Detroit has an education problem, and a nagging one at that, that has gone on for many decades.
In his fifth State of the City speech, Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday night addressed it, noting that 32,500 children, or 27 percent of the city's students, attend schools outside of the city.
"And that says that what we're doing is not working," Duggan said before a packed auditorium at Western International High School in Southwest Detroit.
In partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District, Duggan said there's been discussions about the need for after school programs, including child care.
And he announced a plan to create an after-school pilot program in which children would be able to take city-run buses to different schools to attend classes such as robotics, arts or music. They might also get help with homework.
He hopes to start that pilot program in the fall.
Emphasizing the upside of education in Detroit during his speech, Duggan pointed to the Detroit Promise, an existing scholarship program that covers college tuition and fees for graduates of the Detroit's school district. He said 1,182 students benefit this year.
"We are going to make sure that our kids not only go to school, they succeed at school," Duggan said.
He noted that the city got $10 million to rebuild A. Phillip Randolph Technical High School in Northwest Detroit, where students learn electrical, plumbing, carpentry and masonry skills Next year, the school plans to add robotics and carpentry. "We're doing it right here in the City of Detroit," he said.
There also are plans to raise another $9 million for the Breithaupt Career and Technical Center on Hubbell for students to learn about cosmetology, culinary arts, auto body repair and welding.
Duggan emphasized that he's not Imposing himself on anybody, considering it's the job of the school board and the superintendent to run the school system. But he said people involved in education want him involved.
Other topics addressed include crime and eliminating blighted homes. An ambitious plan is to have every abandoned home either demolished, renovated or boarded by the end of 2019.