DETROIT – Mayor Dave Bing should take control of Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested this week, and Bing said he would be willing to do so, according to The Detroit News. But Bing said such a change should come by a ballot measure and not legislative action.

Speaking at Detroit Cody High School and the United Way national convention at Cobo Center, Duncan said he hopes Detroit schools can move from being a “national disgrace” to a “national model,” The News reported. He said that Detroit would have to show dramatic reform in exchange for any extra federal stimulus funding.

Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency financial manager, has asked the federal government for emergency money for academic improvement, The News reported. He also requested exemption from the typical procedure under which schools make improvements first, then are reimbursed.

Parents might not be willing to wait around for results, according to a separate News article. Census data released this week show that the number of Wayne County African-American children is shrinking even as outlying counties show growth, The News reported.

There are 7 percent fewer school-age black children in Wayne County this year than last, according to the estimates, while the same population in Macomb County rose by 9 percent, The News reported.

"I think schools are the driving force of most of those moves," Kurt Metzger, a demographer and director of the Detroit Area Community Information System, told The News.

Foreclosures and the economic downturn have made moving to the suburbs more affordable, The News reported.

SOURCES:
The Detroit News, “Students, families flee the failing DPS,” May 14, 2008

The Detroit News, “DPS asks for federal disaster funding,” May 14, 2009

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