Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Detroit charter shuts down. Is this what school accountability looks like? | Michigan Radio

A Detroit charter shuts down. Is this what school accountability looks like? | Michigan Radio:

A Detroit charter shuts down. Is this what school accountability looks like?

Allen Academy is unimstakably a former Catholic church.
Allen Academy is unimstakably a former Catholic church.
ALLEN ACADEMY / VIA FACEBOOK

How do you decide if a so-called “failing” school should shut down, and is there a right way to do it?
Three Detroit charter schools shut their doors forever at the end of this school year.
One of them, Allen Academy, was one of the city’s very first charters. And its closure leaves a wake of upheaval.
"The kids are going to be better off"
The ornate, red-brick complex on Detroit’s west side is unmistakably an old Catholic church.
The Saint Theresa of Avila parish closed in the 1980s. Since 1999, it’s been Allen Academy.
But Allen Academy is now closing too. As early summer light poured through the stained glass windows, a few people milled around folding tables scattered around the old nave, talking to representatives from a handful of other charter and traditional public schools in Detroit.
“The idea was that parents and kids could come in here, they could meet with all the various schools, they could find a program that would match the kind of learner that they are, and they could find a good spot for next year,” said Buddy Moorehouse, a spokesman for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.
MAPSA put together this enrollment fair in late June, after Allen Academy’s charter authorizer, Ferris State University, declined to renew its contract.
The reason given: consistently low academic performance.
Moorehouse admits that closing a school is always tough, but says it’s the right choice in this case. “The kids are going to be better off if they move to one of these schools. It’s really that simple,” he said.
Sandra Martin was there promoting the Detroit Merit Academy. It’s another charter school located way across town, on Detroit’s far east side.
It has a handful of open seats. But Allen Academy had nearly 900 K-12 students, and Martin says it could be tough for all of them to find good schools on such short notice.
“It seems like ill timing to me,” Martin said. “I actually didn’t even know the school was closing. Apparently their staff didn’t either until a week prior to.”
Late notice leaves some parents scrambling
A lot of Allen parents didn’t know it was coming, either — though they’d known for A Detroit charter shuts down. Is this what school accountability looks like? | Michigan Radio:
 

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