LANSING — Michigan House Democrats voted against a House Republican Detroit Public Schools plan tonight that would force the closure of DPS schools, rather than giving them the resources and support they need to recover, while allowing failing charter schools to proliferate without accountability inside the city of Detroit. While the new plan sends more dollars to the district, it fails to put in place the reforms needed to ensure DPS will recover from its financial crisis, making it likely that DPS will be in the same situation a year or two down the road.
“House Republicans are playing games with the Detroit Public Schools, and the children of Detroit are the ones who will lose,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “House Republicans are forcing the closure of public schools while allowing failing charter schools to proliferate. Republicans are making it clear who they serve: charter school operators, not children. House Republicans have again turned their backs on the bipartisan solution reached in the Senate that brought together educators and administrators, business and community leaders. By throwing money at the Detroit Public Schools without enacting needed reforms, Republicans are wasting taxpayer dollars. We can’t support a plan like this.”
The new House Republican plan is even worse than the failed plan debated three weeks ago. Besides its threat to close public schools while letting failing charters operate with impunity, it also eliminates an accountability framework — which would have brought together a diverse group of education, community and business leaders to improve public, charter and cyber schools in Detroit. The House Republican plan replaces the Detroit Education Commission with a toothless advisory council. It would also welcome uncertified and inexperienced teachers into classrooms.
“Instead of joining us at the table to create a workable plan for Detroit Public Schools, House Republicans are once again insisting on going their own way and doubling down on ideas that are bound to fail,” said Detroit Caucus Chairman Rep. Brian Banks (D-Detroit). “Make no mistake, this is a plan that serves special interests rather than the kids of Detroit. These kids are counting on us to get it right, and they deserve better than this.”
The plan now advances to the Senate for consideration.
“What happened here today is a shame,” Urban Education Advisory Reform Chairwoman Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) said. “It’s an embarrassment that this plan was voted out of the House, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do the sensible thing and reject it.”