In a letter to Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan's Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked that he stop the Michigan School Reform Office from closing 38 schools.
U.S. Reps. John Conyers, Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Brenda Lawrence, and Sander Levin requested that the governor not close any schools without input and support from local communities.
The representatives cited the negative impacts of school closings, such as the burdens placed on working families that may face longer commutes.
Read a part of the letter below, or in its entirety here.
We ask that the state not close any schools without consultation and input from the local community. Not only is that type of collaboration required by federal law, it is also what local parents are demanding and what is best for our children. The state must stop looking at children as numbers on a spreadsheet and provide struggling schools with the funding to escape the cycle of continual low performance. These closings are a short-sighted measure that will have detrimental impacts on students, families and communities.
The letter also included complaints that the state is not doing enough to help fix failing schools, saying "smaller class sizes, better instructional material and support for professional staff" are better long-term solutions than closing schools.
The Michigan School Reform Office released its list of failing schools in January, and is expected to make a final decision about whether to close schools within the next month.
A spokesperson for Snyder responded to the letter saying, "some of the schools on the list of 38 have been under-performing for a decade or more, so it’s imperative that some action is taken to save these kids from classrooms where they simply are not receiving an adequate education."