Detroit charter school closes just two weeks before first day of class

New building, desks for Sir Asyab Girls High School

Just two weeks before the first day of class, a charter school on Detroit’s west side notified parents and students today that the high school has closed.

Officials for University YES Academy held an impromptu meeting today to tell high school students they needed to find another school to attend. Only parents and students were allowed in the meeting, and they were barred from using recording devices.

“What are our kids supposed to do?” a parent told Metro Times reporter Allie Gross. “Another black school closed down. More black kids cannot be educated.”

The school’s management company, New Paradigm, handed parents and students a list of six other schools, including one of the company’s own schools, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Gross reported from outside the meeting. 

Students criticized New Paradigm for waiting until the last minute to announce the school’s closure.

“They call about everything else, but they don’t think to call about closing the school,” a student told Gross. 

The University YES Academy, at 14669 Curtis St., will continue to teach K-8.

Ralph Bland, head of New Paradigm, via YouTube.
Ralph Bland, head of New Paradigm, via YouTube.

After the meeting, three bodyguards tried to prevent Gross from interviewing the head of New Paradigm, Ralph Bland, who declined to comment. 

The academy came under fire in 2015 for taking extraordinary measures to prevent teachers from unionizing.

New Paradigm didn’t return our calls for comment.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Dongald TrumPenis

    Funny how charter schools can be on the brink and people have no idea- all due to GOP approved non-transparency for their privatized education scheme.

  • Nicole Vaughn

    This school was once Winship PreK-8th Grade. Many parents in the Winship Community send their children to Bradford Academy in Southfield, Oak Park Public Schools, or River Rouge Public School. Both Bradford and River Rouge offer free transportation. Detroit Public School Community District/EAA options include: Randolph Career and Technical Center, Cody, Mumford, Henry Ford, and JR King. The following DPSCD application schools may have seats available: 1) Communication Media Arts, 2) FLICS, 3) Ludington MS, 4) Renaissance HS and 5) Bates Academy. Elementary options include: Vernor, Schultz, Young, and Bow. It is really difficult for parents of several school-aged children to make the best choices. Personally, I drive 44 miles (roundtrip) transporting my children to three different schools. Good luck to those children and families impacted by University YES’ closing as there are only 12 days remaining until Tuesday, September 6 – The First Day of School.

    • Celeste Turner

      The application schools you list are now closed for enrollment. Avoid Bradford Academy. I’ve had graduates from there and parents tell me the students got into college but weren’t prepared.

  • specom2

    I weep bitter tears for these chumps who abandoned DPS for right wing republican free market hype. Maybe you should’ve held the public schools accountable instead of falling for the charter school song and dance. You got what you deserved.

  • Sharon Taylor

    Can you help spread the word to UYA parents and students that Detroit Public Schools has enrollment in the following schools for UYA students: Benjamin High School for Science and Medicine, CMA – Communication and Media Arts, Medicine and Community Health Academy and Randolph Technical High School. They may contact Jennifer Mrozowski, Deputy Director of Enrollment at (313) 401-9018, for further information.

  • Glenn Ikens

    Real public schools don’t secretly plan on closing. Real public schools can’t just shut their doors without a full public disclosure. Real public schools are accountable to citizens through the democratic process. Real public schools have elected school boards with open meetings, not appointed boards accountable to share holders. Real public schools serve the public good. Charter schools are not real public schools.

  • Celeste Turner

    This is the next charter school trend. Close the high school grades because the test scores put them in the lowest 5% and at risk of being closed by the school reform office SRO. More duck and cover tactics. Of course now those parents have missed the enrollment for Detroit application schools. Tough break for those students.

    • The test scores at UYAHS were not low. In fact, they just started testing because they did not get 11th grade until last year. Therefore, they could not have ranked yet.

      • Celeste Turner

        This is the trend to prevent having low scores. Internal testing by schools helps them to determine what state scores might look like. This started about 5-6 years ago with charter school providers. Don’t believe me, ask the students that used to go to Weston for high school.

  • Eric Lindemier

    They couldn’t make a profit on the kids so they left…charters are nothing more than profiteers.

    • Nicole Conaway

      And they can’t risk the teachers successfully unionizing

    • Ann Wisniewski

      Also, high schools cost way more to operate than K – 8. Finding all the well qualified, certified high school teachers is also a challenge when you are trying to also make a profit from your school business venture.

  • Justin Escher Alpert

    Public Schools which are properly funded and accountable to the communities that they serve are instruments of democracy.

  • Stephen Paraski

    How many millions did this fucker get?

    • Monica L. Jones


      • Stephen Paraski

        You know he made a boatload of cash. People like him worked with Amway group to open up Public Schools as a new “Revenue Stream” for Private Industry, much as they are doing with all “Public Services”. Your Trash, Water and soon your Fire and Police services will soon be “Out Sourced” in the quest for “Public Savings”, and that is a lie. It is our “Savings” that they are stealing.

        • Trexinmichigan

          Bingo! we have a winner. It’s the new “Industry” but it’s taxpayer funded.

        • drbpor

          Police & fire unions aree crippling communities finances
          Lifetime pensions & healthcare are unsustainable. We are being taxed into oblivion

          • Dongald TrumPenis

            Maybe someday you’ll lose your Social Security payments because THAT is considered unsustainable.

    • calas500

      Whatever he got, it’s your tax dollars he took and will keep!

  • Stephen Paraski

    How many millions did this fucker get?

  • 1Joshua
  • 1Joshua
  • Steve

    Weird…why is this a black school? Is it a privately funded, predominantly black school, or are the racially profiling the stidentity body before acceptance?

  • Steve

    Weird…why is this a black school? Is it a privately funded, predominantly black school, or are the racially profiling the stidentity body before acceptance?

    • Nicole Conaway

      It is a black school because it’s in Detroit. The population is 85% black and even higher than that for school-aged