POSTED: Friday, May 15, 2009
UPDATED: 8:05 pm EDT May 15, 2009
DETROIT -- The troubled Detroit Public School district is going to have a new look come September.
The emergency financial manager for Detroit's public schools Robert Bobb announced a major shake-up among principals at schools across the district.
Under Bobb's new plan, 33 principals will effectively be fired when their contracts are not renewed. Another 37 principals will get new assignments and 11 others will retire.
A nationwide search will be conducted to fill 10 of those principal positions at some of the city's most troubled schools.
Under his appointment by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Bobb has the power to hire and fire employees and manage all expenditures in the Detroit Public School system.
Bobb continues to work in restructuring the district. "We will look at all of the options available to us under the law to achieve dramatically different achievement outcomes, not for one child, but for every child in this school system," Bobb said.
Robert Bobb announced earlier this week that 29 schools in the district would close at the end of the current academic year.
Calling the city's troubled public schools "ground zero" for education in the United States, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday promised federal help if leaders are willing to make necessary changes to improve the system.
The appointee of President Barack Obama was blunt in his criticisms of the Detroit Public Schools, which for years has been rife with mismanagement and few budget controls.
Duncan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, newly elected Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Bobb spoke with students at Cody High School about improving education.
The city was Duncan's second stop on his national "Listening and Learning Tour."
"I think Detroit is ground zero education in this country," he later told reporters. "Detroit is New Orleans two years ago without Hurricane Katrina, and I feel a tremendous sense of both urgency and outrage when you have two-thirds of your students dropping out… and dramatically more freshmen than seniors "
He said the district's chronically poor graduation and high dropout rates were unacceptable.
"The children deserve something dramatically better," Duncan said.
Duncan has asked that Detroit look to other cities, such as Chicago, whose educational models have worked.
If that is done and Detroit applies for federal funds, Granholm said she believes Duncan will be "very supportive" of helping the city's schools.
"He's got billions of dollars in Race to the Top Recovery Act money that they are willing to invest in the cities that are willing to make the changes necessary to get the results we want," Granholm said.