A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Detroit Public Schools Super Responds To ‘Charter Students Outperform’ Report

Vitti: We serve more special ed students, charters no silver bullet, state hasn’t helped

Dr. Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District

A Michigan Capitol Confidential report published on Jan. 4 described research indicating that students in Detroit charter schools do better than their peers attending schools operated by the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Here’s the Detroit school district superintendent’s response:

Dr. Nikolai Vitti, superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District:

“One cannot review student performance at scale in Detroit and be content--district or charter performance. As a district that realized local control for the first time in over a decade, student performance is a reflection of a lack of systems and processes under emergency management linked to best practice for reform in the areas of curriculum adoption, academic and behavior interventions, assessments, and professional development. Despite those lack of systems and processes and especially when considering that the district supports a number of more special education students, one cannot legitimately make the case that improving student performance in isolation can be done through charter school expansion. Charter schools are not a sliver bullet for improved performance in Detroit. With that said, educators in the district now look to the future to demonstrate, at scale, stronger improvement through a district office that understands reform. Our focus moving forward is on the 50K students within our school district, not charter schools, and ensuring that our district performance improves as we rebuild the district. This will and must happen. This begins next year with a new infrastructure to support teaching and learning. We have been hard at work to begin that build out this year for the fall.”

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