WUOMFM

neighborhood schools

Noble Elementary-Middle School
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

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

In Detroit, how much school choice is too much?

Nov 15, 2013

Things are settling down at the Anderson’s house in Northwest Detroit. The two high-schoolers are doing homework and talking to their parents. Like at least 10% of Detroit's kids, they go to charter school outside Detroit. Their mother, Dorothy Anderson said she made her school choices in part because of the bad experience her son had at his neighborhood school. 

"He was waiting for the bus to go home," Anderson recounts." And he was jumped by a gang of boys. When he tried to get back into the school the security guard wouldn't let him back in. And the school never made a report. It was a huge mess." 

Anderson pulled her son out of the Detroit Public Schools the next day and never considered sending her younger children to DPS schools. Like many parents, Anderson opted out of the neighborhood school over things like quality and safety. But she said choosing another school was a big job, especially when it came time for high school. "It was a huge challenge. A lot of legwork," she said. "Honestly, looking for a high school for them was as much time as we're spending looking for colleges."

Anderson says she might consider Detroit if she had to go through the process again. But, she would need a way to know which schools were really good. 

Does racial diversity equal better schools?

Nov 13, 2013
clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

In 1973, when the NAACP challenged school segregation in Detroit, schools were more diverse than they are today. Back then, about a third of Detroit school children were white. Now, only 4% of kids in the city are white.

40-year shadow cast by Detroit's failed busing plan

Nov 12, 2013
clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

Next week marks the 40th anniversary of the day the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about busing and segregation in Detroit’s schools. The case eventually became Milliken v. Bradley, a seminal civil rights case that nevertheless few people outside legal circles remember.

dorena-wm / Flickr

Just north of downtown Detroit following Woodward Avenue is Ferndale. It's a community that cultivates an image as hip and edgy, for a suburb, and historically has been a first stop for families looking to leave Detroit.

The great Detroit draft of '70

Nov 8, 2013

When the order to send kids to schools outside their neighborhood came down, one of our colleagues here at Michigan Radio recalled that it was almost like receiving a draft letter. And while these kids were too young to actually be drafted into the Vietnam War, they were, in a sense, foot soldiers in a conflict that they had no control over.