Sen. Colbeck provides testimony on what has worked to turn around failing schools

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, summarized his key takeaways thus far surrounding the potential closure of 38 schools on Tuesday before the Senate Education Committee.

During his testimony, Sen. Colbeck highlighted the requirements cited by education professionals emphasizing the need for local control and student engagement. The Senator invited Seth Mauth from the “5 Star Life Program” to join him and highlight the success that his organization has had turning around troubled schools.

“It is clear from the testimony we have heard that the key to turning around failing schools is a motivated group of teachers, parents and students,” said Sen. Colbeck. “The 5 Star Life Program has demonstrated success by creating an environment where students want to be there and see the value in learning. This in turn reinvigorates teachers and becomes a source of pride for parents.”

The 5 Star Life Program has had success by offering accredited coursework that both engages and empowers students through focusing on the five tenets of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Sacrifice, and Courage. The coursework is done in conjunction with local teachers and is designed to also look at workforce readiness, mentoring, and at risk education. Data from the program’s success shows students and teachers who use the program function more as a team, as highlighted by initial success that was shown through marked reductions in disciplinary problems. In the long run, schools can then show other results such as a 75 percent reduction in chronic truancy, with up to 79 percent of students showing at least one form of demonstrable academic improvement.

“Both federal and state legislators are always tempted to ratchet up control measures when faced with poor test scores and low graduation rates,” said Sen. Colbeck. “While these metrics are indeed useful to highlight poor performing schools, it is clear that local control, not state mandates, offer the best opportunity to turn around failing schools. The state provides a valuable monitoring function, but we need to empower students, teachers and parents so that they are able to direct their futures.”

“During my visit on Saturday to the Denby Area Neighborhood, home to three of the 38 schools slated for closure, the clear message that I heard from community members was that they want empowerment, not more state control. The 5 Star Life Program has been proven to empower communities and create thriving learning environments.”

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Sen. Colbeck photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com and click Photowire on the lower left-hand side of the website.

Photo caption: Senator Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, and Seth Mauth of the 5 Star Life Program, testify before the Michigan Senate Education Committee on Feb. 28.

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