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Posted on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Consultant: Ann Arbor schools on the right track on closing achievement gap

By Kyle Feldscher

Related story: MEAP test scores show Ann Arbor schools achievement gap continues despite some progress

The work to close the “achievement gap” in Ann Arbor Public Schools has been going on for years and years and the head of the consulting firm hired to assist AAPS said the district has a firm anchor on the work.

Glenn Singleton, the president and chief executive officer of Pacific Educational Group, spent about 30 minutes speaking with Tuesday on a wide range of topics relating to his company and Ann Arbor schools.

Singleton said his group works to identify students in school districts who are traditionally “underserved” — - usually racial minorities. After working with Ann Arbor schools for a number of years, he said the district is making progress with equity work but needs to expand its work to include parents, families and community members. However, he believes the future holds promise in Ann Arbor.


Glenn Singleton, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Educational Group

Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools

“At some point, you see if the district is going to fly or not take responsibility and I think Ann Arbor is going to fly,” he said.

Here are a few excerpts from’s conversation with Singleton.

Q: In layman’s terms, what exactly does Pacific Educational Group do with school districts?

A: What we do is we engage with the districts as a partner in bringing about a systemic equity transformation, which means we work with all parts of the system to reorganize, reculture and restructure so the districts serve the needs of all students. … Equity for us is about ensuring black and brown students accelerate performance while maintaining that other students continue to achieve a high level. All students have to do better, while accelerating the performance of black and brown students. We do it through the professional development of leadership, teachers, district and site leadership and with families, parents and community members.

Q: What has your experience been like working with Ann Arbor schools? A: Basically, this began with a series of workshops for administrators, and that was before Ann Arbor opted into a plan for the whole district to change. Now, we’re drilling down to the classroom teachers. … We’re at the stage right now where Ann Arbor is engaging most of the framework, but families and communities are not attended to the degree it needs to be. What I explained to the board was in my observation of the district is that I see some outstanding implementation of equity work at specific sites and at other sites, I don’t see that same level of implementation. Q: How do you report your findings to the district?

A: What’s most important is a contant monitoring of what we would look at as summative data, like standardized tests, but also the teacher-produced type of assessments. All of those add up to how kids are experiencing school and what are chances for success. We’re constantly monitoring the data and that’s one of the earliest things we engage in.

Student achievement goals are the ultimate measures. They’re always apart of the conversations we’re looking at. (Singleton also mentioned suspension data, graduation rates, more diverse school environments and the comparison between performance on teacher assessments and on standardized tests as measures Pacific Educational group uses).

Q: Some parents here in Ann Arbor have been bothered by language like “Be aware of your whiteness,” which is in Pacific Educational Group materials. How do you deal with that discomfort?

A: Well, race is uncomfortable. That adult discomfort has enabled us to continue under-serving students. Basically, we watch each generation grow up with the same racial baggage and we’re still not answering questions surrounding race, like why do these issues exist in a society or in a community like Ann Arbor where people will profess to a lack of racism and they are color blind. No one is colorblind. The question that creates discomfort is when you are not allowed to profess yourself as colorblind and you have to talk to me as what you see as racially determined.

It’s not race that’s the problem, it’s the meaning affixed to race. We grow a generation of kids up with the strange understanding of what race is and how it operates. … If the privileges are not spoken about, we can’t talk about the way that schools perpetuate that system of inequity.

Q: Your services have cost the district about $441,000 since March 2005, why should the district keep paying for your services?

A: More than half of that number goes to the expense of getting us into the district … it’s not a fee. It goes to places like United Airlines, the Four Points Hotel in Ann Arbor, really the district funds locally where we go to eat, it’s not a fee. … I have a team of five or six people that have been working in Ann Arbor, we have an organization of 16 people. Most of that money does not come to my organization but to companies that get us there and keep us there.

