The One about Rick Snyder's Two Detroits...

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced his plan to "fix" Detroit's schools today. Here's a cogent analysis of the broad strokes of his plan, according to my brilliant friend, Nancy Osborne:

Take away schools from the Voters. They will have no say. Stick the elected School Board (the Black People) with the debt...even though they had a positive fund balance before Lansing (the White People) appointed a succession of Emergency Managers who financially crashed the district over a 15 year period. In addition, Snyder's plan will create 3 new layers of bureaucracy. Give free busing to charter school parents no matter how far the children live from their for-profit schools. And this is just the broad outline. I'm sure there's plenty of mischief in the details.

In response, hundreds of Detroit's teachers voiced their displeasure, and the resulting shortage of teachers and subs caused many DPS schools to shut down for the day. Here’s the statement from DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley: ”Detroit Public Schools' sole focus and goal is the education of the more than 47,000 students whose education it has been entrusted with by their families. That focus and goal should be shared by all DPS employees. While we can agree to disagree on matters of policy, those disagreements should never impact our students and the instructional time they are entitled to as it has today - with 17 schools having been closed due to lack of teachers and other instructional staff. This unplanned turn of events is seriously misguided and directly harms our students - taking away a day in the classroom that students can ill-afford given the school days already missed due to our severe weather this past winter. It is truly unfortunate that so many of those who profess to be dedicated educators have decided to participate in this action given its unjustifiable and unconscionable consequence."


A couple of thoughts...

1. With all due respect to Mr. Earley, there’s a lot more to running a school district than just educating children. Believe me, every teacher wishes it were that simple. As lovely as it sounds, the kids can not ever be the “sole focus”—those entrusted with running our public schools also need to treat all school employees, from teachers to custodians, from secretaries to cafeteria workers, with dignity and respect. Snyder’s plan does none of this, so the teachers have not just the right, but the responsibility to protest.

2. I'd be a lot more inclined to listen to Mr. Earley's diatribe if he had voiced similar concerns when the recent M-STEP tests created massive problems with school schedules and instructional time--but I don't recall him ever making a peep about these interruptions. Methinks thou dost protest too much, Mr. Emergency Manager...


3. Mr. Earley and the governor are not just "agreeing to disagree" with Detroit's teachers and the teacher union--they are actively working to destroy the Detroit Public Schools, crush the teachers union, and de-professionalize teaching as a profession. Expecting DPS teachers to sit politely on the sideline so as not to upset the apple cart while the Governor and his colleagues dismantle public education in Detroit is not only naive--its insulting.

4. Mr. Earley's disingenuous attempt to cast Detroit's teachers as the "bad guys" in this dispute ("It is truly unfortunate that so many of those who profess to be dedicated educators have decided to participate in this action given its unjustifiable and unconscionable consequence") is not only smarmy and laughable, its not how leaders are supposed to behave. When one becomes a teacher, one does not forfeit one's rights as a citizen.


What is truly unfortunate about this whole situation is the complete and utter lack of understanding on the part of the Governor and the Emergency Manager about the value and importance of public education to Michigan's largest city. Instead of robbing public schools to pay his wealthy friends in the charter "industry", its high time for Gov. Snyder to show that he understands that as goes Detroit, so goes Michigan--and that he was elected to be the Governor of all of Michigan's citizens, not just the rich ones.

Write a comment

Comments: 10
  • #1

    Danny Mitchell (Thursday, 30 April 2015 16:00)

    Rick Synder is a poor excuse for a governor. He favors his rich friends over the poor and needy. This is one of the big reasons his Proposal 1 will fail. He is the worst governor Michigan has ever had.

  • #2

    Kevin gross (Thursday, 30 April 2015 17:07)

    i am a Dps teacher...AMEN!!!!

  • #3

    Tabitha (Thursday, 30 April 2015 17:51)

    For the last five years I have had over 50 students. Not enough books. No help from the district or parents. DPS is about to lose a lot of great teachers who love what they do. Were so busy testing not enough time for teaching.
    A Master Teacher who is about to do a career change...

  • #4

    Gregory Johnson (Thursday, 30 April 2015 18:21)

    Snyder and Early care nothing about educating Detroit's children. It's all about keeping power out of the hands of Blacks, in Michigan's largest municipality and school system. They control the zoo, the DIA, the library, the historical museum, the water department, Cobo Hall, the school system, and Belle Isle. No elected school board etc. Blacks may be the largest population in Michigan's largest municipality, but Detroit and it's assets will always be controlled by whites in Lansing. Never again will black people ever control anything that has to do with Detroit, as long as it's population is majority black.

  • #5

    Stan Takis (Friday, 01 May 2015 05:11)

    Right on! What is the governor going to do to attract more good teachers to Detroit and to keep the good ones that are there from changing professions?

  • #6

    Sandra Alsterberg (Saturday, 02 May 2015 07:58)

    Although Governor Snyder is the major power source in the dismantling of Detroit Public Schools, there are administrators within the district who are also contributing to this tragedy. I have personally witnessed racially diverse staff members being treated with a complete lack of respect despite their incredible efforts to educate the children. Many highly qualified teachers (including me) have moved on and as a result the children have lost their connection with educators who have high expectations for their success.

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