This afternoon, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, with no apparent sense of irony or sarcasm, sent out an email titled “An historic night for Michigan”. He was referring to the previous evening when Republicans passed “bailout” legislation for Detroit Public Schools that has inadequate funding for DPS, harms children by putting unqualified, uncertified teachers in their classrooms (illegal in every other classroom in the entire state), and once again attacks the heroic teachers who toil away each day in their struggle to educate Detroit students in working conditions most of us would demand combat pay for. Most galling of all, this legislation was written, amended, and passed without ANY input from Detroit legislators. (My analysis of that hideous legislation is HERE.)
When you click the link in that email, it takes you to a Medium.com post that, if you didn’t know better, would lead you to believe that everything is A-OK in our fine state. That our cities and schools aren’t circling the drain. That Flint residents aren’t being poisoned by their own drinking water. That Detroit schools aren’t falling apart by degrees and the children there aren’t getting what can only be called substandard education. No, according to that page, we are doing GREAT!
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Schools across the state are going broke. Municipalities are having to cut services and raise local taxes (when they can) due to austerity policies enacted by Republicans. Michigan has disinvested in its local municipalities more than any other state. Our middle class is shrinking more than any other state. Our roads, bridges, and tunnels are disintegrating with no end in sight. The list goes on and on.
The night before Gov. Snyder’s “historic night”, actual history was made when Sec. Hillary Clinton secured enough pledged delegates to be the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, the first woman to ever do so in a major political party:
THAT, Gov. Snyder, is what “an historic night” looks like. What you refer is a night that will go down in history as our state’s collective shame. A night when Republicans made it crystal clear that Detroit kids are second class citizens in their own state, not worthy in the minds of the Republican legislators and our Republican governor to receive the same quality education provided by the same quality educators in the same quality facilities as the kids in the rest of the state.
In a sense, it was an historic night. But not in the sense that Gov. Snyder is portraying. And no amount of Happy Happy Joy Joy emails or internet posts will ever change that.