Ann Arbor Public Schools have traditionally been viewed as some of the finest in the nation. Recently, they’ve received some more mixed reviews, which will be explored in more depth. Firstly, let us see what is covered in the Ann Arbor Public Schools area.
Spread across 125 square miles, the Ann Arbor Public School district covers Ann Arbor, Michigan itself as well as parts of eight surrounding townships. The schools system operates a total of 35 schools – including 20 elementary schools, 5 middle schools and 6 high schools (3 of which are designated “alternative”). Enrollment statistics as of school year 2006-2007 show a student body of just under 17,000, with a pupil to teacher ratio of roughly 16 to 1. In terms of size, it is the 8th largest district in Michigan.
In 2013, the Ann Arbor Public School district was awarded the Sunny award from the Sunshine Review, a national review board which compares and evaluates government entities for their transparency. The award was given by merit of the district’s willingness to share information on its financials, including budget layouts showing taxpayers exactly where their money was being used within the district. Distinctively, only the Ann Arbor Public School district received this award in Michigan.
In related news, Forbes did a review of public school districts on a national level. It found that the Ann Arbor Public School district ranked in the top ten of school districts throughout the United States. Forbes referred to it as a top-notch school system, citing the excellence of the schools themselves as well as the relatively low crime rates and access to affordable housing.
As to its ranking in regards to testing, the school district has suffered a bit in the past few years. Many have received yellow markings in the new educational target compliance scheme where they are expected to achieve greens. However, this is something going on on a national level currently. As school districts struggle to deal with new Core Federal education guidelines, most school districts are still aligning to the new metrics expectations.
To get a more fair picture of the district, it is necessary to look back a few years and determine how it has been functioning in regards to older, accepted standards and compare its ranking to those of other school districts. In defense of the Ann Arbor Public School district, it is noted that two of its four high schools achieved, in the U.S. News and World Report, a ranking placing it in the top 20 best schools in the country. Both Huron High School and Pioneer High School also received state rankings in 2013 of 12th and 16th in the state of Michigan.
Thus, it appears that the Ann Arbor Public School district is simply struggling, like the rest of the nation’s school districts, in realigning to meet new Core curriculum standards. Looking at a history of the school districts performance and studying its national rankings seems a far more accurate indicator as the the quality of the school district. In fact, it is quite likely the Ann Arbor Public School district will be one of the first in the state, and nation, to fully adjust to the new academic standards being set by the national government.