Meeting District Needs

Foundation Battles Severe Educational Challenges in Detroit

By Andrew L. Yarrow — September 29, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Fortune magazine wrote last month that “if Detroit schools have a last best friend, it’s Carol Goss.”

Ms. Goss, who heads Detroit’s Skillman Foundation, has taken on the Herculean—if not Sisyphean—task of spearheading a turnaround of one of America’s most desperately failing school systems. The city’s high schools currently have a dismal graduation rate of 60 percent and Detroit seems to sink deeper into a decades-long slump from loss of auto and other manufacturing, blight, and political troubles. As Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute has said: “The philanthropic view is that there is no basement to build on in Detroit.”

But Ms. Goss is committed to building that basement and to moving on to the upper floors as well. She stepped in when Michigan’s governor seized control of Detroit’s schools two years ago. Goss brought together teachers resisting change, politicians fighting over education policy, and parents seeking to keep alive failed programs. She used the very juicy carrot of $200 million in grants to get the warring parties to jointly commit to higher standards and taking more bold actions.

Her coalition, Excellent Schools Detroit, plans to open 40 new charter, public, and private schools by 2015, issue report cards for schools, and launch a recruiting drive for teachers and principals outside Detroit, with the goal of raising the graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

This dedicated drive by a deep-pocketed philanthropist may be just what the doctor ordered for this and other especially troubled school systems. Ms. Goss seems to show that philanthropists can not only offer money but also use their clout to pull together all stakeholders in support of a common goal. Will it work? One can only hope so.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12, Parents & the Public blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment: Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Meeting District Needs Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories you may have missed.
8 min read
Meeting District Needs Coronavirus Squeezes Supply of Chromebooks, iPads, and Other Digital Learning Devices
School districts are competing against each other for purchases of digital devices as remote learning expands to schools across the country.
7 min read
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
The New York City school system has been handing out laptops and other digital devices for students to use at home. Recently, it moved quickly to purchase 300,000 new iPads for remote learning.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
Meeting District Needs Opinion Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students
The NAACP advocates the use of OER as a way to equalize learning resources at scale for all students, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon.
Lisa Petrides & Barbara Dezmon
6 min read
Open Educational Resources Fill Gap for Underserved Students In the wake of NAACP’s endorsement of OER, states have a responsibility to address resource inequality, write Lisa Petrides and Barbara Dezmon
Getty/Getty
Meeting District Needs 'Red Flags' to Look for When Evaluating Personalized Learning Products
Educators are asking tougher questions to sort the real personalized learning potential from the empty promises of some ed-tech products and services.
6 min read
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Buzzwords in the Marketplace
Education Week