Detroit Schools Battle For Custody Following Public Act 4 Repeal

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brooke Harris, a teacher at Detroit's Mumford High School, is confused.

The English and journalism teacher faces class sizes of 45, and her colleagues have to teach as many as 60 students at a time. Special education teachers at the school, she says, have 10 to 12 students above the legal limit. But she doesn't know who she really reports to, or who is running things.

"I have no idea who's in charge of our public schools, and I don't know if anyone really has any idea," Harris said. "Both the school board and the emergency manager think they're in charge."

Others in Detroit's schools have been asking the same question -- who is in charge? -- since Election Day, when Michigan voters repealed Public Act 4, a law that allowed the state to appoint its own managers to run school districts and municipalities, circumventing elected mayors and school boards. The repeal has ignited a lengthy and complex custody battle over the city's public schools, a fight that grinds on as kids prepare for finals.

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