The more important question the Ann Arbor community has to ask itself is what is the value of this work? It’s an ideological value. People are very uncomfortable about this work, particularly white families. There’s a belief that is contrary to our work that there is a zero-sum value and any work for black and brown students is taking away from white students. We’re not trying to flip the system upside down. We want high-performing students to perform at a high level, we just want to catch everyone else up. I would like to ask of Ann Arbor, what is it worth to you to have a full community of highly educated students that are participating, literate and having an engaging and wonderful experience being in school and living in the community?

Q: What role do you see Pacific Educational Group playing in the district in coming years?

A: In our framework, there are three focus domains. There’s leadership, learning and teaching and the community. Ann Arbor has an anchor in leadership domain and in the learning and teaching domain and what I really feel we need to do is get at the community domain. This includes how the board works, because they are the voice of the community and are constituency bound. There’s a way of engaging effectively with parents who are disconnected from their kids in school and we work with black and brown families in the community to develop a high level of trust and engage in a meaningful way that supports students’ advancement in the system. We’re looking at that in the coming years.

I don’t see the third domain operating yet. That part needs to be there. We need to shore up that piece when all three parts are working, I think the district does need a concrete transformation plan, and how they progress in a way that has measurable goals merged with the district’s strategic plan and the district improvement plan is a key piece for the coming year.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

Most organizations have reduced travel expenses using a variety of different technologies. Simply tell Mr. Glenn S. that he must eliminate travel expense completly and employ those communcation technologies that are part of the early 21st century. Then his services become on an hourly fee basis from his home operations. Easy to control costs that way.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

Its really disturbing to me that as we progress on this planet and recognize that we are all the same even if we look different...persons like this Singleton character are still trying (and succeeding!) in convincing massive groups of individuals that it is alright to stereotype and label and pinpoint inadequacies on racial tendancies. And he is getting paid for it ! No wonder so many parents are moving their children out of the public school system. And poor public school teachers who are all being put through the PEG training. I wonder if their time is accounted into the 'cost' of PEG to our school systerm?


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

Glenn, I'd like to hear you explain Asian Americans do as well as, if not better than, white students. Asians also faced discrmination (Chinese Exclusion Act, Mazanar).

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:22 a.m.

"Why do we have to prove to ourselves that we are not racists...?" Yes, that is the hard question. Sometimes It is easier to feign indignation than to accept reality.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

I read this interview and concluded within the first few paragraphs that the subject is a gobble-dee-gook spouting pin head. Why do we have to prove to ourselves that we are not racists by hiring such an expensive circus entertainer?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

@ winner- Every study that I have ever read, even after adjusting for race, is that the best indicators of educational achievement are socio-economic status, family stability, and educational attainment of parents. A black kid in Detroit and a white kid in rural Mississippi are both at a huge disadvantage educationally. The fact that minority kids have test scores below those of white kids is not due to racism, the premise of PEG. The sad truth is that minorities in this country are socially and educationally disadvantaged but that is not the fault of a current racist educational policy in a place like AA, it is a historical reflection of society as a whole. Without changing societal attitudes and achieving equality outside of the classroom there is nothing that the schools can do except make Mr. Singleton rich.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

As an African American, and ex-Ann Arborite, I wanted to commend those who are commenting on being able to continue an intelligent discussion on race. I live in Chicago now, and the discussions on race are a lot uglier, with a lot of finger pointing and nasty name calling from every side. Though I disagree with some of the comments that have been made here, it seems that the general theme from he comments concerned about the work the consultant is doing is the uncertainty that results from the project is worth the cost to the district. Read over your comments and compare it to another community's news article. Your progressive bias is showing A2, and I appreciate/miss it! :)


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

The achievement gap will never be closed if it is looked at as a strictly "black" and "white" issue. If one were to break down the MEAP scores by the level of education of the parents, one would notice an "achievement gap" between involved university-educated parents and high-school educated parents. If one were to break down the MEAP scores by parent involvement, one would notice an "achievement gap" between involved parents and non-involved parents. If one were to break down MEAP scores by parent income, one would notice an "achievement gap" between rich and poor families. The "achievement gap" is driven by complex socio-economic factors. We need to move away from the simplistic notion that the "achievement gap" can be closed by paying consultants more money without changing the underlying socio-economic factors.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 7:25 p.m.

