On Friday, the state’s School Reform Office released a list of 38 schools scheduled to close because of poor academic performance.
Of the listed schools, 25 are in Detroit, with 16 in the Detroit Public Schools Community District, eight in the Education Achievement Authority state reform district — located in Detroit — and one being a charter school.
This public announcement has been expected for a few months by lawmakers and the public. State law allows the School Reform Office to close a school if its academic rank has been in the bottom 5 percent of the state for three years in a row.
However, the Office may elect to not close a school if the closure would have harmful effects on the local students. In this instance, measures for reform — such as replacement of the principal and half the staff, an appointed CEO to oversee the school’s academics or the transition from public to charter school — may be instituted.
A decision for this year’s schools closings is expected to come in late February or early March.
JoAnna McDaniel, a parent whose children’s school will be closing, told the Detroit Free Press after saw her children’s school, J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit, on the list, she believed Clark did much more than educate; it served the community.
“I think it’s horrible,” McDaniel said in the Free Press interview. “That school does a lot for the kids in the community. They give out coats, shoes, food baskets. The teachers really help the kids. I don’t think there’s another school like Clark.”
Natasha Baker, the state school reform officer, said in another Free Press article children need a school that not only contributes to its community but also gives them the education they deserve.
“We want every kid in Michigan to have access to a high-quality school,” Baker said.
The Office also released a list of 35 at-risk schools that face closure next year if improvement isn’t seen. Of those schools, 26 are in Detroit.