Monday, December 19, 2016

School choice gutted Detroit’s public schools. The rest of the country is next. – VICE News

School choice gutted Detroit’s public schools. The rest of the country is next. – VICE News:

School choice gutted Detroit’s public schools. The rest of the country is next.

It was a chilly afternoon in April 2013 when Roy Roberts, a former GM executive now charged with righting the struggling Detroit Public Schools, appeared in the auditorium of Oakman Elementary/Orthopedic, a school on the city’s northwest side. Roberts had arrived with an entourage of district officials and he didn’t waste any time with small talk. “We’ll be closing Northwestern,” he announced.
About a dozen parents were there, among them Aliya Moore, the president of the parents’ organization. Moore’s older daughter, Chrishawana, was in fifth grade and her final year at the school, where she’d been since kindergarten. Her youngest, Tylyia, just a toddler at the time, had become a fixture on the campus, often seen coloring in the back of one of the kindergarten classrooms. Moore wasn’t sure what to make of the robocall she’d received the night before summoning her to the meeting, but she knew she had to be there.
Now she and the other parents looked at Roberts, perplexed. Northwestern was a high school a 10-minute drive south on Grand Blvd., close to where Berry Gordy molded a bunch of DPS kids into Motown idols in the ’60s and ’70s. What did this possibly have to do with Oakman?
“Oakman! Oakman! I mean Oakman Elementary, we’ll be closing you,” Roberts corrected himself. He had a list of six schools to close that year, adding to the nearly 100 schools that had been shuttered since 2009, when the state took over the district in an attempt to fix its growing debt. Perhaps he could be forgiven for the mixup. Still, it stung. Amid the district’s constant chaos, Oakman, with its tight-knit community and accommodations for special-needs students, had never seemed in danger.
Rushing through a slideshow, Roberts said that the school had to close for two reasons: low enrollment and a need for $900,000 in repairs. He told the parents that their kids could attend Noble Elementary (1.2 miles away) or Henderson Elementary (2.4 miles away) the following year. Even though more School choice gutted Detroit’s public schools. The rest of the country is next. – VICE News:





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