I have one simple question for the people against this kind of intervention. If the numbers were reversed and white students were achieving at far lower levels than their black counterparts, would it be appropriate to do something different to support our lower achieving white students? Or would you just say there is nothing wrong with the way we do business in our schools, it must be the kids and parents fault.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:43 p.m.

White students already perform at lower levels than minorities in every school district in the country. Compare white academic performance with Asian academic performance No one has felt the need to take action to solve this "problem" with the exception of the state of California. They limited Asian enrolment in state universities, citing "overrepresentation"


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

I don't think most people are opposed to helping lower achieving students of ANY (key word being any) race. I think many people are opposed to paying an unproven consultant a lot of money to peddle his: "anger, guilt and shame are just a few of the emotions whites should expect to experience as they move toward greater understanding of Whiteness." (part of his courageous conversation seminars). That money could pay for a lot of tutors/after school programs. This is an actual activity from Communitie's website: Plan mini-course on Whiteness or White Privilege. How does this help lower achieving students?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

I wonder what the schools in White, rural Midwest towns (think Missouri or Iowa somewhere) where the children's futures consist of working/living in prisons, working in factories, or being shipped off to war to Iraq/Afghanistan are dealing with this issue. There must be a comparable situation involving the White population somewhere.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Singleton: "No one is colorblind." Especially the people paid to create racial discord. Singleton: "The question that creates discomfort is when you are not allowed to profess yourself as colorblind and you have to talk to me as what you see as racially determined." Why would I do that? Even if I'm not completely colorblind, it's my goal. Race determines almost nothing, except what you're told it determines. I am not going to perpetuate that problem. Singleton: "It's not race that's the problem, it's the meaning affixed to race." Why would anyone say any different? Singleton: "We grow a generation of kids up with the strange understanding of what race is and how it operates." That's coming from the black community, not the rest of the country. Whenever you have parents who believe in racism and don't believe in the schools, you have children arriving into kindergarten who are already years behind their peers. That kind of damage can't be un-done. Singleton: "If the privileges are not spoken about, we can't talk about the way that schools perpetuate that system of inequity." The only special privileges in the schools are given to the black children. Which essentially tells them they can't compete on an even playing field. This perpetuates the false information given to them by their parents. The schools are not the problem here. Singleton: "Equity for us is about ensuring black and brown students accelerate performance while maintaining that other students continue to achieve a high level." Equity is about opportunity, not achievement. Your version is impossible, given limited resources. Goals are being reduced for all students, and all students are suffering because of people like Singleton.

say it plain

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

We can talk and talk about whether we think the workshops PEG has conducted are 'worthwhile'. But we *cannot* address--and Singleton does not in this interview!--whether the PEG program has helped a whit in the improvements to minority-student scores outlined in the previous article, because there are no measures associated with the program itself. He might have such data, but we have not seen any of it. Trustee Stead implies that she does not feel satisfied with their reporting of results either. During the time that PEG has been paid over 400K for seminars, the d istrict *has also* paid for new programs to help underachieving/underserved/underscoring kids 'catch up'/improve. Programs have come into place for reading, and for math. Extra tutoring has also been available, I believe. There is *absolutely no way* we can separate PEG's effect from these other programs, and given the lack of glowing reviews from the people in the AAPS at every level (has anyone come forward to say this stuff is great, good, and useful?! Anyone? Even schoolboard members, while claiming it's all very important and they are all very committed to the important task of improving minority achievement and making sure every child/family is served at AAPS, have complained that they feel not much has changed! ), why not spend less money on this consultation and more on the kinds of programs that serve to help kids in school?! If PEG has not even yet 'drilled down' to the classroom level, then at least we should be seeing more detail about their 'constant monitoring of the data' (maybe Kyle can get that?) As people have mentioned, data monitoring can be done via the web, and maybe community engagement money would be better spent throwing parent-evenings where the dollars can go to pizza coffee or party-food to grow a sense of community in the schools themselves! We don't need to see AAPS throw their money to the local hotels or to United Airlines, c'mon!


