The Detroit Public School system is one of the worst in the country. It has horrible dropout rates, low test scores, and has been plagued with corruption for years and years. The poor school system is one of the many things that gives the city of Detroit (and the surrounding region) a terrible reputation.
For years, many leaders have pledged to turn things around and improve the system. Instead, it's never happened. There is optimism in the leadership trio of Robert Bobb (the emergency financial manager for the district), Dave Bing (the recently elected mayor of Detroit) and Rick Snyder (the newly elected governor of Michigan, who has said that a healthy Michigan *has* to include a healthy Detroit, including schools).
Bobb recently presented a fact that if the current projections of enrollment and funding hold true, the school district will be forced to close half of it's schools in the next four years. This would result in high school classrooms with as many as 62 student.
My wife brought up a good point that most classrooms, as built, would be ill equipped to handle that large number of students.
Now, Bobb went on to say that there's no way this should ever be allowed to happen, and was using it as a ‘doomsday' example to try to get additional funding, more favorable financing of existing debt, better cooperation from the state and local governments, etc. He's throwing the numbers out there, but as a scare tactic. What's even more scary is that they are based on actual numbers, not pie in the sky projections.
I think everybody knows that the school system can't turn around with class sizes that large. No high school can handle that, let alone high schools with some of the most troubled kids in the country. Everybody knows that this can't happen. I think Bobb was throwing the message out there as a first step to ensure that it doesn't happen.
The poor school system is one reason that millions have fled Detroit for the suburbs or have left Michigan altogether. Without a good school system, many continue and will continue to avoid Detroit and the metro area. The trio I mentioned above seem to be cooperating and on the same page in ways that I haven't seen in my lifetime.
I just hope it translates into results.