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Posted on Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

Ann Arbor nonprofit Michigan Future offers new model for Detroit school system

By Nathan Bomey

Ann Arbor-based nonprofit think tank Michigan Future Inc. has secured $13 million in grants to inject life into Detroit's ravaged school system.

Michigan Future announced today that it plans to use the funds to help launch seven new high schools over the next three years. The college-prep high schools must be open to Detroit students but don't have to be located within the city's boundaries.

"It builds on the work we have been doing for the past decade or so to figure out how to connect urban high schools students to the economy of the future," Michigan Future President Lou Glazer said in a blog post this morning. "Its goal is to create new high schools at scale in Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs to substantially increase the number of low income and/or minority students attending high-quality schools."

The new program comes as Michigan Future has earned a reputation for putting a spotlight on Michigan's talent exodus. Glazer has aggressively emphasized the importance of developing an educated workforce in revitalizing Michigan's economy.

Michigan Future compiled funding for its Detroit schools program from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, Kresge Foundation and McGregor Fund, according to Crain's Detroit Business.

Glazer said the initiative, dubbed Michigan Future Schools, would not favor a specific type of school.

"All the ideological wars between public, charter and private school advocates are irrelevant to us. We will work with any school as long as it has a high likelihood that it will prepare all its students for college," Glazer wrote.

The initiative will require that the new high schools achieve a graduation rate of at least 85 percent. In addition, at least 85 percent of their grads must attend college -- and 85 percent of that group must graduate from college.

"We are aiming for nothing less than creating an alternative high quality network of high schools that will compete with low quality high schools no matter who operates them," Glazer wrote.

Michigan Future has already delivered an $850,000 grant to Detroit Edison Public School Academy, which plans to open a new high school this fall, Crain's reported.

Michigan Future ultimately hopes to raise funds to launch 35 schools within eight years.

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Tue, Mar 2, 2010 : 1:09 a.m.

$13M doesn't seem like a lot in view of the problems of DPS. Though these 7 schools must be open to Detroit students, they don't have to be located in Detroit. Busing? Isn't this part of the problem of charter schools now is getting students to these schools? If these high schools are college prep wouldn't there be the same problems of why Johnny can't read? Johnny can't read in college because he's never learned in elementary, middle and high school. Are there enough qualified students able to do college prep work to build 7 high schools? Cass Tech was once the crown jewel doing the same as Michigan Future is proposing. This sounds good on paper, but seems a lot more work needs to be done instead of building new and thinking that this will magically change the entrenched issues from social, economic and family issues that plauge the DPS. However, maybe these schools will have competent new teachers. That has to be a plus.

J. Clark

Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 8:24 p.m.

Michigan Future Inc. quotes Forbes Magazine on their website. Not what I want anyone having a part in my child's education to be reading/quoting. Additionally, Glazer (MFI's chair) is pro-Charter schools. What DPS needs is money and community involvement, not Forbes Magazine-inspired Charter schools to come in like carrion-feeders.


Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 2:09 p.m.

This is an initiative going in the right direction. They should tap into New Leaders for New Schools to place and attract talent for leadership in these schools - they'll desperately need it.


Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

This is great news! Now DPS can be closed down and we can send all of the children in Detroit to these schools. Just think of how much money the state will save and as a bonus the kids will be better educated. Doing more with less!


Mon, Mar 1, 2010 : 1:50 p.m.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO: the Bset School in Bloomfield hills.INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY...project THERE PROGRAM to the classrooms VIA the INTERNET(big Scrrens in each classroom) so each class has the same education STATEWIDE up to the UP..The children will learn and to correct there papers Install a COMPUTTER machine like the (VOTERcomputer) that will correct the papers WITHOUT the TEACHER being descritated or anl other motive. FREE at last. Also the children WILL Llearn language that will get them POSITIONS in LIVE not just"JOBS".