Underperforming Detroit Public Schools will not be forced to close by the state

Posted at 1:18 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 13:18:14-04

On Thursday, the state reform office released a list of the bottom 5 percent of schools in Michigan. About one-third of them are in Detroit.

The state, under law, has the option to take control or force the shut down of schools if they have been on the list for three years. However, Gov. Rick Snyder says since lawmakers created a new district this year, Detroit Schools will be given a clean academic slate.

“Today marks a historical moment in public education in the City of Detroit,” said Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent.

Meriweather stood with teachers, parents, and school leaders in what the state calls a priority school. Gompers Elementary Middle School is in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide.

Meriweather says with the additional funding the district will have due to the legislation that addressed debt, academics will improve. She says the governor made the right decision.

Not everyone agrees failing schools should be allowed to stay open and remain under local control.

Gary Naeyart, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project is against the decision. His organization lobbies for choice and supports charter school growth.

"Detroit Public Schools teachers, administrators and schools didn’t come down from the Starship Enterprise on July first when legislation was passed,” said Naeyart.  "The legislature was not trying to give Detroit Public Schools a three-year-long vacation from accountability.”

Meriweather and families at the school today say that’s not what this is.

“We do need to look in the mirror and make adjustments, but it is not a vacation from accountability. We are holding ourselves accountable,” said Meriweather.