The Impact of Detroit School Closures

The Detroit Community Public School District has been closing schools since 2000 in an effort to cope with financial losses. To date, 195 schools have been shuttered, but the savings that were expected to be realized have been undermined by poor planning and the costs of insuring empty buildings. Furthermore, each school closure has pushed more families to look for other options for their children. So how did Michigan's largest school district become what some describe as the “wild west of education”? It began with the founding of the Detroit Board of Education in 1842, which was tasked with overseeing and managing the city's publicly funded schools.

As Detroit's borders expanded and neighboring towns and municipalities were annexed during the 19th and early 20th centuries, new schools were added to the city. Unfortunately, the school board fell prey to political and special interest groups in the 1930s, leading to frequent leadership changes and clashes between members. This ultimately resulted in a call for reform driven by the deteriorating situation in Detroit's public schools, which led to legislative changes that would have a lasting impact on the district. In response to budget cuts, population changes, declining enrollment, and alternative education systems, public school districts across the country have closed buildings for the past 20 years.

This was also true in Detroit, where an enormous number of schools were closed in a short period of time. This created a situation in which questionable decision-making has aggravated financial problems and increased the number of closures exponentially. The financial problems arose in the midst of a massive program of building and modernizing schools, as the construction of the first new schools built in more than 20 years began. This was accompanied by competition from charter schools and neighboring suburban school districts, putting public schools under serious financial pressure.

In March 1987, a large part of the roof of a classroom at Condon High School collapsed while students were eating lunch. This event highlighted the need for reform and improvement in Detroit's public school system. Today, more than 60,000 students living in the city use the school of their choice to attend charter schools or suburban districts.

Mike Martin
Mike Martin

Mike Martin is a seasoned guide adept at assisting students in their preparation for admissions tests. Holding a Master's degree in Education from the prestigious University of Cambridge, Mike is deeply committed to offering invaluable advice and effective strategies to help students succeed. His expertise in the educational field is geared towards ensuring students are well-prepared and confident as they approach these crucial assessments.

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