Detroit to close 29 schools in the fall

In Detroit, 29 public schools are slated to close in the fall; 900 teachers and 33 principals will be dismissed. Robert Bobb, the emergency financial manager for the district, has created a “master plan” for improving the schools.

How did he decide which schools to close? According to the Washington Post, “… Bobb and his staff looked at the age and condition of the buildings, as well as how many students attend them. Academic performance also was taken into account.”

So farewell to Elmdale Elementary, which is underenrolled but meeting performance standards. In the meantime, millions of dollars are going to the new Cass Technical High School, “considered a model for 21st-century urban high schools.”

Bobb’s master plan “calls for improving technology and updating classrooms. Curriculum also is being reviewed to make sure students are getting what they need in reading, writing, math, science and other programs, Bobb said.”

Why not do this for Elmdale? And why does curriculum seem like an afterthought, an “also” that comes after spiffy equipment?


  1. L. C. Burgundy says:

    I wonder if they’ll leave storage closets full of confidential student records behind and unaccounted for when they close this round of schools too.

  2. Too bad Bobb can’t shut the whole district down.

  3. When organizations become overly obsessed about buildings, it is generally a sign that their days of high performance are behind them See the edifice clue.

    Regarding “technology” in education, see Michael Schrage–who actually knows something about technology and its applications–on what he calls “sparkly tools”–all Rousseau and no Epictetus.

  4. It’s too sad to know…I hope it is really for the sake of the development…

  5. NedLudd says:

    Bobb is doing much more than closing schools. He is facing one of the worst performing school districts in the country with a massively declining enrollment (demographic combined with parents walking out of the district), a $300M+ deficit and rampant corruption. The district has been resistant to change for decades and this is one of many actions he is currently undertaking. Detroit can’t support a school system designed around a population that does not exist anymore. As for shuttered schools that performed, bring their successes to their new site. A building is not a replacement for good instruction. The worry on many’s part is what will the district do when his appointment expires?