Reform coalition releases report card to help parents select schools

DETROIT — Comparatively few city and inner-suburb schools are providing Detroit students with a high-quality education, according to the latest school scorecard released today by Excellent Schools Detroit, a broad-based coalition of Detroit’s education, government, community, parent, and foundation leaders who are committed to having every Detroit child in a quality school by 2020.

The 2011 School Report Card: The Best and Worst Results for Detroit’s Students provides school rankings for all Detroit Public Schools and public charter schools in the city, as well as the handful of private schools that take the state tests.

For the first time, the 2011 edition also includes results for schools in the inner suburbs that enroll large numbers of Detroit students: elementary and middle schools where 40% of its students are from the city and high schools where 30% of its students are from the city.

Rankings are based on three-year average scores on the state’s reading and math tests (5th grade and 8th grade MEAP) and the ACT (high school) college admissions test. 

On the positive side:

  • 21 elementary schools (two in the inner suburbs) have a combined average of at least 75% of their students meeting or exceeding the state’s standards in 5th grade reading and math. The state average is 83% meeting standards in reading, and 77% in math. 
  • 15 middle schools (two in the suburbs) have a combined average of at least 75% of their students meeting or exceeding the state’s standards in 8th grade reading and math. The state average is 79% meeting standards in reading, and 72% in math. 
  • 10 high schools (four in the suburbs) have average ACT Composite scores of 16.5 or higher. The state average is 19.0.

“These schools have the best academic performance in the metro area," said Carol Goss, ESD Chair and Skillman Foundation President and CEO.  "They give us hope. We need to make sure more parents know about them and enroll their children in them. And we need to create many more great options. ”

At the same time, many schools have very low performance. 

  • In 17 elementary schools (two in the suburbs) and 5 middle schools (none in the suburbs), fewer than 45% meet the state’s READING standards.
  • In 5 elementary schools (none in the suburbs) and 12 (1 in the suburbs) middle schools, fewer than 25% of the students meet the state’s MATH standards.
  • Achievement is even lower in the high schools. Nine high schools (none in the suburbs) have ACT Composite scores under 14.5 and graduation rates under 65%.

“It is clear that too many schools are not educating kids to meet the state’s relatively low standards. These schools need to be held accountable,” Goss said.

The scorecard is the first step in fulfilling a central promise of ESD’s March 2010 citywide education reform plan to help parents become smarter school shoppers.

On Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12, the coalition will host parent school shopper fairs where parents can learn more about the top 46 schools in time for the open enrollment period for the 2011-12 school year.

ESD’s citywide plan was released in March 2010. It calls for several major reforms, including:

  • Create an independent Standards and Accountability Commission to set goals for all schools and Pre-K programs in the city 
  • Publish annual report cards to help parents become “smarter school shoppers” 
  • Help open 40 new excellent schools by 2015 and 70 by 2020 
  • Recruit and develop the country’s best school leaders and teachers 
  • Create a citywide leadership initiative to help leaders open new schools and turn around failing ones.

Organizations participating in the ESD coalition are: City of Detroit, Cornerstone Schools, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Detroit Parent Network, Detroit Public Schools, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the McGregor Fund, Michigan Future, Inc., New Detroit, New Urban Learning, the Skillman Foundation, Think Detroit PAL, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, and Wayne State University.

Copies of the 2011 School Report Card, more detailed information about the schools, the ESD citywide plan and related materials are available at www.excellentschoolsdetroit.org .