(WXYZ) — A bill is being drafted that aims to make sure every school credit counts. The Michigan Department of Education is involved in that bill and the co-vice chair of the state school board says what advocates of the electronic transcript system are demanding would be a huge investment. However, they are working towards systemic change and this will take time.
“Oh, that’s sweet. That’s exactly what I want to see,” said Christopher Jacobs, a student at Ferris State University.
Jacob is newly in his 20s and studying business administration at Ferris State. He also attends trucking school while working as a CNA.
He said, “Everyone has a purpose in life and I believe my purpose is to get a degree, open a business, set an example for my family.”
Jacob says she’s determined to establish a blueprint of stability and structure, two concepts foreign to her growing up in foster care and constantly changing homes and curriculums.
“I remember one time I went to three schools in one semester,” he said.
Jacob says he went to 12 different high schools and despite going to school his whole life, he learned as a senior he only had 7 credits and needed 18 to graduate.
“I wanted to leave,” he said.
Christian Randall’s experience is almost identical to Jacob’s. At age 17, he learned that he would have to start over as a freshman because the residential homes he was placed in did not have an accredited school program, meaning his classes did not count.
But with the help of the Park West Foundation, Randall, Jacobs and other foster youth shared their stories to lawmakers in Lansing, most of whom were unaware of the problem.
His advocacy work began last February and more than 365 days later, not much has changed. What they’re fighting for is including all electronic transcripts, so student information won’t get lost in the shuffle and students themselves can clearly see how many credits they have. They are also asking that all school programs in which they are enrolled be credit-constrained.
7 Action News contacted the Michigan Department of Education … and MDHHS to see if progress was being made but neither group was willing to be interviewed. MDHHS returned email saying they are not responsible for accrediting school programs, but say they have created two new education analyst positions to help oversee the 10,000 children currently in Michigan foster care .