Debate grows in control of Detroit schools

Feb. 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM
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DETROIT, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. secretary of education says Detroit's mayor should take control of the city's public school system, a move the existing school board has resisted.

Change for Better Schools, a business-backed coalition, pushed for a ballot measure to allow the mayor to take on the responsibility, essentially eliminating an elected 11-member school board, but community activists and the school board convinced the City Council to leave the issue off the ballot, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, while praising the reform efforts undertaken by the board, said believes mayoral control of the cash-strapped district is needed to sustain progress.

"Detroit desperately needs all hands on deck and desperately needs to keep the reforms going," Duncan said last week. "I think the children of Detroit deserve better than what they have received for a while. And I just don't see how the city could ever regain its greatness if it doesn't have a great set of public schools."

Anthony Adams, president of the school board, said Duncan should come to Detroit to meet the board and hold a town hall meeting before criticizing the governing structure.

"He needs to understand this board is progressive and it's prepared to do what's necessary to continue those actions that are positive and eliminate those that are negative," Adams said.

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