Thursday, October 1, 2009

Detroit Public Schools: Another Outrage!

September 30, in addition to begin the deadline when the state of Michigan is supposed to get its state budget passed, is what we call "Count Day" here in Michigan. The short version of the story is that (a) it is the day when school districts must get an "official" count of their student populations, and (b) that official count is multiplied by a per pupil allowance to determine how much $$$ the district will get from the state for the year.

You don't have to be a multiplication or public policy expert to see that districts want both numbers (the "count," and the per pupil allowance) to be as large as possible.

The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) school district is among the very worst in the civilized world. Its graduation rate is around 25%, pitiful by any standard whatsoever. Its student population has gone from about 160,000 just nine years ago to a projected 83,777 this year—a decline of more than 47% in under a decade! It is unsafe and has a bureaucracy that socialists envy. Its financial integrity is mocked by Bernie Madoff. Blogprof has a running list of commentary on DPS, if you want to immerse yourself in its failures.

So what do you do on Count Day? Do you attempt to restore financial integrity? Do you announce new academic expectations? No. You bribe students to come to school.

Articles in the WSJ and Detroit News give further details. It is a disgrace of the highest order...and that's saying something, considering how disgraceful DPS already is.

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