Detroit's new superintendent, Connie Calloway, garnered cheers from the crowd at a school board meeting last week when she said, "Charter schools mean suicide for public schools." It's an odd statement. Charter schools are public schools, of course, and those in and around Detroit are far from suicidal--in fact, they're thriving, in marked contrast to Calloway's district schools. It's no surprise that Detroit's school system is having the serious problems, problems Calloway says she plans to tackle. But she admits to a certain ineffable puzzlement. Referring to shrinking enrollments, the new supe asked, "What is it that we're doing that causes us to drive families away?" Well. Perhaps parents leave because of the deplorable conditions in Detroit's district schools. Or maybe they leave because charter schools, despite receiving less funding, do a better job educating students. We wait, with bated breath, for Calloway to show us the light. Parents in Detroit, though, don't seem to be so patient.
"DPS chief no charter fan," by Jennifer Mrozowski, Detroit News, July 13, 2007