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school closings

front of house with mural
Justin Boyd / Courtesy of Yvette Rock

There has been a lot of discussion over the past five months about school closures in Michigan. In January, we explored what the history of school closings in Detroit have meant for both kids and neighborhoods in our documentary We Live Here.

The week before we aired the documentary, the state’s School Reform Office released a list of 38 schools that faced closure at the end of the school year because of persistently low test scores. 

Gompers Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood was one of the schools on that list.

mosaic mural of man reading
takomabibelot / flickr

I read a lot during the week when I'm putting together blog posts. Most of what I read I get to share with you, but there are occasions when I don't have time to get to everything.

Here are a few recommendations I think you'll find interesting, as well as a couple of pieces produced by the State of Opportunity team that are worth revisiting.

1. The mile-high promise, and risk, of school choice

A picture of Law Elementary, one of 38 schools in Michigan slated for possible closure.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

You may have heard that the state is planning to close as many as 38 schools by this summer, the bulk of which are in Detroit. That’s a big deal for a whole lot of families, and so far, the state isn’t giving them much guidance about what to do. So let’s walk through where things stand.

Classroom
Allison Meier / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

From a new U.S. education secretary to conversations about school closures, it has been a busy week in education news. As we head into the weekend, let's take a look at some stories you may have missed.

1. Betsy DeVos Confirmed As Education Secretary

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.

This story by The New Yorker's Jelani Cobb is great not only because it expertly chronicles the demise of what was once an academically excellent school in Queens, NY, but also because Cobb takes a deeper look at what really happens to a community when a school closes. Schools are so much more than just a place to learn. For many kids who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, school can also be a place to network; a place to help launch the students out of their current situations. Take the school away and what do you have left? One less opportunity for an at-risk youth to network their way out of poverty.