Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another failing grade for Detroit schools

From the Detroit News June 22, 2006

Drop-out rate report makes case for opening more charters in city

Detroit school officials are taking great offense at a new national report that pegs the 2003 high school graduation rate at just 21.7 percent. And that number, Detroit insists, is now much closer to 63 percent, when those who have abandoned the city schools for suburban, private and charter schools are counted.

Even if Detroit's numbers are right, that's not really good news. The district is still losing a third of its students to drop-outs and roughly another third to alternative classroom settings.

The fact remains that one way or the other, only one in four students who start ninth grade with the Detroit Public Schools is still with the district on graduation day, according to Editorial Projects in Education Research Center in Bethesda, Md. That's the worst among the nation's 50 largest cities.

Those are dismal results, especially considering that Detroit spends $1.4 billion a year to achieve them.

The district has failed. Report after report indicates the same thing. And yet the education establishment will not admit defeat and allow parents more publicly funded choices.

The most humane thing Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the state Legislature can do is lift the cap on charter schools and allow more of them to open in Detroit. Sure, some of the existing charter schools perform just as poorly as the public schools.

But many perform much better. The push should be to duplicate the successful charters and get as many children into them as possible.

At some point, there has to be an official recognition that the current system of education in Detroit doesn't work for enough students. Continuing to deny that reality will only doom more children to a life of limited opportunities.


Davicker Civwohl said...

Righty-o. Good cherter schools do much better than the good schools and these are the schools that need to be replicated. It is too bad that, overall, charter schools and regular public schools do about the same across the nation but the best 50 percent of charters do better than the best 50 percent of traditional schools. One day state governments are going to wake up and see just how important it is to give different children different options.

akindele akinyemi said...

we should regionalize school boards and open the door for more choice.