You know that service Hulu? Right, the one where you can watch TV shows online for free. Yeah, sometimes, if you want current TV shows with limited advertisements, you can sign up for a premium service called Hulu Plus. So, in Ann Arbor, they’re planning on doing this thing a lot like Hulu Plus. You can go to school for six periods, then, if you want to go to a real seventh period with a real teacher, you can pay extra for it. Honestly, this is a real story.
Yesterday I posted about consolidation in Michigan. In this case, the state has cut so deep over the past decade that Ann Arbor is aiming to save $100,000 by eliminating a seventh period . If students want to take an optional seventh period class then they have to pay $100. This is the state of our schools!
I see where Ann Arbor is coming from here. Students don’t need seven periods to be prepared for college. They don’t need that extracurricular course like ceramics or creative writing or journalism or foods for fitness or physical education. So, in the next installment of our budget crisis, students can become something like “Public School Plus” subscribers and get those courses added to their school day.
Let me take a moment and say I am so thankful for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the group that plans to challenge Ann Arbor’s decision on the “optional” seventh period.
In Teach For America we talk about the “achievement gap” all the time. If you wanted a real life illustration of the achievement gap, it doesn’t get any clearer than this pay-to-play scheme. I know times are tough, but this is simply unconstitutional, Ann Arbor.