What Will Become of Public Education in Detroit?

Darreoom Dawsey

OK, I’m pretty sure that it’s safe to say that Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb has been a failure. He’s screwed up the DPS transportation system, with results ranging from comical to pathetic. He’s exacerbated problems among special-needs students. He’s slashed school resources while spending on pricey consultants. He convinced voters to approve a $500-million construction bond even as his own demographers argued that enrollment would continue to plummet. And, of course, he’s ballooned the very budget deficit that he was hired to eliminate. And yes, there was his yadayadayada about going to lame-duck politicians to get the state to absolve the DPS debt or else…but even that seems like so much of the same brand of smoke he’s been blowing.
Sure, he’s done all of this with an undeniable air of professionalism and charm — but by every available measure, the man’s tenure has been a flop. Meanwhile, come March, when his contract expires, it’ll all be water under the Belle Isle Bridge. He’s likely out of here, joining the lame duck governor who appointed him, and the district won’t have a single gain to show for it.