Public education in Detroit is a mess. In a new national study, Detroit emerged as one of the nation’s worst big cities, with district eighth-graders performing at a fifth-grade level, on average.
Even charter schools, which enroll the majority of public school students, lag behind those of many cities. Though we have the nation’s second highest percentage of students in charters, the best charter operators and philanthropic funders avoid the city like the plague.
If Mayor Mike Duggan and other civic leaders want to change that, they should create an “advisory” Detroit Education Commission, as called for by state legislation last year, and appoint visible, respected leaders to it. That commission could shame charter authorizers into cleaning up Detroit’s charter sector by closing failing schools.
Charter authorizers give organizations their charters and withdraw them if they fail. Nationally, most are state boards or elected school boards, but in Michigan public colleges and universities do most of the authorizing. Twelve of them authorize in Detroit — and too many of those let failing schools survive, year after year.
Read more at The Detroit News.