We Support Educational Equity and the Autonomy of Ypsilanti Community Schools
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We, the residents of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County, call on the Washtenaw Educational Opportunities Consortium (WEOC) to advocate for Washtenaw International Middle Academy (WIMA) to remain an Ypsilanti Community School.
Per 2016-2017 state data, 71% of the students enrolled in Ypsilanti Community Schools come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, while the county wide district average is 22%. Currently WIMA, a popular school because of its international baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, is under the governance of both YCS and WEOC. In order for this school to finalize the IB accreditation process however, it needs to be under a single governance structure which is presently under negotiation between YCS and WEOC.
It would be best for both Ypsilanti and all of Washtenaw County if WIMA remains a YCS school. WIMA was started with YCS money and is the first school whose enrollment reflects the demographics of Ypsilanti. Ensuring YCS's ultimate control of the school will strengthen YCS to grow as a district and increase Ypsilanti parent confidence in our schools. The county is ultimately stronger when each of its districts are strong as well, especially as we collectively fight the charter system that is trying to undermine our ability to provide quality accessible public education to all children. Ypsilanti does not want to be a drain on county resources and the parents of the children enrolled in YCS are committed to its success. Ypsilanti needs the opportunity to continue building its enrollment, so we can provide better benefits for all of our excellent teachers and increase our financial security, which will ultimately benefit the rest of the districts in the county that WEOC represents as well.
We know the superintendents that make up the WEOC board understand the disparity in equity the students in YCS face compared to the other districts in our county, and we believe that they will take these factors into consideration as they work with YCS about the future of WIMA and the Ypsilanti students who attend it (who may lose eligibility for free school lunch if WEOC is the governing body). Graphically, you can see the disparities in the economic and racial makeup of YCS compared to the rest of the districts in Washtenaw County here.
The best solution for everyone would be for WIMA to remain a YCS school with WEOC as the consulting body that oversees the IB curriculum. WEOC will further benefit from this arrangement by not having to develop policy, manage WIMA personnel issues, deal with the complications of managing accounting between districts, and the assurance that the students who make up their districts already have access to well-sought after schools. Anyone in Washtenaw County who cares about equitable access in our schools is encouraged to sign this petition.
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