GLEP Proposes “Education Innovation Zone” to Reimagine Education in Detroit

System of Schools; Opportunity Scholarships; High Standards & Accountability will be hallmarks of new system to educate Detroit-area students

Lansing, MI – The Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today announced a sweeping and comprehensive plan to reimagine the delivery of education for students in the Detroit area.

“Enough is enough, and it’s about time we recognized that the Detroit Public Schools are academically and financially bankrupt, and they’ve lost the privilege of educating children in Detroit,” said Gary Naeyaert, Executive Director of GLEP.

GLEP recommends the Emergency Manager relieve DPS of all teaching responsibilities, re-purpose district assets and supervise the district’s role as a taxing authority in order to satisfy the district’s operational and capital debts.

Replacing DPS would be a new and unique “Education Innovation Zone,” which would apply to any school building in Southeast Michigan that enrolls at least 25% of its students from the City of Detroit. This first-in-the-nation education entity would have the following features:

  • Participating schools would be required to meet annual academic standards for proficiency and growth, as set by the schools’ sponsor and included in the EIZ accountability system.
  • School sponsors, who must also be accredited, would include community colleges, universities, The Mayor’s Office, and other education providers in the area.
  • Students would receive an annual $8,000 “Opportunity Scholarship” from the state to cover basic operational funding at any school in the zone, public or private.
  • The independently-governed schools in the EIZ would be considered school districts as it relates to other federal and state funds.
  • Teachers in EIZ schools would be subject to a rigorous teacher evaluation system.


“This would create a performance-based system of schools where student learning comes first, given the high standards, rigorous expectations and competitive enrollment environment,” Naeyaert added.

GLEP, in praising Governor Snyder for moving the School Reform and Redesign Office from MDE to DTMB, called for the closure of 16 “worst of the worst” public schools in the state, each of which has been in the bottom performing 5% of all public schools for each of the past 5 years (see next page). “It’s about time we put some teeth into our school improvement efforts. Put simply, we think chronically-failing schools should improve or be closed,” said Naeyaert.

Schools in the Bottom Performing 5% for 5 consecutive years (2010-2014)

  1. Fisher Magnet Lower Academy (Detroit Public Schools)
  2. Gardner Elementary School (Detroit Public Schools)
  3. Denby High School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  4. Ralph J. Bunche Academy (Ecorse Public Schools)
  5. Carstens Elementary-Middle School (Detroit Public Schools)
  6. Pershing High School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  7. Ann Visger K-5 Preparatory Academy (River Rouge Public Schools)
  8. Detroit Collegiate Prep HS @ Northwestern (Detroit Public Schools)
  9. Riddle Elementary (Lansing Public Schools)
  10. Mumford High School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  11. Southeastern High School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  12. Woodward School for Technology and Research (Kalamazoo Public Schools)
  13. Burns Elementary-Middle School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  14. Pontiac High School (Pontiac Public Schools)
  15. Phoenix Elementary-Middle School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)
  16. Ford High School (EAA/Detroit Public Schools)


Click here to download this release in PDF format.