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

So here is the underlying premise, from his website- Systemic Racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished capacity of all children, especially African American, Latino, and Native American Indian children, to achieve at the highest levels. This leads also to the fracturing of the communities that nurture and support them. I, for one, would beg to differ.

say it plain

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Yep, good catch, totally forgot about all that lol... Why didn't our representative here Kyle--who had promised to convey some of our questions and concerns from his last set of reports about PEG--ask him about PEG's philosophy in a clearer way?! Kyle, you totally softballed the set of deeper issues with the "discomfort" set-up! Why couldn't you have asked him : Do you believe that the underachievement of black and brown students is primarily due to racism? What factors do you believe lead to the achievement gap and how does PEG address these specifically? I guess this is what @Betty above says generally, but she does so in a more heated/controversial way :-) I agree that given the PEG rhetoric Kyle totally let us down in this interview....


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

I walked halfway through a Ph.D. in Education because of this sound good, say nothing approach. "systematic equity transformation", "reorganize, reculture, and restructure", "drilling down", "engaging the framework", "focus domains". It all sounds great but does not explain anything. Whether one agrees with the underlying premise of this contract or not, I would like to hear what this guy is doing to earn the money.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

The 'devil' is in the details. Now, I can see the basic assumptions made by this 'Consultant'. He believes that certain students are 'underserved' and hence there is 'inequity' in academic performance. Teachers are deliberately ignoring the needs of their students and are imparting teaching instructions in manners that undermine the acdemic performance of students based upon the skin color. We cannot accept this erroneous assumptions and the circus it has created. The Consultant is on the right track to make more money and close his economic equity gap. He has to earn at least a billion or more to bridge that gap. While that economic inequity exists, students will continue to lag behind. What is the purpose of 'LEARNING'? The School District must define the purpose of 'learning' and if the purpose is to accomplish an ability to think for oneself, the District must seek the ability to think on its own.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

It appears the gap is closing after 30 years of trying and we are using PEG. So the conclusion is that if we continue with PEG, it might close more. Is it worth $80K or so per year, you bet! To all those that talk about parent engagement as the key to success, there are always going to be parents that don't do that for whatever reason. What we need to do is figure out how to reach the student and help them to succeed on their own. Its a shame that this happens, but isn't it worth some time and money to try to reach these students? The return would be huge.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

@Kyle Yesterday you said "... decades-long attempt to close the achievement gap, the term commonly used to describe the difference between test scores, grades and overall school environment between white students and minority students" Today you post only Blacks and Whites results contradicting yesterday's story of what we paid $440k for. So which is it? Whites vs. minorities or only Blacks. Your inconsistency supports my contention from yesterday. This is what I said "..."Achievement gap" is the term commonly used to describe the difference between Blacks and Whites ONLY-politically corrected to sound like something else. There has been no work done with the gap between other minorities (Hispanic, Asian or Native American) and Caucasians The $441k is reparations' derived from our collective white guilt over slavery. As such, it has no impact on improving the plight of African Americans specifically or the poor or under served in general. The payment does exactly what it is intended to do - it eases our conscience." Further supporting my contention. Your interview with Mr. Singleton provided no comments about Asian over achievement or closing that gap. Why? Because this is not about's about white guilt regarding Blacks and slavery. It's surprising that you didn't challenge Mr. Singleton's rhetoric. You started to ask a real question then softened it to "How do you deal with that discomfort?" lol. DISCOMFORT? Really? Sorry Kyle, I'm not 'uncomfortable' talking about race. I resent you impling readers with question are 'discomfort'ed. I do not like being told something is one thing...and finding out it REALLY something else. There is a name for that.... I wish you had the spine to get real with Mr. Singleton and 'drill down' on this topic and get to the truth. We CAN handle the truth-it will set us free.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 7 p.m.

