News Story

The Worst Performing School District in the U.S. Says It Has Only One 'Ineffective' Administrator

Detroit Public Schools apparently has only one poor performer

There was just one bad apple among the 171 members of the Detroit public school district’s leadership corps, if the district’s most recent evaluations of its principals, superintendents and administrators are accurate.

Despite being called “the nation’s lowest-performing urban school area” by Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this year, just one of its 171 managers was judged to be “ineffective.” The evaluations are for the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year available.

There were 96 officials given the highest rating of “highly effective;” 68 were rated “effective,” while six were deemed to be “minimally effective.” Plus the single “ineffective” administrator.

The Michigan Department of Education defines “administrators” as superintendents, assistant superintendents, administrators, principals and assistant principals.

Michelle Zdrodowski, the executive director of communications for Detroit Public Schools, said the district is reviewing its procedures.

"As a part of the comprehensive restructuring that is currently underway at Detroit Public Schools, the district is in the process of assessing all of its evaluation rubrics in order to ensure that there are clear, measurable metrics and appropriate levels of accountability in place," Zdrodowski said in an email.

Evaluations play an important role in pay decisions and in determining who gets laid off at Michigan’s public schools.

“We find it difficult to believe there is only one bad apple in that entire bushel of DPS administrators,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project.

DPS administrators also awarded 79 percent of their teachers the highest effective rating in 2013-14. Of the district's 3,208 teachers, 2,542 were given the rating of “highly effective."

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.