After three years of unsuccessful reform, columnists are calling out for a radical reform in Detroit Public Schools.
The system itself has created unsatisfactory results with unbalanced expenses. Detroit Public Schools have been one of the worst performing school districts in Michigan while Michigan Education ranks near the bottom in national. On the other hand, Detroit Public Schools have been suffering from financial problems. In fact, Detroit Public Schools has been under financial emergency since the state superintendent declared it in 2008. Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager, took on the job to fix Detroit Public Schools.
Since then, Bobb has closed down 59 schools, lay off numerous teachers and consolidate bus services in order to save the financially burdened Detroit Public Schools. However, these measures were of no avail. The school district is now facing a $327 million deficit. In addition, Bobb’s recent proposals exemplified how serious the situation is.
One of the possibilities is for the state to forgive the deficit of Detroit Public Schools. Under this premise, the Detroit Public Schools then can go through some radical restructuring. Bobb propose to break up Detroit Public Schools into two smaller school districts- one of them would carry the deficit of the original Detroit Public Schools while the other one is debt free. The debt-free district will carry some of the ideals outlined in the Race to the Top which is thought to be structurally beneficial.
The alternative would be “draconian” cuts that would result in bigger class sizes, school closure and any other necessary measures. Bobb estimated high school class size would be 62 under the plan and 72 schools will be closed in order to bring Detroit Public Schools back to the black in 2014.
Under the current economic hardship in state and the national level, many view that Bobb’s proposal is either financially impossible or politically unfavorable. Sadly, these two options seem to be the only options that are on the table. Other influential leaders on Detroit Public School issues, such as Mayor of Detroit, a Detroit city legislator, or a city council member, haven’t presented any solution for the future of DPS. Columnists have been calling for the leaders to stand up and offer their leadership to solve the puzzle of Detroit Public Schools. They believe that Bobb’s proposal shouldn’t be viewed as the only solution. Instead, Bobb’s proposal should open some room for brainstorming for better solutions.