PEG doesn't worry about Asians, after all (according to their handouts): Asians are majority students" who only do better because "of the high expectations of their white teachers."

say it plain

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

I totally agree about the cop-out interview this was, jeez.... Even if we put aside the whole issue of what we mean by 'minority' in these matters and which 'gaps' we're referring to, this interview served essentially as a press release for PEG and we know very little more now than we did before, except how PEG would propose to send even *more* people to stay at the Sheraton and 'drill down' into the community lol...


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

If by "Ann Arbor schools on the right track" PEG mean: "Looks like we got these suckers on the line for another half million dollars." Then, yes, that is probably an accurate statement.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

What a complete waste of money.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

@keepingitReal I wonder if you think A2MOM is me? I mentioned the Bryant Community Center in an earlier post only because I thought their mission was to work to support families and students in the Bryant neighborhood which tends to have a higher percentage of black people living in it. Is that not what they do or do they just do it poorly? It's too bad if they aren't doing a good job.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

You seem to be a big fan of the Bryant Community Center. I think it would be complete waste of time and money to engage the Bryant community Center staff in addressing this problem.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

Glenn Singleton 4 plus years ago: Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in Ann Arbor..... Harold Hill would be proud. Seriously though, not sure if I missed this, but is his contract yearly or are we stuck with this for "x" amount of years?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

In my opinion, Mr. Singleton has side stepped the most important group : the black community in ann arbor. His time might be better spent over at the Bryant Community Center talking with people about what responsibilities are their own, what actions they need to take to help their students achieve, and how to positively interact with the school. I know the community center and the schools try to do this as well but perhaps he would add some credibility that would spur some folks to do better. Another thought is to ask black students in our community who are doing well (and there are plenty and they deserve a lot of credit) exactly what has made the difference. Was it all the extra programs we spend a ton of money on, was it that they had a lot of black teachers so they weren't "underserved", was it their family? These kids (and their parents) could provide a lot of insight.


Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

Thanks for sharing JA Pieper! I think if we spent more time highlighting in the press all the black kids who do well, instead of all the negative press that they are "all" doing poorly (I hate the generalizations), it might help to create a new norm for how people (black and white) think about black kids and education. When you hear something over and over it's hard not to accept it as the norm - so why not repeat the successes over and over?

J. A. Pieper

Thu, Jun 16, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

I am one of those parents. What made a difference for my children? Parental involvement... putting their needs related to learning first. Teachers enjoyed my children, challenged them, supported them, and this is true of all the teachers they had in AAPS, not just their black teachers.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

The personnel at the Bryant Community Center is not a good example of working with this population.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

