News Bite

At This Detroit School, Teachers Get Massage Spa Chairs And High Marks, Students Get F’s

School’s latest assessment reports most of its instructors are ‘highly effective’

A Detroit public high school with one of Michigan’s worst academic records was the focus of a Detroit Free Press story highlighting how an employee was able to obtain spa chairs, massage chairs and waterfalls for the teachers lounge.

Michelle Davis, dean of culture and climate at Davis Aerospace Technical High School, was the focus of the recent story. She was paid $86,434 by the district in 2021-22.

The March 27 story was titled, “She transformed Detroit school’s teachers lounge with massage chair, waterfalls.” It reported that Davis labeled the lounge a “wellness/tranquility room.”

But in the 2018-19 school year, 11th graders at the school attained an average SAT score of just 772.4. This is well below the district average of 847.6, which itself was well below the statewide average SAT score of 985.1.

Of the 14 teachers evaluated at Davis Aerospace Technical High School in 2020-21, nine received the highest rating of “highly effective.” Three others were deemed “effective.” There was one teacher each in the categories of “minimally effective” and “ineffective.”

The Detroit Free Press did give more information about the lounge. It reported: “A complete inventory includes: four teal-colored spa chairs, a zero-gravity massage chair; a hand-held massager; a foot massager; stress-relieving balls; three miniature rock waterfalls; an aromatherapy oil.”

Not enough students at Davis Aerospace High School took the state’s standardized test in 2020-21 to register any reportable data. No tests were given out in 2019-20 due to COVID. So the last year with available data is 2018-19.

In the most recent statewide school report card issued by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, covering the years 2015-18, the school received an F. The report card factors in the socioeconomic background of students.

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.