Rally held to save Detroit schools on closing list

- Students, teachers and parents rallied on Friday to save dozens of Detroit schools that could be closed by the state due to poor performance.

"When I first found out about the school closing, I couldn't believe it. So I called Miss Jackson and said I wanted to do something; so we decided to do a protest about the closing," says 11th grader Ilona Thomas.

Two dozen schools in Detroit alone on a state list to be shuttered at the end of the year due to under-performance. But that's not how Thomas sees her school, Osborn Academy. 

"It's a good school. I'm captain of the cheer team on the honor roll. It hurts if i have to start over my senior year," she said.

Recently, the district took part in a learning summit in order to share ideas that have worked for similar schools in other parts of the country.

School president Ivy Bailey said, "It's eye-opening to hear some other districts going through similar stuff. But they were able to turn it around because they were given the opportunity to turn it around."

Teachers argue they haven't been given a chance to succeed. They point out the district is just now out of the control of an emergency manager appointed by Governor Rick Snyder.

"We've been under state control for nine years. I don't think we got enough time to turn things around academically and as far as test scores," says Donovan Gardner, a special education teacher at Mason Academy.

Those affected by the potential shutdowns say closing a building does little good for students and is downright harmful in other ways.

The decision of which schools will close lies in the hands of the Michigan School Reform Office. They will revisit all 24 Detroit schools on the list.

School officials have been told there will be an official walk through. A decision could come by March 1.


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