Half of Detroit’s public schools targeted for closure


DeVos plans to “rewrite the education playbook for America”

Half of Detroit’s public schools targeted for closure

Nancy Hanover

7 February 2017

As the US Senate prepares to vote on the nomination of right-wing billionaire Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, her war against public education is coming to fruition in Detroit, the poorest big city in America.

Michigan’s State Reform Office (SRO) has released a list of 38 schools slated to be closed as early as June 30 for “non-performance.” It is the first use of a 2009 state law, heavily promoted by DeVos and her pro-privatization lobbying group, Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), to shut down public schools.

Another 35 schools are targeted on a second list for state intervention and possible closure in the following school year, 2017-2018. If implemented, the two years of closures would mean a loss of 53 schools in Detroit, nearly half of the newly formed Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). Under Michigan’s law, these “priority” schools can be closed, taken over by a state-appointed “CEO” with full powers to terminate contracts and fire personnel or be converted into charter schools.

DeVos has long shaped the anti-public education policies in Michigan and has donated heavily to Republican state legislators. However, these measures would never have been implemented without the support of the Obama administration, local Democratic Party officials and, most significantly, the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, which have repeatedly suppressed the struggle of teachers, parents and students to defend public education.

Schools set to close by the end of the school year include 16 in the DPSCD, eight in Detroit’s Education Achievement…

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