For years, Muskegon Heights (Michigan) students were denied a quality education, says the failed district’s emergency manager, Dr. Donald Weatherspoon. He hopes to provide free educational support services to graduates in the last six classes in hopes they can improve their reading and math skills. It’s not clear what sort of help will be offered or how Muskegon Heights will pay for it.
Nearly all ninth-graders at Muskegon Heights High School started at least three grades behind in reading and math, according to Mosaica Education, the charter company that’s taken over the district’s low-performing schools.
Ninety-two percent of ninth graders tested at a sixth-grade level or lower in math; 82 percent were three or more years behind in reading.
“It’s a hard realization because those kids will go out in the world and not be prepared,” Weatherspoon said during a discussion of the scores with the Muskegon Heights Public Schools board.
High school teachers are struggling to figure out the best curriculum for students who are so far below grade level in skills and knowledge, he said.
The problem gets worse in middle school and much worse in ninth grade. After that, the least-successful students are likely to drop out.
Percentage of Muskegon Heights students at least three grades behind