Central States

Detroit Schools: Can New Emergency Manager Turn the Tide ?

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Detroit Schools: Can New Emergency Manager Turn the Tide ?
A new EM has come to Detroit, but time will tell whether this new ringleader will be able to make a positive impact on the schools in the city that have failed to pass muster.

Detroit Public Schools have been struggling with a myriad of problems for many years, from budget woes to dismal graduation rates. In 2009, the district was subjected to a state takeover, which resulted in the appointment of an emergency manager to turn the failing school district around. Recently, the third emergency manager was appointed to the beleaguered district, with ideas for a turnaround that incorporate both old and new concepts.

Introducing Jack Martin

The Blade reports that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently announced the appointment of Jack Martin to the post of an emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools. Martin boasts an impressive resume, serving as both the CFO for the U.S. Department of Education and more recently, as the chief financial officer for the city of Detroit. He has also run his own accounting firm and served under three U.S. presidents in various posts.

A product of DPS himself (he went to both Thurgood Marshal Elementary and Cass Technical High School), Martin has firsthand knowledge of the public education environment in the city. He also has a personal stake in seeing his own school system succeed. To that end, Martin brings in plenty of ideas for transforming Detroit schools into the bustling halls of academia they once were.

“The opportunity will allow me to continue offering leadership and making a positive impact in the Detroit community,” Martin was reported as saying on NBC News. “Fixing education in Detroit

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Chicago Schools: Safety Bigger Concern as Back to School Approaches

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Chicago Schools: Safety Bigger Concern as Back to School Approaches
Many Chicago students will be heading to new schools this fall, in the aftermath of one of the largest school shutdowns in history. We’ll look at the fears facing some of these students and what Chicago Public Schools is doing to alleviate those fears.

As kids begin the back-to-school ritual of purchasing school supplies and packing up backpacks, students in Chicago are facing a very different type of readiness routine. Many of the students in this city are facing a new school this year because their old school was closed due to district budget cuts. What’s more, the walk to the new school may be a much more dangerous trek than the one to the old school. Students are now facing very real fears and dangers that district officials are struggling to address to the satisfaction of everyone involved.

Record-Breaking Closures

According to the Huffington Post, Chicago is currently in the midst of one of the largest school shutdowns in American History. The district has closed 49 schools and laid off around 800 teachers. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and district officials cite a $1 billion budget deficit as the reason behind the huge move. The budget deficit was attributed to reduced state funding, ballooning pension payments, and a significant increase in salary and benefits for district staff.

The closures sounded good on paper – at least to some. Closing schools that were not filled to the brim with students could save the district millions. Transferring those students to schools nearby allowed the school district to more effectively allocate resources. The decision appeared to be a win-win.

Consequences No One Thought Of

Except no one took into consideration that forcing children to walk a few extra blocks

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Detroit Schools: High Poverty Levels A Concern

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Detroit Schools: High Poverty Levels A Concern
We look at a new report from the Mackinac Center that shows some Detroit Public Schools fare better in their rankings when poverty levels at the schools are taken into consideration.

Detroit Public Schools tend to get a pretty bad rap regarding performance and education quality. However, many of the evaluations that contribute to this view do not consider the specific challenges teachers in these schools face daily. Many of the schools in Detroit face extremely high percentages of students living in poverty – a factor that can directly impact their ability to learn. In a recently released report that weighed this factor in comparing schools in Michigan, some Detroit schools fared much better than expected.

Elementary and Middle School Context Report Card

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently released its “Elementary and Middle School Context and Performance Report Card,” which offers a unique comparison formula that considers income level and location. The result is an “apples-to-apples” comparison that does not penalize schools with high poverty levels, according to the website for the Mackinac Center. The recent report card ranked 2,362 elementary and middle schools in the state.

The report card takes several factors into account as it calculates school scores and poverty levels. The report includes data on the school’s location, whether it is a city, suburb, town, or rural area. It labels the school type, distinguishing between conventional, selective, and charter schools.

The report card also lists the total enrollment at the school and the percentage of children that qualify for the free lunch program. Finally, the report calculates the CAP (Context and Performance) score, grade, and the school’s state rank. The

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Chicago Schools: Massive Budget Shortfall

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Chicago Schools: Massive Budget Shortfall
We report on the latest developments out of Chicago, from massive layoffs to protests by teachers, students and parents over board decisions as district leaders struggle to balance a massive budget shortfall.

Even after the churn of closing nearly 50 schools across the city, one of the largest school districts in the country is continuing to struggle with a $1 billion budget shortfall. Chicago Public Schools continues to make painful cuts to the schools slated to remain open this fall, prompting some principals to accuse the district of forcing them to choose between teachers and essentials like toilet paper, according to the Huffington Post. The new cuts were unveiled weeks after the initial school closings, provoking a whole new series of protests against the school system and the Chicago lawmakers that oversee it.

This video reports on a CPS budget shortfall.

Bad News Travels Slowly but Surely

The Chicago Tribune reports that news began trickling out about the impact of the budget cuts as principals received their preliminary budgets from the city two weeks ago. The good news is those principals have been given much more power to set priorities for their school – the bad news is there is much less money to go around, forcing principals to make tough decisions about what stays and what must go. As school leaders are beginning to look at the difficult budgeting that lies ahead, staff, parents, and students are beginning to worry about what schools will look like when they re-open in the fall.

Speculation and worry have been fueled by the

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Florida Schools: Duval SD Gets Help from Unlikely Source

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Florida Schools: Duval SD Gets Help from Unlikely Source
An unexpected partnership between Duval County Schools and area churches appears to be successful for the schools getting assistance.

At a time when many schools are pushing churches out in the interest of separation of church and state, one large Florida school district is actually welcoming churches in. Duval County, as well as other Florida school districts, appears to be learning the delicate dance between accepting help from community churches without bringing religion into the school setting. As the two coordinate efforts, it seems the biggest winners in this new partnership are the students the schools – and churches – aim to serve.

An Unlikely Partnership

The Florida Times-Union reports that First Coast churches are coming to the aid of many schools in the area, with surprisingly positive results. The first step toward this unlikely partnership was the school system, which approached a Christian non-profit, Campus Crusade for Christ, five years ago. One of the employees of the organization, Ken Vensel, was surprised when school officials asked the organization for help with a faith-based initiative for the schools. However, Vensel took the request to heart and organized a group of faith leaders in the area to come together in providing the services schools were looking for.

The result has been a number of partnerships between schools and faith leaders throughout the state, including Duval County where the needs are often great. In one Duval elementary school, Windy Hill, nearly 70 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches. Churches can help these schools in a variety of ways, offering

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Local School Topics

CENTRAL STATES
Detroit Schools: District Is Failing Its Students According To Test Scores
Detroit Schools: District Is Failing Its Students According To Test Scores
Chicago Schools:  Closures While More Charter Schools Open
Chicago Schools: Closures While More Charter Schools Open
Detroit Schools: High Poverty Levels A Concern
Detroit Schools: High Poverty Levels A Concern
More Articles
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Eastern States (39)
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