Robert C. Bobb, the emergency financial manager for Detroit’s public schools, implored Michigan lawmakers last week to give him authority over the district’s academic program in order to save the city’s public education system from total failure. Bobb, who was appointed last year by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to straighten out the district’s finances, has been tussling for months with Detroit’s elected school board over academics.
His request came just two days after the release of heartbreaking results for Detroit students on the math portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Sixty nine percent of the city’s 4th graders and 77 percent of its 8th graders did not even reach basic proficiency on the national exam.
Bobb used unflinching language to describe how dire he believes the situation to be, telling lawmakers that Detroit students could have done just as well on the NAEP if they had skipped school and guessed the answers. In the wake of the test scores, Bobb also issued a plea for volunteers to help Detroit’s public schoolchildren learn to read.
Although I’m sure that members of the Detroit school board would disagree, it seems the NAEP scores alone make Bobb’s case for taking over the district’s academic program an awfully compelling one.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.