Sunday, April 13, 2008

The News to DPS: Reform or die

The News has begun a four-part editorial series on Detroit Public Schools. The message: reform or die.

I don't endorse their formula for reform (charter schools, privatization), but the News has one thing fundamentally right: a sense of outrage. The disintegration of the school system is the single greatest failure of the Kilpatrick administration. DPS has lost more than 50,000 students in the past five years. Of those who remain, 80% qualify for a free or reduced cost lunch. Only 25% of high school students graduate. And when enrollment finally falls below 100,000 (which it will in the coming year), the caps on charter schools will be lifted.

This is a school system in absolute crisis. On this point the News is right: "Too much time and money have already been wasted. Detroit Public Schools and its employees must recognize that their survival is at stake." More importantly, the future of Detroit's students is at stake. The status quo is unacceptable.

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