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AUDIO: Father of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law Al Pscholka convinced Rick Snyder is beloved in Detroit

Al Pscholka, Father of the Emergency Manager law, with Gov. Rick Snyder after the bill signing

When Public Act 4, Michigan’s amped-up Emergency Manager law, was signed into law in early 2011, it was immediately put to use in Benton Harbor. It was the first time the new version of the law, which allows the state to impose an unelected person in charge of an entire city and gives them the power to dismiss local elected officials, was used. Benton Harbor was “represented” in the state House by Al Pscholka and, as it turns out, Pscholka was the author of Public Act 4.…

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BREAKING: Terri Lynn Land refuses letter from Detroiters inviting her to spend a day in their polluted community

Last week, residents of the Detroit zip code 48217 held a press conference and invited Terri Lynn Land to spend a day in their community to see the impact of the pollution spewed by her campaign supporters and hold a public forum where they could ask her questions about it.

The also took out a full-page ad in the Michigan Chronicle:


Click for a larger version

One of the residents there also penned an op-ed for the Detroit News:

Pollution from big corporate oil companies is killing me. Due to toxic emissions from the corporate polluters in my community, I suffer from skin burns, hair loss and a toxic white mass on my brain.…
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BREAKING: EAA Board to interview two fired superintendents to lead the Education Achievement Authority

This post has been updated to add details regarding the reason Timothy Chargois was fired as superintendent of Beaumont ISD in Texas.

When John Covington was hired to head up the Education Achievement Authority – Governor Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit kids – he left behind a failed school district in Kansas City. Some Kansas City school board members claimed that Covington, the district’s superintendent at the time, had faked a conflict with the board president in order to renege on his contract. Shortly after he left, Kansas City Public Schools lost their accreditation.

With Covington now gone, resigned in disgrace from the EAA after poor performance of students in the “District for Misfit Schools” and lavish overspending by school administrators, EAA administrators are looking for a new leader.…

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Detroit residents invite Terri Lynn Land to spend a day in the polluted environment her benefactors help create

Yesterday, residents of the Detroit zip code 48217 held a press conference where they invited U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land to spend a day in their community to “enjoy” the polluted environment they live in every day. It’s polluted largely because those supporting Land’s failed candidacy have polluted it; groups like Koch Carbon and Marathon Oil. They want Land to explain her policies that protect these industrial polluters and allow them to get away for despoiling their neighborhoods and challenged her to organize an open forum with residents of the area so she can have a chance to defend her positions.…

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GUEST POST – Manufactured Emergency: The Neoliberal Assault on Michigan

This article is cross-posted from the website of Political Research Associates and appears in PRA’s upcoming Fall, 2014 issue of The Public Eye magazine, a special edition on neoliberalism and the Right. It was written by Jane Slaughter, an American journalist based in Detroit who writes frequently on labor affairs. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Monthly Review, and In These Times.

The term neoliberalism refers to “ideas associated with economic liberalism, which advocates — under reference to neoclassical economic theory — support for great economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, deregulation, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.”

Manufactured Emergency: The Neoliberal Assault on Michigan

Those who want to privatize public services and destroy unions have made some successful incursions into the once union-friendly state.

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Education Achievement Authority apologizes for incredibly deceptive recruitment letters

Interim Education Achievement Authority Chancellor Veronica Conforme is off to a banging start. Just two and a half months after taking over from disgraced John Covington, Conforme oversaw the EAA’s sending out of deceptive letters recruiting students into the state’s district for poor-performing schools. The letters, masquerading as official student assignment notices, went to parents (and some non-parents!) in at least seven districts outside of the EAA. This includes the Detroit Public Schools with whom the EAA has a “Memorandum of Understanding” that prohibits this sort of student poaching from each others districts.

After revelations of the deceptive letters came out over the holiday weekend, Conforme has now apologized for them:

With the new academic year starting today, some parents in Detroit and neighboring suburbs were surprised over the weekend to receive letters saying their child had been assigned to the state reform district for low-performing schools.…
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BREAKING: Education Achievement Authority sending out deceptive letters to poach students from other districts (Updated x3)

After John Covington quit (or was forced out) as Chancellor of Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment with Detroit students — the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) — he was replaced by Veronica Conforme, the former chief operating officer of the New York City Department of Education. However, the ethically questionable behavior of the EAA is continuing under her watch.

This past week, parents of students outside of the EAA have been receiving letters from the EAA. The letters are recruitment letters, trying to bring in more students, but masquerade as official letters informing the parents that their students have been formally assigned to the EAA.…

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Facing massive public outcry Detroit Schools Emergency Manager backs down from draconian cuts & slashing teacher wages

This post has been edited to clarify that the fine arts program at Detroit’s Renaissance High School is being saved.

Just a week after Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin, announced draconian cuts to schools, higher class sizes, a second round of pay cuts for teachers, and the closing of 24 schools, he has changed his mind:

After a public outcry, the Detroit Public Schools is walking back plans to cut teacher pay and boost class sizes.

The district is battling a $127 million deficit, and the Michigan Department of Education approved its revised deficit elimination plan last week.

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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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Democrat Mark Schauer helps Detroit-area resident clean-up after flood. Gov. Snyder decides he’d better do that, too.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all…


Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer breaks down a child’s play set to remove it from a flooded Royal Oak basement, courtesy photo

Yesterday, Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer got his hands (and feet) dirty helping a Royal Oak resident clean up after the epic flood that flooded their basement. From his Facebook page:

We removed everything from the basement (the water damaged every basement on the block), cut and removed the carpet and mopped up.

Not to be outdone, Gov. Snyder today pledged to do the same and to also do it in Royal Oak:

Gov.…
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