Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

What Would Detroit School Closings Mean For Parents, Students, and Schools?

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You don’t fix a school by closing it. You just perpetuate the problem,” says SBE Vice President Casandra Ulbrich.

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Casandra Ulbrich (left) and Michelle Fecteau (right)Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Casandra Ulbrich (left) and Michelle Fecteau (right)

The state can shut down low-performing schools in Detroit by the end of this school year. That’s what Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently said in an opinion.

Detroit school advocates, parents, and Detroit lawmakers are blasting the opinion. They say one of the positive things about legislation to turn around DPS was that it was supposed to give schools time to improve. 

Schuette’s opinion also runs counter to a third-party legal opinion that says the state cannot shut down Detroit schools.

What would it mean for students, parents, and the sustainability of the district for the state to come in and start shutting down buildings?

Two Democratic members of the State Board of Education (SBE) join Detroit Today to talk about the AG’s opinion. They also discuss their views about what works - as well as what doesn’t work - when it comes to turning around failing schools in a place like Detroit.

You don’t fix a school by closing it. You just perpetuate the problem,” says SBE Vice President Casandra Ulbrich (D-Rochester Hills). 

I try to keep my kids in the same community where they were initially raised, and I found it to be a wonderful school,” says Michelle Fecteau, and SBE member from Detroit, who also has children who attend Detroit public schools. But she says that school is one that could be closed.

Fecteau says she believes there’s too much emphasis on evaluating schools, teachers, and students based on high-stakes standardized tests. And, she says, other factors such as poverty are not taken into account when these decisions are made.

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


Detroit Journalism Cooperative

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at detroitjournalism.org.

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



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