Statement from state Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) on fellow legislators calling for the closure of DPS schools by the School Reform Office

Thursday, September 8, 2016

“I am appalled to see that my Republican colleagues are seeking state Attorney General Schuette’s opinion and calling for the School Reform Office to close DPS schools that fall within the 5 percent mark of low-performing schools across the state, without taking into account their legislation from earlier this year, which created a new legal school district that should not be held accountable for actions created under the old district. The DPS package clearly creates a new, independent district, removed from the stain of 15 years of state control, during which time the former district was run into the ground by a string of emergency managers. These bills changed the legal status of the district, and to shut their doors now would violate the statue of school closure. Yet my colleagues seem to be under the impression that the laws they wrote and forced through the Legislature only apply in circumstances they deem appropriate, allowing them to both say DPSCD is a new school district, and still punish it for the issues of the previous one. The Miller Canfield opinion issued this summer makes it crystal clear that the new district should not be held accountable for the actions — or in this case, test scores — of the previous district. The state has failed Detroit’s students time and time again, whether it’s been with an unprecedented number of school closings, by increasing the deficit, or creating a failed pseudo-charter educational organization in the Educational Achievement Authority. Now Republican legislators want to throw more taxpayer money away to forcibly close the new DPSCD they just created. It is clear that their motives are politically driven, and they fail to take into account the people who would be most impact by this sudden upheaval: the children they claim to be protecting. Our children deserve better, and we owe it to them to search for and apply real-world, bipartisan solutions to these problems, not simply closing their schools which clearly violates the civil rights of students in a predominantly African American district.”