Ah, Detroit. While the smell of rubber and welding may no longer emanate through the air in this city of automotive manufacturing, the schools are still working to keep production up; the production of well-educated, successful members of society. In the last decade, Detroit Public Schools have lost more than 60,000 students. While much of this loss has been due to the city’s steadily declining population and shrinking birthrates, leaders of Detroit Schools also say that this is attributable to poaching from charter schools and neighboring public school systems.
Detroit Schools aren’t going down without a fight, however. They are teaming up with community organizations, parent groups and its unions in an aggressive effort to recruit and retain students. The declining student enrollment at Detroit Schools may also force the district to operate on a lower budget, and will most definitely cause cuts in per pupil funding.
School systems like Detroit Schools must adapt or die. We live in an ever-changing world, and this change must be carefully implemented in our schools; both in order to keep up with trends in education, and to ensure that students are well-educated and ready to enter the adult world of work. When a city like Detroit is losing population as well as facing a shrinking birthrate, it struggles for survival just as a fish does on the deck of a boat. Hopefully, Detroit Schools will not flounder around, but face their problems head-on with a well-thought out plan on how to turn things around.
One way that the Detroit Schools can affect this change is to offer unique programs of study to its students. Gone are the days when Detroit Schools children studied only the three Rs, Home Economics and Physical Education. Colleges and universities are demanding better-prepared students, and employers want new-hires to already possess some of the skills needed for the job. Magnet schools are an excellent way for Detroit Schools to offer these kinds of programs.
A Detroit Schools magnet program offers students the chance to work through school while concentrating on areas they are interested in. Montessori magnets are popular, as well as Performing Arts and Foreign Language. Students who are Gifted & Talented can attend magnet programs that cater to their needs. Students with exceptionalities can go to a magnet school that will address the physical as well as the educational needs they possess.
Detroit Schools offer several magnet schools, of which many are unique. Among these world-class programs are the Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies School, Michigan’s only public school of its kind; Davis Aerospace, one of few college prep high schools in the country where students can obtain a pilot’s license; the Detroit School of the Arts, a multiple award winning performing arts high school; and Crockett Technical High School, a digital technology high school.