With classrooms shuttered across Detroit earlier this school year, leaders at Detroit Leadership Academy, a Brightmoor-area charter school, told neighborhood leaders that many students didn’t have a space where they could focus.
Districts spotlighted in the audit couldn’t prove that new teachers had been assigned mentors or that teachers’ annual evaluations were based on a classroom visit — both of which are legal requirements.
The Troy School District in suburban Detroit shut down its in-person classrooms last week because of an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases. Just like that, life for the Onyx family was back to impossible.
The coronavirus child care crunch is falling hardest on low-income families of color, many of whom work in-person jobs in sanitation, grocery, and health care that the state has defined as “essential.” When these families have young students learning online, many parents find that they have no safe place to send their children during the work day.
Backers of Davis Aerospace Technical Academy refused to allow Detroit to shut one of the only high schools in the nation to train aviation mechanics. Their success suggests a disconnect between Detroiters and their schools is beginning to mend.
Taken at face value, the M-STEP results leave plenty of room for concern. But figures are up significantly from last year, and individual Detroit schools made double-digit point gains, in some cases exceeding the state average.
Southwest Detroit Community School opened with high hopes and deep funding in 2013. But the charter school has suffered a revolving door of teachers and administrators, and parents are leaving in droves.