In Detroit over 283 public schools have been closed since 2000, causing ongoing instability and chaos in the schooling landscape of the city. Much of this is due to the process behind opening and closing schools in the city. There are 12 “authorizers” or different bodies who have the sole authority to open or close schools and these authorizers are not directly accountable to Detroit residents. This results in inequities regarding the number of schools in each neighborhood and the populations those schools are serving.
Political will in Detroit is ramping up to address some of these issues around Detroit schools (see recommendations from the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren). If residents are to have a voice in shaping our school system, it is vital that we are having conversations about how our public school system works.
Detroit Future Schools collaborated with the citywide education organizing network 482 Forward, videographer Imad Hassan, and music producer Ben Christensen to create a video for community members that responds to the question: “Who gets to open and close schools in Detroit?”
Who gets to open or close our schools? How and whether our schools share resources has a huge impact on the work we do in the classroom. We made this video because we wanted to participate in the conversation about education in Detroit and bring awareness to the complex issues facing our school system.
As Detroit Future Schools continue to work towards our goal of humanizing schooling in Detroit, we are expanding our work beyond the classroom to gain an understanding of the larger challenges and political context shaping our classrooms. We look forward to continuing to partner with 482 Forward to inspire conversations and community organizing around education justice in Detroit.