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— State legislators and community leaders boarded a bus Friday to tour several schools in the Detroit Public Schools district. But they didn’t just view schools through bus windows. They visited classrooms.

Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, D-Detroit, who organized the tour, along with House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills; Rep. Brian Banks, D-Detroit; Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit; and about 20 others participated in “Revitalizing Their Dreams Education Unity Tour,” to commemorate . Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday, and to foster bipartisan discussion around education policy.

“Being an advocate for public education, I want to make sure teachers are part of education policy conversations, and that’s how we will transform education,” said Gay-Dagnogo, a former DPS teacher who is co-chair of the public policy subcommittee for an education coalition of 31 community leaders created to advocate for all students in all Detroit schools — not just DPS.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said the tour was a “tremendous opportunity ... to showcase to local and state leaders‎ the successful work that Detroit educators are doing to ensure the city’s students succeed in school, college and career.

“We’ve consciously designed a tour with stops at neighborhood-based community schools, many of which are among the top rated in Detroit, that up to this point might not be as widely known.”

Among the schools visited were Mark Twain School for Scholars, Bennett Elementary School, Davison Elementary-Middle School and Foreign Language Immersion and Cultural Studies.

Greimel said he was particularly impressed watching students perform math problems in Mandarin Chinese at FLICS.

“It’s exciting to see young people being provided with a great foreign language education at such early ages,” Greimel said. “I wanted to see firsthand some positive, innovative programs. We have an obligation and responsibility to make sure every student in Michigan succeeds.”

State Board of Education member Pamela Pugh-Smith of Saginaw said she was impressed with what she saw at the Detroit Adult Education Center on Asbury Park.

“There are opportunities for students to have that continuum to develop skills and to go confidently into the workplace,” Pugh-Smith said.

SLewis@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2296

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