Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-4546
Wayne County Circuit Judge Wendy Baxter’s order Friday to temporarily bar Detroit Public Schools from implementing its academic plan has brought an immediate halt to several programs that are being developed as part of the district’s five-year Academic Plan.
The plan was developed to combat the low academic performance throughout the district. Last year, Detroit’s fourth and eighth graders had the worst scores in the 40-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The graduation and dropout rates are among the worst in the nation, prompting the ambitious plan to raise student achievement.
A large portion of the Title monies the district currently receives were designated to support the initiatives in the academic plan, and the inability to implement the plan will impact the district’s ability to spend those funds.
“The delay or elimination of these programs will have a profound effect on student achievement,” said Chief Academic and Accountability Auditor Barbara Byrd Bennett.
The most immediate effect will be the cancellation of a training session today for approximately 200 teachers on the materials and lessons that were to be implemented in the extended-day program. The extended-day program provides additional instruction and support to students who are struggling academically. It will immediately affect 102 schools, approximately 648 teachers and approximately 9,720 students.
The injunction could prompt the cancellation of summer school for struggling students in grades prek-12, impacting all of the district’s 172 schools. The summer school program was anticipated to impact more than 40,000 DPS students. At the high school level, this will mean that some students who are between one and three courses away from graduation will not be able to make those courses up so they can graduate on time.
The district is in the process of assessing bids on materials and professional development for summer school programs. These are extremely time sensitive and even a delay in assessment will hamper the district’s ability to deliver a quality summer school program.
Training must be cancelled for about 80 teachers who were selected to deliver professional development to their colleagues.
They were to teach their peers how to determine student weaknesses and give them strategies to address those weaknesses.
In addition to having an immediate effect on academics, the ruling will impact plans to balance the district’s books. The district has major, structural financial problems, and the district cannot resolve its financial emergency if it cannot address how academic programs are operated and funded.
The academic plan includes the following changes:
More time for reading in Pre-K through eighth grade
Advanced Placement courses available at every high school
More language course offerings
Introduction to pre-algebra as soon as sixth grade
Extended summer school offerings, including a bridge program to help rising ninth graders adjust to high school.