After only about a month as top boss of Detroit Public Schools, Roy Roberts, a 72-year-old former General Motors executive and private equity firm founder, is well aware that some people already want him gone.
The district’s new financial manager said he’s OK with that reality, adding that differing opinions have value. His only request: Stay out of the way as he tries to turn around one of the nation’s worst public school systems.
I don’t care what people think about me, really … because I know what parents are going to think,” Roberts told The Associated Press during an interview in his Detroit Midtown office. “They’re going to love it because I’m trying to do the right thing for their children, and you won’t find a parent that doesn’t want that. I’m simply going to look at a system and say ‘What is the best system we can put in place to educate these kids?’ I don’t care about the politics.”
What concerns him, he said, is a massive budget deficit and students who either don’t receive a legitimate education or flee the district in search of one. Those mountainous challenges form the ridge that for decades has left the 74,000-student district on the shadowy side of progress.