LANSING, MI (WILX) -- The school board has been hearing from several people upset that the district is focusing on an internal search, rather than looking outside.
Some say it's not just the allegations against acting superintendent Mark Coscarella, its the condition of the district...which begs the question: what kind of condition is it in?
"Yvonne and Mr. Coscarella have set up a mandate and mindset that permeates the district and its called 'Nothing Bad Happens Here, Don't Say Anything," one woman said during public comment on Thursday.
One of the arguments against Coscarella this week is that the district needs new leadership. Some parents brought up poor performance in Lansing. Michigan Department of Education statistics show more than 40 percent of third and fourth graders are not proficient in math. The numbers are worse for fifth through eighth graders, with more than 60 percent not proficient in the 2016-2017 school year.
Compare this to a similar size school district like Warren and Ann Arbor, where the numbers are in better, significantly so in some cases.
Warren Consolidated Schools had less than 28 percent of third graders and 37 percent listed as not proficient, with and less than 51 percent of fifth through eight graders listed as such.
Ann Arbor on the other hand, had less than 16 percent of third and fourth grade kids not proficient in math, with less than 20 percent of students in fifth through eight grade at that level too.
"Find somebody outside this school district because obviously nobody here is qualified, and find someone to clean up this district. Quit spending money on football fields and put it back in education...teach the third graders who can't read or write how to read or write," a man said to the board.
In emails, people have also brought up the number of students who leave the district through schools of choice or private school. In Lansing it's nearly 6,500 which comes out to roughly 38 percent of school-aged kids who live in the district. Again, the numbers are lower in Warren (about 4,000) and Ann Arbor (about 1,600).
With this in mind, many are wondering why not open the search? Especially with the cloud of controversy around the acting superintendent.
"I just encourage you to look at all the evidence you have. Open up the search, be fair to everyone involved in the process, including Dr. Coscarella and keep in mind the interest of all people here, the taxpayers, the students, and all the people who work for the administration and the district," another man addressed board.
Warren and Ann Arbor aren't exact matches for Lansing. We chose them because the cities have similar populations and enrollments. We used test scores from the 2016-2017 school year because that's the most-recent data available from the state.
To see how your child's school district compares, click here.
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