Lawmakers tour 'mixed bag' of Detroit schools

- As students at Gompers Elementary School were heading to school Friday morning, several state and local lawmakers also gathered there to kick off a tour that will illuminate how education funding is being spent and where that money needs to go.

"There is hope that we as civic leaders, faith leaders, we're all working together, committed, to really advance and transform Detroit Public Schools," says State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a former DPS teacher herself. She headed the Urgency of Now Ledislative Ed tour.

It was scheduled long before Thursday's debates in Lansing and long before the staged sickout by Detroit teachers on Monday that canceled classes at more than 60 district schools.

"When I went through the buildings earlier this week, and we are now doing inspections of all the buildings, I said it's a mixed bag, and you're going to see that today. [Gompers] is an example of a great school in an area of relatively low income that is doing well," Mayor Mike Duggan said Friday morning.

In all, those along for the ride will travel on buses to a handful of Detroit Public Schools, taking part in a bipartisan discussion on education policy, while celebrating a million dollars in grants aimed at making 11 schools safer and stronger academically. Of the 11 schools that received funding, six will incorporate a program that helps weave technology into the classroom to improve test scores.

"If this school can thrive in this environment, this community, the teachers dedicated, the principal dedicated, every day, then we can do the same thing and replicate that throughout the district," Rep. Gay-Dagnogo says.

The lawmakers will be on tour throughout the afternoon. They'll visit the following schools: Gompers Elementary, Communication Media Arts High School, Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School, Cass Tech, Pulaski Elementary and East English Village Preparatory Academy.

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