In the studies I have read regarding student achievement, parent involvement seems to be one of the key elements if not THE key element for students excellence in the school If this is the case, why have not the PEG made this the centerpiece of its work with the district. Almost anyone who has dealt with the system know that administrators and teachers and other school personnel respond to families when they know those families are strong advocates for their children. Studies have also shown that when parents are engaged and supportive of their student in school, the students themselves place a higher value on education. So my questions is that if we know the importance of parent involvement, why aren't we investing more of our time in helping parents understand their role in school. Too often, when a parent perceives an injustice to their student, they take an aggressive and hostile approach when they visit the school thereby creating animosity between them and the school which does not help the student at all. Parents should be helped to understand the importance of homework, studying, reading on a regular basis, getting a good night sleep, less television, test taking, etc. The social environment a students comes from and the value it place in education is just as important if not more so than the culture of the school he/she attends. If the district decides to continue with PEG I really think the consultant should develop a community based curriculum designed around parent involvement and community engagement. This curriculum should be championed by a stable community based organization to ensure long term effectiveness with an understanding of the population and community it is designed to help . Otherwise, we will continue to talk about an achievement gap long into the foreseeable future.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Question: In layman's terms, what exactly does Pacific Educational Group do with school districts? Response: "What we do is engage with the district as a partner in bringing about a systemic equity transformation, which means we work with all parts of the system to reorganize, reculture and restructure so the districts serve the needs of all students...We do it through the professional development of leadership, teachers, district and site leadership and with families, parents and community members." A very generic answer in my opinion. I know that these are only excerpts from the actual interview, but if Mr. Singleton actually provided specifics of these actions, it would be nice to read about them in this article. Exactly how is this professional development endowed upon the district leaders and teachers? As a parent and community member, I have yet to be included in or informed about these actions that he is talking about. I believe much more specific information is needed to justify the costs.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

The school system hires this company to address the gap issues all the while school administrators and teachers meet on a weekly basis to discuss students that are at risk and need help. They assess the situation and discuss amoung themselves how to address the problem and find a solution. The children are not ignored. The issues are addressed at the school level but I am not sure the school board and those a Ballas realize that there are ongoing activities to help individual students.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

It would still be cheaper and more cost efficient to dumb down the over-achievers.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

Antikvetch - And that is EXACTLY what AAPS and the Michigan Dept of Education have been doing. First MI-DOE drops the cut scores on the MEAPs, so that more students score in the "proficient" range without actually learning any more. Then AAPS refuses to accelerate gifted students, even by subject, driving the parents of the truly gifted to Emerson, Summers-Knoll, Clonlara, the many parochial schools, and to homeschooling to rescue their children from boredom.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

@Freight Train Could you share what resources the high end kids get at your elementary? We attend one of the "less desireable" elementaries and I have always told myself that since the curriculum is district wide, what could be so different? Maybe that is not the case.... We do get differentiated reading levels and he gets to take the math pretest at the beginning of the chapter and when he passes he gets to skip all the homework. That's all I can think of. B @winner See? There's the hostility I was talking about. The notion seems to be "your kid is already smart. Who cares if he is bored. Other kids have much bigger problems". Well, I care! I don't want to go anywhere else. I like the families and I like the teachers. I think they are perfectly capable of teaching my child. It's just that in the long list of things they are required to do, finding harder lessons for smart kids falls to the bottom of the list. I agree with you for sure that I don't think the charters are doing anything better than AAPS, but I think AAPS needs to recognize the fact that many people ARE leaving because they feel this way.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

@ antikvetch, aamom and michele, take your kids to the charter schools or pay thousands out of your pockets for private schools if you want to. Your child still wont get the quality of the education they get in Ann Arbor. If you think the grass is greener somewhere else, go for it. We wont miss you.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

I tried talking to my son's teacher about him being bored in class. There are areas where he's 3-4 grade levels ahead. I thought she responded well. But then he brought home even more homework at his current grade level. She figured more of the same stuff he was bored with would cure his boredom. I tried to discuss that, but she wouldn't even return email. So I asked the principal. The principal forced her to call me, but she was hostile, and so I backed off, because I didn't want her to retaliate against my son. This is how you dumb down the over-achievers to complete your goals. The cost? Students who could excel are bored out of their minds.

Freight Train

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

@michele and aamom, I have found a different pattern. The low AND high end kids get all of the resources. The quiet ones in the middle just barely get noticed at all. The squeaky wheel and all of that . . .


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 5 p.m.

@Michele It is still exactly the same today. I think antikvetch's comment is why private/charter enrollment is up. I have always felt that the kids who learn quickly or are gifted academically are extremely underserved in AAPS. They sit around and wait a lot and could be so much smarter if they had a curriculum that didn't stop when you reach grade level benchmarks. Problem is when you ask about it, people assume you want it at the expense of the programs for the low kids. Figure out a way to teach ALL students AAPS or continue to watch your top scorers (and their money and their parent's volunteer efforts) leave the schools!


