A group of leaders in Detroit is calling for the local school board to regain governance of all city public schools from the emergency management agency created by the state. The group also wants the state of Michigan to assume responsibility for the district’s debt and create a legislative body, the Detroit Education Commission, to coordinate citywide education.
The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren made its sweeping recommendations in a 28-page report, “The Choice is Ours.”
“We believe that these recommendations represent the best way forward to level the playing field of education in Detroit,” said Coalition co-chair Tonya Allen. “We also believe these recommendations can help other troubled school districts in Michigan.”
The panel developed the recommendations after spending 100 days researching the issues that have resulted in poor academic performance in Detroit schools.
Some of the panel’s other recommendations:
- The state of Michigan should audit Detroit public schools so the system can reallocate resources and adopt best practices for improved instruction and management.
- The State School Reform/Redesign Office should absorb the Education Achievement Authority, the emergency management agency created by the state several years ago to oversee the lowest-performing schools in Detroit, and create a plan to turn over governance of those schools to the local board.
- A task force be created to identify facilities-related barriers and make sure that all students have access to clean and safe school buildings.
Regarding the Detroit Education Commission, the coalition envisions that it would:
- Establish and regularly convene a group to set citywide performance standards, and collect and publish school performance and financial data;
- Decide to open, consolidate, close, “fresh start” or relocate schools;
- Manage a student data system to support equitable school choice; and
- Hire a public advocate, who will serve as an ombudsman for parents across all types of school governance.