Sources: Flint’s outgoing EM to head Detroit Public Schools

Gov. Rick Snyder will tap someone who is leading one city from deficit to local control to be the next leader for the Detroit Public Schools.

Snyder intends to appoint Darnell Earley, current emergency manager of Flint, to replace outgoing DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, two sources with knowledge of the choice told Bridge on Monday.

Dave Murray, spokesman for the governor, declined to confirm Earley’s appointment, saying only that “a strong public school district is an important part of Detroit’s comeback.”

“The governor continues to look at options for the Detroit Public Schools as he works with groups convened by the Skillman Foundation to move forward with vital community discussions about a long-term plan to help students and families in the city,” Murray said in an email to Bridge.

Earley could not be reached Monday.

Martin's appointment reaches the 18-month mark on Friday, which is the unofficial end of his term because by law the Detroit school board could vote him out on that day. Earley will be the fourth state-appointed manager for the district since 2009 and the tenth leader for DPS since 1999.

Earley, former city manager in Saginaw and former city administrator in Flint, was appointed Flint’s emergency manager in 2013. His appointment is scheduled to end in April. Last month, he told Michigan Radio that most of the "heavy lifting" to put Flint's finances on course was done. He appointed a new city manager for Flint last month in preparation to return the city to local control.

DPS has a deficit of about $170 million as of December – down about half from what it was in 2009 - after nearly six years of emergency management. After fixing the finances, an emergency manager should involve locally elected officials in the transition to local control to increase the chances deficits will not recur, Earley told Bridge last summer.

The DPS leadership change comes a month after the announcement that a 31-member Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren was selected to come up with recommendations for fixing DPS’ finances, governance and academics.

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Mon, 01/12/2015 - 6:46pm
Control should be turned over to the elected Board. Detroit Public Schools (DPS) needs a plan that has an objective of being one of the best public school systems in southeast Michigan within 10 years. I am not an educator and do not pretend to be an expert on the subject. I hope this essay gets a lot of input and feedback from educators. Failing to do this should not be an option. Management/Administrators and teachers need to be on the same page. A prime ingredient to build a school system where students excel and outperform other districts in southeast Michigan is good teachers who are supported by top quality administrators. Administrators must recognize that if the district is to recruit and retain top teaching professionals they must treat them as professionals. Professionals are proud of their craft and must set high standards for themselves and fellow teachers so as to assure their industry is looked upon in high regard. The teacher unions, as an organization looking out for the interests of its members must also support high standards. The unions role is much more than maximizing its members compensation and optimizing its working conditions. The school board, management, teachers and teacher unions must recognize that not all teachers and administrators will excel at their trade. All new teachers fresh out of college need a mentor who is experienced and highly regarded. These mentors should have a reduced teaching role to allow them time to coach and counsel the teachers coming straight from college graduation. A bonus should be given to the teacher who is the mentor for doing a good job with this function. The schools administrators and board should work out the details. Some teachers will need additional training and mentoring in order to bring them up to the level expected by the other teachers and administrators. Some will not meet the expectations and standards set by all parties and will need to be fired. It is in no ones interest to keep under performing teachers or administrators. If a district makes room for under performing teachers or administrators, the district will not perform at a high level. It is the responsibility of the school board to make sure this does not happen. Smaller class sizes are needed. If smaller class sizes are used in wealthier districts to improve performance certainly Detroit needs to do the same to compete and excel. I have talked to three private schools in the metro area, Roper, Grosse Pointe Academy and Detroit Country Day, that are considered to be top performers. The targeted class size at these schools range from 8 to 15 students per teacher. Remember the objective is to be one of the best. Surroundings matter. When I was in school I was not able to study at home. We lived in a small 600 square foot house and my brother and I shared a bedroom. It was much easier to focus at the library. To be honest I did not study through high school. It was only after two semesters at Flint Junior College did I realize that I needed to put forth some effort to succeed. The physical facilities at DPS must be conducive to learning and perhaps they already are. What Next! The devil is always in the details and I am sure experienced educators can improve on the above thoughts. The big question is where is the money going to come to make it happen It was stored at the DIA but that changed with the Grand Bargain....
Elena Herrada
Mon, 01/12/2015 - 9:39pm
There are more than 45 students in most classes in Detroit Public Schools. No one can learn under such circumstances. In Brenda Scott Academy, and Educational Achievement Authority, there are 100 kindergartners in one room. Can you imagine your child going to kindergarten with 99 other children on her first day of school? Can anyone imagine what school will be like- what the child's experience of school will be like by the time the State has gutted public schools in Detroit? And we are expected to be grateful to Skillman Foundation, Excellent Schools Detroit for their back room dealings to resegregate our schools and put our children years behind their white peers in other districts? We are not grateful. We deserve the right to govern our own schools the same as the white districts do.
Tom Pedroni
Mon, 01/12/2015 - 8:34pm
Chastity, can you tell your readers who selected 31 members? The Governor? A blue ribbon comission?
Tue, 01/13/2015 - 4:10pm
Does he have any background in education matters? With a $170 million deficit to deal with is he just going to go with the advice of others as to what is important to save and what to cut?