The Choice is Ours: Road to Excellence for Michigan’s Troubled Schools Begins in Detroit

Publication date: 
March, 2015

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren spent over 12 weeks coming up with a bold set of recommendations to change Detroit — and Michigan — schools for the better for all students.

After months of research, expert testimony, analysis, data-crunching, and lots and lots of debate, the recommendations are here.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren has laid out a comprehensive plan to make quality schools the new norm for Detroit families. Completed in a little over three months, it’s a first step on the long road back to excellence.

Detroit, in many ways, is the canary in the coalmine. We believe that much of what is contained in this report is applicable in other failing school districts across Michigan. Our state used to be a national leader in education, but now, sadly, we rank near the bottom. The choice is ours. If we want quality schools for all Detroit schoolchildren, and quality schools across Michigan, we must make education a priority again and level the playing field for all schools — traditional public as well as public charter schools. We need one shared standard that all schools will be measured by so that all kids can attend quality schools.

Detroit schools — like many other school districts in Michigan — need significantly better coordination and financial stability to provide real, quality choices for schoolchildren and families. Schools also need a set of strong academic and social supports to prepare kids for success.

Leveling the playing field will require shared responsibility by the governor and state lawmakers, by an elected Detroit Board of Education, by public charters, by educators, by the mayor, by the community, by parents, and by students.