The Tower Editorial Board
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
With the search underway for a new superintendent of the Grosse Pointe Public School System (GPPSS), students have reasonable expectations and suggestions that they would like the district to take into consideration when selecting a superintendent.
However, the number of students that the School Board references as representatives of the Grosse Pointe student body is disproportionate to the number of students enrolled in the district. This discrepancy has raised questions as to whether students have a meaningful voice in one of the most important decisions for the district.
The number of students who are given a say in the hiring process totals four students, two from South and two from North. At first, some district members thought it was unnecessary for as many as four students to be included, in comparison to having only two special needs parents. Therefore, spots were created to readjust the ratio, and these four students were joined by more special education parents.
Although special needs students are a critical and important part of the district and their parents should have a significant say in the selection of a new superintendent, it seems unfair that this minority group is represented by more members than the thousands of students in the district.
Certainly, the district has outdone itself in providing us with the means with which to learn, excel and grow. The GPPSS has a plethora of resources that many other districts cannot compete with. We feel it is a privilege to be given access to the impressive technology, extensive and effective faculty and extracurriculars that the district holds.
Undoubtedly, the students of the GPPSS are more than fortunate in nearly every aspect. But the students help maintain the district’s high standards. Yet consideration of the student body is one thing in which we feel the district is lacking.
The number of students active in the superintendent hiring process is not nearly enough to represent the district’s substantial student body. Between the two high schools alone, only four students to represent more than 3,000 students seems unfair.
Students should have a say in the faculty hired to lead the district, especially for topics such as any future technology bonds, educational resources and changes to board policy. Granted, students may not be as informed regarding issues that may increase local taxes, for example, but their input is desperately needed.
High school students in particular need to have a say regarding their experience as a student going through the GPPSS in order to improve any areas that may have been overlooked, for the success of future generations. However, this can work simultaneously with a wider array of the community population.
Only 686 community members were involved in the survey for the superintendent search. Had there been more publicity, perhaps a greater portion of the community would have participated and made suggestions. Certainly the district could have utilized the opinions of more than four students as well as increased the number of representatives for special needs families.
We see no reason why the district could not bring more students to have a voice in what goes on in our education. After all, from Grosse Pointe South or North, many students are going on to top universities and programs around the world. We need to have a say in what leads us to that point. If the district wants to continue its success and maintain its high standards, getting input from those who assist in making it so is the most logical decision.