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Questions raised about program where Chinese kids come to Mason City for high school diplomas

This news story was published on March 25, 2016.
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Dr. Anita Micich

Dr. Anita Micich, Superintendent of Mason City Schools

Good morning Dr. Micich,

Can you provide information on the current status of the partnership that has been launched between the Mason City School District (MCCSD) and Abroad Education, involving Chinese students coming to Mason City and receiving high school diplomas?

I have been briefed on the scenario, in general, where up to a dozen Chinese students would pay money to come to Mason City and later receive high school diplomas.

I noticed that Mason City and the other communities that were to be involved in this “program” (Clear Lake, Charles City, Cedar Falls, Hudson and East/West Waterloo) were heavily represented on Abroad Education’s website ( Mason City was listed there and called the leader of the initiative here in Iowa.  Also, the Globe Gazette wrote “Mason City was most receptive .. and will serve as the lead school for the initiative.” I further noticed that Abroad Education used photos of Mason City students (and from other towns) on this website.

However, checking this same website today, all the information and photos on these schools are now removed from the site.  I have also heard grumblings from parents whose children were in the photos used in Abroad’s website.

china-flagAnita, I have some questions about this “program” and what led to the partnership between the MCCSD and Abroad Education:

1) Who gave Abroad Education permission to use photos of MCCSD students on their website?

2) What conversations have you had with Tom Pinkham, Executive Director of Abroad Education? He was heavily quoted in the Globe’s earlier story, touting the benefits of this “program”. I have tried to contact Mr. Pinkham and he doesn’t answer his phone (904-384-9556). Did you tell Mr. Pinkham to remove the MCCSD’s information and photos from his website?

LinkedIn screenshot

LinkedIn screenshot

3) Are you aware of the other partner schools dropping out of this partnership with Abroad Education?  I have a call in to Dr. Dan Cox,  Charles City Schools Superintendent, regarding this matter.  However, I am told the other districts may be out.

4) At what point did the Mason City School Board become involved in this process and vote on this partnership? If they did not approve the partnership, how involved was the board in giving you direction to proceed with making this partnership? Has the MCCSD or any of its employees accepted any funds in any way from Abroad Education?

5) Do you anticipate this “program” where Chinese kids come to Mason City to get diplomas will still be undertaken by the MCCSD?  Will the school board have this item removed from the April 4 meeting agenda or go ahead and address the item in any way?  Do you anticipate the board will approve this “program”?

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6 Responses to Questions raised about program where Chinese kids come to Mason City for high school diplomas

  1. Frank Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Oh, so wonderful Dr Micich is running a for profit business now, eh?

  2. Allen Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Matt, they’re probably jumping thru their asses trying to figure out how this is going to be answered.

  3. Where is our board on this? Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Matt, Have you contacted any board members to see what their thoughts are on this?

    • NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      March 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      Didn’t have time. Dr. Micich cleared it up pretty fast. She has cancelled pursuit of the program.

  4. LVS Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    No answer of course.

  5. Sad But True Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    public education and funds, smoke and mirrors