With staggeringly low high school graduation rates and the nation's poorest NAEP performance, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has referred to Detroit as "ground zero for education in this country." In 2011, only 3% of third graders in the city tested on grade level in math—the lowest score in the U.S. But from the bottom, there is no where to go but up. Now more than ever, Detroit's students are ready to soar.
Outsiders often think of Detroit and imagine desolation. Here in Detroit, we see a humbling opportunity to make the city great again. Teach For America is committed to playing a critical role in the reinvention of Detroit's school system. Fueled by the recent reorganization of the state's lowest performing schools, new leadership in Detroit Public Schools, and a growing charter movement, the time for change is upon us.
Hand-in-hand with the community, we will work to make Detroit the home of schools that are national exemplars of educational excellence. Our city will be the place where bold leaders fight to put students and families first, and Detroit's motto—"We hope for better things, it will rise from the ashes"—will become reality.