May 4th, 2010

WATCH: Devastation In Detroit

Among Detroit’s many problems: a public school system so deep in debt that last year, the state took it over. Michigan’s governor hired Robert Bobb, a former city manager, to close the $316 million deficit, but Bobb hasn’t restricted his attention to money matters.

Just 3% of Detroit’s fourth graders scored proficient in math on a national test last year, and Bobb says he intends to do something about it. He hired a curriculum expert, and planned for school mergers and redesigns, even a school that would house pre-kindergarten through community college students. But he has a problem - Detroit still has an elected school board, and they say they control academics, not Bobb.

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


PodcastJohn Merrow With Robert Bobb

John Merrow talks with Robert C. Bobb about the inherent challenges of turning around the Detroit school system. Listen to the story.

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Migod! A school board. It’s as if they think they’re living in a republic or democracy.

Why in the world would the school board not willingly work with the state manager rather than fight him. He was hired to help. How can he address financial problems without looking at educational effectiveness at the same time?

I grew up in Detroit, and graduated from DPS. This is painful to watch on so many levels. Not the least of which is while they are arguing over who has the power to authorize tests, students are taking classes in antiquated buildings with technology at the level of chalkboards?!

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