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

In my experience, AAPS ignores high-achievers and focuses all of its attention on bringing up the bottom. So, you are correct in your statement. When my children were there, there were no (during the school day) programs for TAG students in the elementary school.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

I hope you are being sarcastic. Otherwise, that is a completely idiotic statement.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

Remember that the $400,000 is over a period of 4 years, so we are spending about $100,000 per year, or the equivalent of 1 teacher's salary and benefits for this consulting service. If it really keeps us focused and progressing on reducing the gap without compromising other students then it is fine to spend that money on something the board assigns high priority so long as the service is good.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

This guy has quite a bit of baggage himself. He knows his job is dependent on the board, and he knows that the board is hearing what the constituents are saying, which is that they are complaining about him. So he gets this PR article about what he's doing and waves off the travel costs as not such a big deal. For a fee, he can start helping teachers, and for more money, he's going to start to try to engage parents and the community,. because he needs to help them too.. Hmmm. Perhaps the bigger communication issues at AAPS he will also fix, for a fee. Improvement in the achievement gap is driven by staff taking the time and the energy to be conscientious about teaching the material, to ensuring the material is understood and retained, to engaging all children to learn to the best of their ability.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Could it be that No Child Left Behind put very strong outcome based demands on all schools?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Johnnya2 who are you? Are you Mr. Singleton himself? Where else has Mr. Singleton closed the gap? Ann Arbor is his hold out for showing his plan works, resting on the laurels of the hard work and staff effort of AAPS...But let's talk about suspension rates, did they go up during the implementation of this? What about expulsion? What about the high rate of disporportionality, which Elaine Brown has been instrumental in improving? Or what about, the institution of PBS? So many other factors at work, have them been identified? Money is very tight these days, and the gaps don't close paying consultants traveling fees, they close with having enough staff. How many teachers can be retained for the price of the consultant? Paras? Extra support during lunch, recess? Enough of snakeoil, the district has heard what Mr. Singleton has said. Keeping him around is a disservice to the employees and students of AAPS.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

So Johnnya2 - You are saying the gap closing is purely PEG, no other factors? Can you show causation? Could it be that Dr Roberts had a strong desire to close the gap or ...?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Wait, staff and teachers do what you are saying FOR A FEE. Yes, people get paid to do work. For YEARS, the gap was not closing. It has since PEG was hired. The data on that is undeniable. I suppose you think they should do work for free? Not a single staff member or teacher at AAPS does their job for free. The main issue that people seem to dismiss is they seem to think consultants are a waste of money. In every story about what consultants get paid there are those that complain. Consultants are people who are experts in their field. When you build a house most people who are not experts in building hire consultants (general contractors, architects) to see the project through. They are paid as portions off the job are done.

Steve Hendel

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:27 a.m.

"The more important question the Ann Arbor community has to ask itself is what is the value of this work? " A good question. I'd like to know how you are supposed to determine the answer, keeping in mind that the 'gap' as measured by test scores has not materially improved despite years of attention, consultants, meetings etc. If you measure the value of this work by other means, then what are those means and-importantly-do we leave that determination to the very people (Mr Singleton and his associates) whose work is being evaluated?


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

johnnya2 - Your comment on white scores staying the same is not consistant with the data posted. While Black scores have risen, in a number of areas, white scores have fallen....BUT... The bigger question is should this be about race or economic conditions? Almost every study I read says that economic conditions more than race makes the larger difference in achievement.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

Did you read the previous article? Your assertion that " the 'gap' as measured by test scores has not materially improved despite years of attention" is just not the case. In almost every testing the black population has improved while the white scores have stayed consistent. There is still a gap, but if any person thinks something like this can be done in 5-6 years is just plain out of touch with reality.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:18 a.m.

