Promise Scholarship offers students a lot
The Promise Program may not be perfect for any one student but it offers so much for so many.
Earning a GPA of 2.5 may be difficult initially for some students, but the Michigan City High School (MCHS) has a fine Early College Program beginning at ninth grade for students who may not have previously earned good grades but demonstrate the potential to do so. With additional guidance, summer school, and personal commitment, we are seeing the grades of this group improve. Once academic growth is achieved, they have the potential to go on to earn dual credits and to graduate with an Associate’s Degree, as does any MCHS student who takes Honors Courses. In fact, students can complete a year of college, or more, at MCHS and save their parents approximately $20,000.
Under the guidance of local banks and real estate agents, some families will learn that they actually can afford to buy a home. However, if home ownership is not possible, their children will most likely qualify for a 21st Century Scholarship based on financial need. That scholarship amount is comparable to the amount the Promise Scholarship provides.
Indiana Public Education has taken a major loss of funding since 2008. Public schools are no longer funded by property taxes except for capital projects and transportation. In addition, when parents choose to send their students to charter or private schools through state vouchers, public school enrollment count decreases. That numerical decrease, in turn, reduces the amount of state funding for that public school system. Last school year, 2015-2016, Michigan City Area Schools lost $2,102,539.96 due to students leaving public schools. Despite the decrease in funds resulting in loss of staff, MCAS continues to provide sound, educational programs that prepare and encourage students to excel. Those programs are part of the free, public school services that any child in the MCAS District can access if their parents make the choice to do so. The public schools continue to provide free services for some of the most educationally costly youngsters despite the fact that they are not even in public school buildings. Special educators from the public schools travel to serve special needs students who attend private schools where special services are not provided.
The Promise Program is dedicated to improving our city. What better way to advance a community than by providing educated, skilled young workers. Real Estate agents readily acknowledge that a very common question from potential home owners is to inquire about the state of public education in a community they are considering to call home. The public school system is the pulse of a community.
Jo Ann Engquist
Chris Matthews needs to apologize
Chris Matthews owes the people of Michigan City an apology. On a recent MSNBC program, the on-air political pundit disparaged our city in a manner that was highly offensive and totally inaccurate. Matthews opined Michigan City was "hollowed out" with may be a Blockbuster and a diner left — a city struggling for an identity in a post-industrial world. That overused cliché does not remotely describe our city's growing economy. While other municipalities have indeed struggled, Michigan City has been able to transition to a more diversified economy.
Evidence of the successful change abound: Washington Park and the Lakefront Complex, Blue Chip Casino, Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, Artspace Uptown Artist Lofts, International Friendship Gardens, Barker Mansion, Lubeznik Center for the Arts — just to name a few.
In addition, our city hosts a number of events attracting visitors to the area: Great Lakes Grand Prix, a fireworks display, beach volleyball and soccer tournaments, band concerts, theatrical productions, marching band competitions — again, just to name a few.
To Mr. Matthews' ludicrous assertion our city's dining choices have been reduced to one greasy spoon diner, consider the following: For its population, City has an array of restaurants, running the gamut from casual eateries to more sumptuous dining.
Chris Matthews is guilty of shoddy journalism and, in the process, has denigrated our community. He needs to do the right thing and admit his error by issuing an on-air apology.