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detroit public schools

Clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

Sixty-two years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, many school districts in Michigan and throughout the country remain deeply segregated.

In the Detroit City School District, for example, just 2.18% of students are white, while more than 80% are black. In many of the city’s suburbs, the numbers are reversed. In Utica Community Schools (which includes Sterling Heights), about 86% of students are white, while fewer than 5% are black.

students next to lockers in a line
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The fates of neighborhoods and schools are intimately intertwined. That's especially true in high-poverty areas like Detroit. 

You can see those fates playing out in tandem across the city in part one and two of this documentary. 

So how do we make sense of what is happening, not just in Detroit, but in cities all across the country?

And why, despite wave after wave of reforms, do America’s inner city schools continue to struggle?

Nadia at the book club at the Brightmoor Artisans Community building
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

In part one of our State of Opportunity documentary, We Live Here, we spent time in Littlefield — a Detroit neighborhood right on the edge. It’s trying for a comeback, but so much depends upon whether the elementary school there stays open. 

Now let’s visit a neighborhood that’s past that point. A place where most of the DPS schools are long gone - abandoned, torn down or replaced by charters.

map of Detroit with possible closures marked
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

There are 25 schools in Detroit waiting to hear whether they’ll be closing their doors at the end of the school year.

So, where would all those students end up if those schools did close?

Click on the map below to see the nearby options for each possible closure and how they stack up academically.

Noble Elementary-Middle School
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

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Over the last 15 years, cities across the country have faced wave after wave of school closures. Places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia closed down dozens of buildings at a time. 

But the district that closed the most schools during that time was Detroit Public Schools

Dr. Seuss Books
EvelynGiggles / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Earlier this week I told you about school districts that are hiring virtual teachers to fix teacher shortages.

Not having enough teachers to fill classrooms can have a big impact on schools and the students who attend them - especially high-poverty and high-minority schools.

mosaic mural of man reading
takomabibelot / flickr

Summer Mondays can be hard.

Maybe you spent all weekend on the beach at Lake Michigan or you're already thinking about your upcoming vacation. Either way, it takes a little while to get back in the groove of the work week.

I find the best way to cut through the summer brain fog is by learning something new. Think of it as warm-up exercises for your brain.

I compiled a few of the most interesting reads the State of Opportunity team came across this past week. So pour yourself another cup of coffee and do a few mental jumping jacks to get the week started. 

A teacher's take on the future of Detroit schools

Jun 16, 2016
spirit of detroit statue wearing a detroit public schools t-shirt
FLICKR USER MICHIGAN MUNICIPAL LEAGUE (MML) / FLICKR / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When Detroit Public Schools opens its doors this fall, it will likely be debt-free.

The Michigan Legislature earlier this month sent a bill to Governor Snyder which gives the district $617 million to pay off its substantial debt. 

It also shifts control back to an elected school board and splits the district into two distinct entities. Detroit Public Schools will pay off the debt. The new district, Detroit Community Schools, will be in charge of educating students. 

So, what do the people who will be doing the educating think about the state's bailout plan? 

Reginald Franklyn (r) interviews his princicpal at Cody Academy of Public Leadership.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Detroit public school district is in desperate need of a lifeline. It’s drowning in debt, and Lansing can’t agree on what a bailout should look like. Meanwhile, many teachers fled to other districts mid-year when they heard they might not get paid.

 

The teacher shortage has taken a toll on Cody Academy of Public Leadership, a high school on Detroit’s west side. It lost four teachers during the school year, and it can almost never find subs when it needs them.

Andrea Claire Maio

Our latest State of Opportunity documentary, Mister Knight's Neighborhood, introduced us to two students at Cody High School: 15-year-old Kaylan and 16-year-old Kevin. Both students are on the brink, and trying to make it to graduation.

 

But one is having a much harder time.

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