Education reform in the region: Skillman Foundation forms 'Excellent schools Detroit' to increase number of high quality schools.

Author:Handel, Greg
Position:TALENT AND LEADERSHIP
 
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Fifteen community, civic and philanthropic organizations recently came together to support Excellent Schools Detroit, a plan to rapidly increase the number of high quality school options for children in Detroit.

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"This citywide education plan is designed to help all children, whether they happen to attend a traditional public school, public charter school or independent school. Every Detroit child should be attending an excellent school, period," said Carol Goss, president & CEO, the Skillman Foundation. Goss convened the coalition. "The status quo is unacceptable and indefensible," she said.

Within ten years, the plan calls for 90 percent of students in Detroit to graduate from high school, 90 percent of those students to go on to college and 90 percent of the college goers to do so without the need for remediation. While the focus of these goals is on Detroit Children, the vehicles for reaching them include charter schools, private and parochial schools, Detroit Public Schools and suburban schools districts that serve Detroit students.

The Excellent Schools Detroit plan has three basic pillars:

Enforce Real Accountability

Excellent Schools Detroit will create an independent Accountability Commission which will create quality academic standards and measurable goals for all schools and Pre-K programs in the city; collect high-quality and timely performance information from multiple state and local sources to monitor all schools and pre-K programs against city-wide goal; and clearly identify high performing schools for praise and low performing schools for closure. The Accountability Commission will not have legal jurisdiction over schools but publishing school performance data in a useable format will help make parents better education consumers. It will also not hesitate to shine a spotlight on those schools which need to be closed and will publicly advocate for that to happen.

Excellent Schools Detroit will also help build public support for making the Mayor accountable for the Detroit Public School System.

Create Excellent Schools for Every Child

The most powerful lever for change involves the creation of up to 70 new, high quality schools, over the next ten years. There is already a small but growing network of high quality urban schools operating in Detroit. These schools are graduating over 90% of their students and getting 90% of them into college. These schools include traditional public, charter and...

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