Statement from state Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) on Attorney General Bill Schuette’s opinion regarding DPS closures:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

“I am appalled that Attorney General Bill Schuette has sided with House Speaker Kevin Cotter and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, and is now calling for closure within this academic year of schools that are ‘among the lowest-achieving 5 percent of schools’ without factoring in the new legislation his party passed this year. The entire point of creating a new Detroit school district was to allow time for schools within the new district to re-evaluate their performances and integrate best learning practices for their students. For Schuette to now say that the new district is still subject to the old standards is his confession that the Republican-backed DPS legislation passed earlier this year was nothing more than a way for the state to feel itself absolved of responsibility to a district that its emergency managers drove into the ground, and a tool to placate special interest groups that want to see the city’s public school system decimated. Despite Judge Steven Rhodes crafting a nuanced legal opinion on the issue, which he shared in his recent Detroit Free Press op-ed, Schuette has chosen to ignore the advice and authority of a man who saw Detroit through its bankruptcy. Instead, Schuette's attempt to distill the entire, complex network of factors that influence a child’s academic success — and by extension, the success of the school they attend — down to their ability to spell a single word is not only painfully simplistic, but absurdly privileged, and indicative that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our community. To view a predominantly African-American district through a lens like that, when similarly situated districts are not held to the same arbitrary standard, represents institutionalized racism at its worst. This is not the kind of leadership our state, or Detroit, needs, and I hope that moving forward he will consult with invested stakeholders and community leaders regarding these types of decisions, rather than issuing opinions that are rooted neither in sound legal thought nor common sense.”