What else are they going to say? you wasted 1/2 a million dollars?

Dr. I. Emsayin

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:09 a.m.

Mr. Singleton's work does not have the impact of "trickle down" understanding for white folks that way that the ongoing consciousness raising weekends of the 70's had on really opening up the whites to their own privilege. The same could be said for what feminism did for women and men or the 70's or what the gay rights movement did for heterosexism. The openness of the movements' founders is different than the polarization that we see today from those who are polarized because of ideology rather than ignorance. All of these problems still exist in Ann Arbor Public Schools. There are sexist teachers and administrators, there are many more heterosexists than anyone would like to imagine among administrators (especially) and teachers. But paying an outside consultant to make some institutional suggestions and a few speeches to teachers does not do much but assuage the guilt of those that hired him. There are still both dark and light skinned people working in the school system who resent the other because of what they see as the unfair advantage of the other group. The students are probably more open to those different from themselves than some of the adults are about their peers. This is not to say that there are not many wonderful teachers who teach our kids and who encourage students to see with equal vision, more, it is resentment among those in the system about who seems to be promoted and why. Ann Arbor Public Schools at one time had a policy in the administrators contract of promoting African Americans whenever possible. Whether that policy still exists would need some insider research. In a primarily female dominated profession, males also seem to get pushed into leadership in education at a higher rate for their numbers than females. Ann Arbor Public Schools may be doing better than the rest of the country in overcoming their "isms" but there is a long way to go in the school system and in society for true equity.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

Dr. Most school board members and most school superintendents these days are either female or progressive males. I doubt that males are being "pushed" by this hierarchy

Dr. I. Emsayin

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

@Gnat. In most institutions there are "clubs": Good Ole Boys club and other clubs of like minded, like ideology or like characteristics. These groups sometimes have the ability to promote within their group because they group together to form some muscle. Whether or not it is good or fair is another issue.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

We should be about equity of opportunity, not equity of results. You want African-Americans promoted because they are African-Americans. Why is that not racism? I doubt that males were "pushed" into leadership positions, I suspect they earned it.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

"Now, we're drilling down to the classroom teachers…" I can't imagine what needed to happen the first several years before this part could start. Any many schools, especially elementary buildings, have yet to see any support from this partnership.

average joe

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:01 a.m.

So the same guy who says there is more work to be done, just happens to be the guy who can solve the problem, ....for a fee. From yesterday's article on the same subject- "The earliest cost associated with Singleton and his firm is a one-day, in-service presentation in March 2005. The total cost of the presentation was $5,164.97, with $4,000 in charges for the presentation and the rest for travel expenses. " Today's story-(defending the cost to the AAPS) " More than half of that number goes to the expense of getting us into the district … it's not a fee. It goes to places like United Airlines, the Four Points Hotel in Ann Arbor, ..." Looks like the $4,000 was indeed a fee, & the travel expenses were quite a bit less than "..more than half of that number.." And what's with the "black & brown" stuff? I thought that wasn't PC.


Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 11:01 a.m.

I understand what he is trying to do and his intentions and the intentions of PEG are good. However, the price tag is to high for a district looking to find things to cut. If you take the 441,000 and the 65,000 more the new Super is going to get in Ann Arbor, that is a half a million dollars that could be put back into the classroom to help with ALL lower achieving students. How many teacher aides could we hire to go from room to room within a school to give small group instruction to kids who need a little extra? Or the money needed to upgrade technology so that the computer programs we have purchased work well (Read 180, Fasttmath, MyAccess, etc...). These are the things that can directly impact kids daily and that is where we need to be focusing our money. PEG has run it course, it sounds like it has opened up some dialogue, it is now time for the district to take control and run with it without the price tag and consultants.

5c0++ H4d13y

Wed, Jun 15, 2011 : 10:17 a.m.

How about we cancel all the travel, do web based training and send the test scores electronically?