In his State of the City address a few weeks ago, Mayor Mike Duggan proposed a pilot program that would bus children around Detroit to take advantage of educational opportunities outside of their neighborhoods. That includes access to traditional public schools, charter schools, after-school programs and certified daycares.
Duggan has said many times that the city needs to make life better for kids — the next generation of Detroiters who will inherit the city. But there’s also only so much city government can do in the way of education and schools.
Tonya Allen, CEO of the Skillman Foundation, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to discuss ways the city and residents can improve opportunities for children. She says that charter schools and the district need to stop fighting over each other’s students and focus on kids leaving school entirely.
“The kids who go to school in Detroit, charters are fighting the district for those kids and the district is fighting the charters for those kids when we have nearly 30,000 kids who are leaving,” she says. ”Fight for those kids. Stop fighting each other over kids who are already in your buildings. Let’s fight for the kids who don’t see an opportunity here, let’s improve the quality of those schools and make sure they can get there safely.”
Allen also says that youth programming, which is a big part of a child’s educational experience, is lacking and must be improved.
“What we have found is that for kids to get access to things that will engage them and make them happy and make them want to go to school, their parents have to pay for them. I believe we will have to figure out how to create a dedicated public funding source so that young people have to go by chance, that opportunity will be available to them.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.