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Detroit Schools Make Case Against School Closings

 

Sascha Raiyn

Parents, district staff and community members attended a joint DPSCD EAA learning summit focused on addressing student achievement.

The  Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Educational Achievement Authority held a joint learning summit Tuesday night to discuss the future of 24 schools that may be closed due to poor performance. The districts submitted their “hardship” arguments to the state Wednesday, explaining why those schools should be kept open. They also shared that information with the community.

DPSCD Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather said the district is working on finding innovative solutions to improving student achievement. She said that starts with an understanding of the systemic problems that lead to failing schools.

Anyone who would like to simplify struggling schools to simply saying it’s person x’s fault or person y’s fault simply doesn’t understand the issues,” Meriweather told summit attendees. “These are very, very complex issues and they require all kinds of thinking to come behind and to come up with solutions.”

The districts provided “data” stations for each school explaining how many students would be affected by the closure, whether there was a nearby school that could serve students if the school is closed, and if that school is at risk of closure in 2018. DPSCD has 16 schools on the state’s closure list. The EAA has eight. 

Veronica Conforme, the chancellor of the Educational Achievement Authority, said it’s important for the state and the community to know that EAA schools have made progress.

The reality is that we have data that supports that most of them have been improving,” Conforme said. “In our case – the EAA – seven schools improved in reading; eight improved in math. Our growth is actually outpacing the state’s growth.”

The learning summit featured presentations from educators within the EAA and DPSCD, as well as from districts in Tennessee and Massachusetts where struggling schools have been successfully turned around. The EAA schools are scheduled to rejoin the Detroit Public Schools Community District July 1, 2017.


LIST OF DPSCD SCHOOLS TARGETED FOR CLOSURE:

Ann Arbor Trail Magnet

Bow Elementary-Middle

J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy

Detroit Collegiate Prep High School at Northwestern

Detroit Institute of Technology at Cody

Durfee Elementary-Middle 

Fisher Magnet Upper Academy

Gompers Elementary-Middle

Henderson Academy

Marquette Elementary-Middle

Mason Elementary

Osborn Academy of Mathematics

Osborn Evergreen Academy of Design and Alternative Energy

Sampson Academy

Thirkell Elementary

LIST OF EAA SCHOOLS TARGETED FOR CLOSURE:

Burns Elementary-Middle

Denby High School

Ford High School

Law Elementary

Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle

Mumford High School

Pershing High School

Southeastern High School

Image credit: Sascha Raiyn

About the Author

Sascha Raiyn

Reporter & Producer

Native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.

sraiyn@wdet.org   Follow @sraiyn

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