By Chastity Pratt Dawsey Detroit Free Press Education Writer
The business and community leaders who have accepted roles on governing councils at specialized schools include Anita Ashford, continuous improvement expert in process management at DTE, and the Rev. Edgar Vann, bishop of Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit, for the governing councils at Osborn High; Jeff Bergeron, president and CEO of Ernst & Young, for the council at Cody High, and Dr. Reginald Eadie, president of Sinai Grace Hospital, for the council at Benjamin Carson Academy.
The councils and principals will be responsible for each school’s academic standards, budget, hiring, curriculum and operations, with oversight from DPS.
All of the self-governing schools are theme-based high schools that offer specific career programs.
The idea of self-governing schools is to increase efficiency by eliminating layers of bureaucracy and allowing more decisions to be made within the schools.
“By shifting authority to make vital decisions to the school level, we offer schools both the ability to maintain consistency in their programs and the ability to make decisions that best serve the needs of their particular students,” DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said in a statement Monday.
Penny Bailer, a former DPS board member during the 1990s, has experience with school-level decision-making. About 20 years ago, the idea — then called “empowered schools” — was debated with the teachers union, and as recently as a few years ago, it was referred to as “site-based management.”
Bailer, who is executive director for the nonprofit City Year Detroit, will serve on the governing board at the Detroit Collegiate Preparatory, which started this year and is located in a wing of Northwestern High.
“I think the governing board members can bring expertise and networking,” Bailer said. “It certainly helps when you don’t have to go through layers of administration for decisions, sometimes simple decisions.”
Three of the self-governing schools will be the small learning communities located within the Osborn High building. Three other self-governing schools will be the small learning communities that operate in the Cody High building.
The addition of eight self-run schools brings the total to nine, including the Detroit School of Arts.