Education
6:45 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

National AFT leaders visit Detroit

The leader of the nation’s second-largest teacher’s union made a pitch for empowering teachers in Detroit.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten toured Palmer Park Preparatory Academy. The district says the school has been transformed for the better in the past year, since teachers took control of most school functions, including the budget and curriculum.

The AFT touts the school’s success as “a model of successful union-district collaboration and teacher accountability.”

Weingarten says the school is a “real beacon of hope.” She says it shows “smart strategies” can turn around a Detroit Public school system many have deemed hopeless.

“Smart strategies like empowering teachers to lead a school, to work together, to collaborate, to bring their ideas of best practices in and make it real.”                

Weingarten believes there’s hope and a community desire to maintain the Detroit Public Schools. She met briefly with the district’s new Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts.

Weingarten’s visit comes as some observers wonder whether the district will last long as a traditional public school system. A plan to turn up to 45 public schools over to charter operators is still being finalized.