Over the past few months, teachers in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) have had to resort to “sick outs” to get attention to the egregious working and teaching conditions they and their students are being forced to contend with. From black mold, rats, and cockroaches to warped gym floors and, this past week, the threat that they would not be paid for their work because the district is out of money, none of these issues would have been made public without them taking these measures. By law, teachers in Michigan are not allowed to go on strike so sick outs have been their only recourse.…Read more ›
The New Emergency Manager: Woman who got over $100K for school she never opened now imposing CEOs on struggling schools
I’ve been writing lately about the attempt by the Snyder administration to continue the undemocratic takeover of local schools facing financial difficulties without having to use an Emergency Manager. Thanks to the Flint water catastrophe where the residents’ drinking water was contaminated with lead thanks to decisions made by Emergency Managers, that phrase has become (pardon the pun) toxic. As I have written (HERE and HERE), the individual put in charge of taking over the school districts is now called a “CEO”. And the CEO has all sorts of power:
- Assume the financial and academic authority over multiple schools;
- Assume the role of the locally elected school board for those schools they have been assigned;
- Control all funds attributable to pupils at the school without the consent of the locally elected board;
- Permanently close a school without the consent of the locally elected board;
- Sell closed school buildings without the consent of the locally elected board; and
- Convert schools into charter schools without the consent of the locally elected board.
The following essay was written by Mitchell Robinson and is cross-posted on his most-excellent blog at MitchellRobinson.net. Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education, and coordinator of the music student teaching program at Michigan State University. Follow Mitchell on Twitter at @mrobmsu. His essay is reposted here with permission.
A major plank of most education reform agendas is the issue of “school choice.” Reformers claim that school choice gives parents the power to move their children to “better schools,” and gives children a better chance of success. But what if unfettered, unregulated school choice didn’t improve academic achievement, and was really a scam designed to defund poor urban school districts and destabilize public education?…Read more ›
The ultimate expression of running government like a business
Earlier this month, I reported about a new approach being taken by Gov. Rick Snyder when it comes to taking over schools with unelected overseers. Because the term “Emergency Manager” is now a national expletive, he has changed the title to school district “Chief Executive Officer (CEO)”. The first school district to be put under the control of an appointed CEO is East Detroit Public Schools:
It’s not clear under what authorization this is being done. However, given that the CEO “will have jurisdiction over all instructional and financial decisions”, it appears to be an Emergency Manager with a new name, one that avoids the now-toxic “Emergency Manager” moniker.…Read more ›
Running government like a business: Snyder admin. invents another way to take over schools: “School District CEO”
With Emergency Managers now a four-letter word in Michigan, the Snyder administration has come up with a new way to take over public schools without having to invoke the epithet. In their on-going effort to “run government like a business”, they have appointed a “School District Chief Executive Officer (CEO)” for East Detroit Public Schools:
A chief executive officer will soon be named to oversee academics in East Detroit Public Schools after years of chronically low student achievement, state officials said Tuesday. The CEO will have jurisdiction over all instructional and financial decisions of four of the district’s seven schools for the next three years along with the superintendent, according to the State School Reform Office.…Read more ›
The following guest post was written by Amy McKeever, a Pontiac School District teacher and the President of the Pontiac Education Association.
While much attention has been focused on the horrendous condition of Detroit Public School buildings, the health and safety concerns are no less dire in the Pontiac School District, where the majority of buildings are over 50 years old.
On March 8, voters in the Pontiac School District can do something about it — they can vote “Yes” on the Building and Site Sinking Fund millage to provide funding for much needed building repairs, at a cost to the average Pontiac homeowner of less than 40 cents a day — less than forty cents a day to repair buckling floors, water damaged walls and leaking roofs — less than forty cents a day to fix malfunctioning boilers, control erratic classroom temperatures and repair ventilation systems. …Read more ›
Former Flint & Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley will receive over $80K in consulting fees
It’s a good gig if you can get it
Darnell Earley, the disgraced former Emergency Manager for the city of Flint and, more recently, Detroit Public Schools (DPS), will receive $82,862.90 through mid-July to work as a consultant for the school district. Earley resigned his position last month because, according to his jaw dropping assessment, he had rectified the school district’s financial emergency. (I’m not kidding.)
By any objective standard, Darnell Earley has been part of the problems faced by Flint and Detroit schools, not part of the solution. There is a direct line between his exclusive focus on cost cutting and the poisoning of Flint’s drinking water with the powerful, odorless, tasteless, invisible neurotoxin lead.…Read more ›
On Monday of this week, Gov. Rick Snyder formally appointed bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes to be the fifth Emergency Manager for Detroit Public Schools (DPS). DPS got their first Emergency Manager (they were called Emergency Financial Managers back then) in 2009 when Robert Bobb was appointed by former governor Jennifer Granholm. The year before Bobb took over, DPS had a $139.7 million deficit. Today, with four Emergency Managers having come and gone, the district has a $515 million deficit and will be out of money in the next couple of months. In the 17 years in between, DPS has seen no improvement in the education outcomes of its students and the education infrastructure is in far worse shape now than ever before.…Read more ›
Michigan Republicans push Shock Doctrine solution for Detroit schools insolvency in order to destroy public education
It’s no secret that many Republicans in the Michigan legislature want to destroy public education in our state and funnel tax dollars into the coffers of for-profit charter schools. For anyone paying attention, that’s a given.
What is surprising, to me at least, is how brazen they have become.
Detroit Public Schools is on the brink of bankruptcy. According to DPS Treasurer Nick Khouri, they are about to run out of money very, very soon. He also says bankruptcy should be off the table:
The debt owed by Detroit Public Schools is an obligation of the state that lawmakers cannot ignore, Khouri said.…Read more ›
Bowing to immense pressure from faculty, students, employees, education activists, as well as the general public, the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents finally gave notice that it is ending its intralocal agreement with Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit school children known as the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) this afternoon.
The move came after what can only be described as a face-saving move by EAA Chancellor Veronica Conforme who yesterday bizarrely encouraged the Board of Regents to put an end to the organization that employs her and that she has so vociferously defended since she began working there as a consultant under the disgraced former Chancellor John Covington.…Read more ›
UPDATED: EMU faculty passes “no confidence” vote over Board of Regents’ pact with Education Achievement Authority, Republicans say they’re killing it
Over the past couple of months, multiple Colleges in the Eastern Michigan University system have passed resolutions of “No Confidence” in the EMU Board of Regents. These groups include the Colleges of Education, Arts & Science, Technology, and Health & Human Services.
Yesterday, the entire Faculty Senate did the same. You can read their resolution HERE.
In their resolution of “No Confidence”, they specifically call out EMU’s continued association with Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit school children known as the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA only exists at this point because of the intralocal agreement it has with EMU.…Read more ›