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Detroit: Education Department Intervention?

At the annual Education Writers Association conference (which, unfortunately, I am missing), Education Secretary Arne Duncan let drop some tantalizing hints about "something" coming for Detroit Public Schools. Julie Mack from the Kalamazoo Gazette has the scoop:

U.S Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized the leadership of Detroit Public Schools and hinted that his agency may intervene.

Speaking at the Education Writers Association national conference, Duncan said he's been mulling the situation there.

"Stayed tuned," he said. "We're working on stuff as we speak. ... We have to do things."

That's pretty vague. Still, it's no secret that Detroit schools are in a bad way. My colleague Mary Ann Zehr recently wrote about the district's plan to turn over 41 schools to charter operators. The 74,000-student district is trying to hire new leadership. And Duncan has shown little reluctance to weigh on local district management (Michele McNeil at the Politics K12 blog has catalogued the many examples.)

I asked the Education Department for a little more clarification, and Liz Utrup, a department spokewoman, said only that Duncan "is invested in improving all public schools, particularly those in Detroit where graduation rates remain unacceptably low. It's our duty to fix our most troubled schools and provide Detroit students with the opportunity to receive a high-quality education."

We'll have to stay tuned.

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