Civic leaders form coalition to fix Detroit’s schools

Civic leaders form coalition to fix Detroit’s schools

Nearly three dozen civic and community leaders on Thursday joined forces to form a coalition to improve education for all Detroit students.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren includes leaders from diverse fields, including education, business, religion and community. Members of the coalition, who believe that Detroiters are more capable of securing a future for children in the bankrupt Motor City than emergency managers, have plans to announce their initial recommendations within the next 90 days.

Rev. Wendell Anthony, the coalition's co-chair who is also the president of the Detroit branch NAACP, said, "We know there is a problem, but we're not focusing on emergency managers, we're interested in emergency people and that's why we've formed this coalition."

The list of the coalition's other members present at the time of launch of the initiative included Tonya Allen, the president and chief executive of the Skillman Foundation; David Hecker, the president of AFT Michigan/AFL-CIO; John Rakolta, chief executive of Walbridge construction company, and Angela Reyes, the executive director of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

Allen, a co-chair of the coalition, said the group wasn't just about members on the steering committee; rather it's about Detroiters at the grass root levels who would be able to share their ideas.

Allen added that the first meeting of the group would likely be held around December 19, 2014.

The coalition has come into existence as Gov. Rick Snyder is exploring options for the 47,238-student DPS district, which has been operated by a number of emergency managers since 2009. The term of the current emergency manager, Jack Martin, is set to end in January 2015.