The following is a paper that was written during a course that occurred within the requirements for Master’s of Administration from Central Michigan University. First, you can view the Description Introduction of the problem below as text and then download the research from Scribd for further reading.
Perception takes a turn for the worse when there are forces, often outside of an organization, that seep into to the function of the organization and have an aggravating effect. In the case of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the idea of lacking diversity has spawned several idealistic proposed solutions none of which have panned out effective. Schools of choice, charter schools, “No Child Left Behind” schools, and magnet schools have all been enacted to mundane or zero success. The players in the MDE, paired with the Legislature and various school boards and administrators, have tried unsuccessfully to solve the problem of figuring out how to diversify Michigan’s K- 12 schools and districts.
The issues facing the MDE are simple: dragging test scores, segregated communities causing mirroring segregated schools, and low education funding. The goal of the MDE is to reverse the first issue. The MDE also wants to solve the second issue even though it maintains a weak grip on the third. The problem is easy to see. Tweaking the second issue, a problem in and of itself, will not solve the problem of dragging test scores. The second issue is its own separate issue, not a fix for another!
That is why these three issues are problematic. The MDE does not see them as three distinct and separate issues. The MDE bounces one issue off another and tries to develop an umbrella fix. “If we integrate districts with schools of choice, the test scores will rise.” they think. The better view, though, would be to examine the issue of segregation separately from the issue of slumping test scores. Solve one problem, then another may solve itself. The MDE should not depend on that outcome, but they are welcome to hope for it.
Diversity issues exist locally, at a state-wide level, and are encompassed in both distinct districts and the headquartered offices of the MDE. Although segregation does occur in each individual district and will be looked at by the author, the approach to a solution will be more effectively examined at the organizational level of the MDE.
The author will show how a holistic view of diversity in education produces a better atmosphere for education. A better atmosphere enhances the learning environment and test scores may rise. The author will point out certain realities and perceptions that must be evacuated so that an invading sour perception can leave the operation of the
MDE to allow room for improvement.