An alarming new study shows just how difficult it is to find a quality school in the city of Detroit — especially for families that live in certain neighborhoods.
The study from the nonprofit research organization IFF identified ten city neighborhoods where it’s extremely difficult to find a seat in a quality school.
Those neighborhoods are home to 30,000 children, but had just eight “performing” schools. The study defined them using the color-coded school ratings that state education officials assigned for the 2015-16 school year based primarily on test scores.
That doesn’t mean Detroit doesn’t have enough schools. In fact, the study found that many of the city’s schools are half empty. The main Detroit district had physical space for more than 80,000 students in the 2015-16 school year but served fewer than 45,000 kids that year.
Some Detroit families travel long distances — at great personal sacrifice — to find better schools but even families with the means to travel can have difficulty finding a spot in a decent school.
The study found that the vast majority of Detroit children — 70,000 of the 85,000 Detroit children who attend public school in the city — are in schools that don’t meet the state’s criteria for performance.
“This report is not about criticizing our public schools without offering a path forward,” said Chris Uhl, IFF’s executive director in a press release. The purpose, he said, “is to give everyone with a stake in improving Detroit’s education system — the district, charter schools and their authorizers, the city, foundations, and, of course, our families — the neighborhood-by-neighborhood data they need to work together to find shared solutions.”
The study includes an online tool that allows Detroiters to see which neighborhoods have performing schools as well as the conditions of those schools, and the basic demographics of the students who attend them.
Click here to use that tool — and scroll down to read the full report below.