m., May 23.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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