Michigan takes control of Detroit

This week, Michigan announced a new statewide district to run the persistently low-performing Detroit schools, called the Education Achievement System. Principals in the new district have increased autonomy over their buildings, a higher percentage of dollars will reach the building (as opposed to administrative or debt costs), and foundations and philanthropic organizations will fund at least two years of post-secondary education for all students who graduate. The state-wide district will eventually expand and take on schools outside of Detroit.

The state-wide carve-out zone has a strong and growing history in other locations across the country (most notably the Recovery School District in Louisiana), the model will only work if it’s implemented with fidelity. That fidelity is dependent on significant political will to overcome controversy and an increasing supply of strong teachers and principals. Unless those two potential barriers are addressed, and early, the impact of the new system is uncertain.

But in Detroit, it’s about time for drastic action.

Read more: Sweeping overhaul set for ailing Michigan schools, The Detroit News, June 21, 2001.

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