Detroit Caucus Slams SRO Plan for Potential School Closure

Legislators claim state shirking responsibility for schools they destroyed
Friday, January 20, 2017

DETROIT — The House Democratic Detroit Caucus today railed against the updated potential school closure list the School Reform Office released this morning. In addition to the 24 previous DPS and EAA schools on the list, another 25 schools have been put on notice that they could potentially be subject to a closure next year.

“DPS is already hanging on by a thread,” said state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), the Urban Education Reform Chair. “The district would collapse under the weight of additional closures. These kids and their families have been put through hell for the last decade, suffering through spending cuts, being forced to attend school in nearly inhumane conditions, and watching a steady stream of corrupt bad actors, looking to profit off the demise of public education, collude to bleed the district dry. These potential closures have much broader implications now that Betsey DeVos could potentially be our next Secretary of Education. Her political front shop, the Great Lakes Education Project has lobbied for the slow dismantling of public schools, and now they’re seeing the fruits of their labor. It is hypocritical of our state administration to both support her potential appointment to the highest education office in the nation, while simultaneously admitting that she’s helped run schools into the ground here at home. If you want a taste of what America’s public school landscape will look like under a potential Secretary DeVos, look no further than DPS.”

The list released by the SRO contains the bottom 5 percent of schools performing across the state, and if they fail to elevate their performance, they are subject to sanction and potential closure. In a letter sent to the parents of children attending the listed schools, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which oversees the SRO, stated that SRO head Natasha Baker would conduct evaluations over the next 30 days, to determine “next steps” for the schools. Depending on Baker’s findings, schools could be subjected to closure by the end of the year.

“While there were a number of people who took part in the destruction of our district, the worst was former DPS emergency manager Darnell Earley,” said state Rep. Brian Banks (D-Detroit), chairman of the Detroit Caucus. “He and the administration he served answered to one authority, and it was that of the almighty dollar. We cannot continue to chip away at the access and opportunity of these children without serious consequences. These kids deserve better.”