By Nancy Derringer/Bridge Magazine
My boss, Bridge editor Derek Melot, doesn’t have children. I get the idea if he did, they’d have run away to grandma’s by now, fleeing their father’s firmly held belief that what ails children is very simple: Not enough schoolin’.
“If you want to get better at something, do you spend less time at it?” he said, when I questioned him once. OK, so he has a point. (Most people know the summer school break is a holdover from our agrarian past, when we needed all the field hands we could get, right?) We’ll find out how effective it is once the 15 Detroit schools swept into the state-run Education Achievement Authority get some mileage behind them. Six Detroit high schools and nine elementary-middle schools will be included in the EAA, and include some of the poorest-performing in the troubled district.
Students in those schools will attend 210 days out of the year, up from the standard 170 in the rest of the state. The Detroit News story linked above explains the year will run from Sept. 4 to Aug. 6, with four quarters and shorter breaks at holidays. And while the first day back to school in the fall is frequently a happy one for summer-exhausted parents, the vote was not cheered at the Tuesday meeting where it was announced, the story said:
Several members of the audience groaned as the list was read. Community activist Helen Moore shouted, “They are jerking these kids around.”
Roy Roberts, who serves as chairman of the authority and emergency manager for DPS, replied: “The state superintendent could close any of these schools. … What we are proposing is how do you get your arms around this and do something special?”
Informational meetings start next week, with open enrollment through mid-April. We’ll see how committed DPS parents are to tough love in the summertime.