MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba issued the following statement on the passage of Detroit Public Schools legislation:

Late last night, the Michigan House and Senate passed legislation to reform Detroit Public Schools and appropriate funds to pay off the looming debt over the next 10 years.

While getting DPS out from under the debt and putting that money back into the classroom is  important, we are disappointed that the “solution” that was created was passed without input from the legislators representing Detroit, the citizens, or other community and educational groups invested in the future of Detroit and its children.

While we are pleased to see a return to local control starting with the school board election in November 2016, this package falls far short of setting up the district for future success. Even though the board will have the power to hire the superintendent and evaluate his/her performance, the Financial Review Commission will oversee continuing decisions about the superintendent including changes to or termination of the contract.

Overall, the legislation includes numerous provisions that have not shown to increase student achievement, such as the use of noncertified teachers and increasing strike penalties. It also does not include any way to help stabilize the student population in Detroit.

The Legislature missed an opportunity to address the true needs of the district and set it up for future success. All students in Michigan, including those in DPS, deserve an education system with teachers who are prepared and experienced, school buildings that don’t arbitrarily open and close each year, a board that has community support because they are publically elected to oversee the district and a superintendent chosen by that board to run the district in a positive manner.

MASB stands ready to help the board upon its election with the training required in the bill and any assistance it may want or need as it works to improve academics and the students’ educational experiences and outcomes.