Ypsilanti High School left out of the equation of improvement

Every school has a percentile ranking in the state of Michigan to show whether a school is doing exceptional or needs work. High schools in and around Ypsilanti reported a variety of numbers in the school year ending with 2013.

Washtenaw Technical Middle College located at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor and Saline High School both have a percentile at 97 percent and above, proving that exceptional programs are in place at these schools. Getting further into Ypsilanti, Lincoln Senior High School has a percentile ranking of 58, which is showing middle performance, but still not the worst.

However, Ypsilanti High School has the percentile ranking of 6, which is extremely low. There are many factors involved in the decline of the school’s performance and this result has determined how college-ready these students are in the end.

In its last year of existence, Willow Run High School reported its percentile rank to be at a 5 in the year of 2013. The merge to save the Willow Run School District was underway at the time, and the two rivaling districts were about to be in the same school. The sports rivalry between the districts had lasted for over 70 years, and they had to accept their differences.

However, although both schools resided in the same city, their students were undergo different expectations when it came to the curriculum.

Ypsilanti Community High School now houses students from the merging of Willow Run and Ypsilanti School District. This number has continued to grow, beginning with 4,000 students back in 2013.

Being a predominantly African American school district, It has been brought to the attention by Congress that there is racial bias in school discipline. As a result of severe discipline that happens to students, they are removed from the learning environment and can no longer continue their education. Some do not return while others go to a local community college to earn their GED.

Another factor contributing to this issue is that Michigan is the 6th in ranking of homeless students in the country. Student homelessness is an issue that several people face across the world.

A study conducted by the University of Michigan released that the total of more than 36,000 Michigan students are facing the hardship of homelessness. The breakdown shows that Ypsilanti School District has a total of nine percent of their students in a state of homelessness. This is equivalent to 410 students. The southern side of Ypsilanti holds the Lincoln School District, and their percent of homeless students is at a six percent.

Several students in Ypsilanti School District receive food from the lunch program, and based off of the homeless numbers, this may be their only meal. There is a total of 2819 students eligible for free school lunch out of 3855 total students as of fall 2017. In Saline Areas Schools, only 548 students receive free lunch when there are 5254 students total in the district.

Money is rapidly moving out of the public school systems due to the enrollment in charter schools expanding tremendously in Ypsilanti. The numbers are clear because Ypsilanti schools have been losing nearly 300 students per year. The differences between a charter and public school are prominent in today’s education system. A charter school is an independent business that focuses on performance and challenging students. Income to operate charter schools comes from the state. On the contrary, public schools are funded from multiple areas which is the state, federal and city taxes. This can differ because since the locals are funding the schools, it can fluctuate between low and high income areas. Ypsilanti can be a low income area, depending on the side of the city. Saline Area Schools, however, is an exceptionally high income area.

This is where expectation differences come in due to the low and high income areas. Schools are providing what they can afford. As the charter school movement continues to grow and performance exceeds, local Ypsilanti Public Schools may see this decreasing enrollment continue rapidly.

As for the administration, looking at Michigan schools hasn’t been on Betsy DeVos’ agenda, according to her interview with 60 Minutes. As Michigan schools continue to be overlooked, the community continues to struggle as a whole.



Author: Chanel

Chanel Stitt is a Journalist at the University of Michigan - Dearborn working towards her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, minoring in Women's and Gender Studies with a Certificate in Public Relations. She has worked at five local publications based in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit.

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