Detroit school reform: Take 1,362
You can’t fault Michigan for trying. And then trying some more. To heal the ailing Detroit Public Schools, leaders of the Wolverine State have created an emergency financial manager, have renegotiated the teacher contract, have shuttered failing schools, and have pledged to convert nearly half of its high schools to charters. Despite all this, DPS has remained at death’s door. But an ambitious and experimental new treatment, announced on Monday by Governor Rick Snyder (and backed by Arne Duncan) might well provide some relief. The new plan (which, if effective in the Motor City, will expand out to other failing schools and districts in the state) creates a “recovery school district” of sorts for Motown’s bottom 5 percent of schools. This new mini-district, called the Education Achievement System, will give its schools’ principals the authority to hand-pick their teachers and handle their own budgets, as well as increase total instruction time for students. The new district (along with all Detroit public schools) will be under the purview of DPS emergency manager Roy Roberts and a small appointed committee. Much like what’s in place for New Orleans’s RSD, EAS schools will be required to stay in the system for at least five years, at which point improved schools can choose to remain with EAS, return to DPS, or convert to an independent charter. Further, the initiative will expand the lauded Kalamazoo Promise program, a privately-funded scholarship that will foot the bill for two years of post-secondary education for all DPS graduates. Details about the initiative remain scarce—including how the district plans to recruit the talent needed to staff schools in the EAS. But it’s an encouraging sign that the Motor City may have some life left after all.
|Click to listen to commentary on Synder's reform plan from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
“Rick Snyder to announce sweeping DPS reforms Monday,” by David Jesse, Chastity Pratt Dawsey, and Chris Christoff, Detroit Free Press, June 19, 2011.
“New hope for state's hopeless schools,” The Detroit News, June 21, 2011.
“Plan aims to revitalize Detroit schools,” The Associated Press, June 20, 2011.
“Detroit Announces New Authority For Failing Schools,” by Joy Resmovits, The Huffington Post, June 20, 2011.
blog comments powered by Disqus