More charter schools likely for Detroit
- More charter schools likely for Detroit
Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick recently opened doors for more charter
schools to come to Detroit. Last week Kilpatrick announced he had been
involved in conversations for months about opening more private and charter
schools in the city.
At the University Preparatory Academy, which already has three schools open
in the city,
Kilpatrick said that he had been meeting "quietly" with the community
leaders and educators so no one would think they were doing something yet,
he told the Detroit Free Press.
Kilpatrick has also said that he hopes to help UPA Superintendent Doug Ross
open four more schools in Detroit.
Kilpatrick said he would continue to support the DPS and its board.
"The time is now for us to create real education change in Detroit both
inside the public school system and out, Kilpatrick said in a statement.
"Providing optimal education is not about preserving a system, it's about
preserving the education of our children."
Matt Allen, a press secretary in the mayor's office, said that opening
charter schools "shouldn't" take students away from the Detroit Public
Schools. "There is a lot of misinformation out there now," he said. "We are
trying to get that cleared up."
The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), which represents more than 10,000
teachers and staff in the Detroit Public Schools, has blocked charter school
plans in the past. DFT President Virginia Cantrell said the union was
committed to DPS, which would educate all students, rather than a selective
Detroit school board president Jimmy Womack told the Free Press that the
mayor was doing what he had to do. His own job, he said, entailed making DPS
the best option for parents.
In 2003, the Urban High School Academies legislation was passed which
allowed for the creation of 15 university-authorized schools in Detroit, as
long as there is a sponsor who wants to help the city. That sponsor, Bob
Thompson, a metro Detroit philanthropist, pledged $200 million to build
facilities for the new schools.
Grand Valley State University is working to open new schools in the city,
according to the Free Press. In 2006, the university started the application
process under the law.
Ed Richardson, director of the charter school office at GVSU, said in
December that the plan was to start by opening one school to see how it
might go. Then, he said, they would consider opening others.
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