Today 18 Detroit Public Schools closed for the day as their teachers went to Lansing to protest the Nerd’s announcement of his latest plan to destroy public education in the city. The city’s public schools, after decades of constant attack from politicians and school reformers finally had enough and went to Lansing to let Snyder know they’re not interested in his agenda. The “plan for Detroit schools” is part of Snyder’s political strategy for a possible run to the White House.
Republicans wasted no time spinning the teacher strike, claiming it was the teachers and their union putting politics over children. A common dog whistle of school reformers is they’re turning public schools into for-profit corporations “for the children.” Thanks to Richard McLellan and his scribbled notes from 25 years ago, we now know the destruction of public schools in Detroit has been calculated and deliberate politically fueled plan by the state.
State House Speaker Kevin Cotter was quick to fire off a statement describing Detroit Public Schools’ teachers as “irresponsible” “careless” and “selfish”.
“Today’s careless political maneuvering by the Detroit Federation of Teachers is another example of the selfish attitude that has put the demands of adults above the needs of Detroit’s kids for decades. I am disgusted to see teachers from eighteen schools abandon their kids and their responsibilities. Every time the union acts, the kids in Detroit fall even further behind, including the thousands who will receive no education today.
What irresponsible teachers! They’re only concerned about increased class sizes, decreased funding, fewer support staff, and the outrageous weeks and weeks of high-stakes standardized testing now inflicted on Detroit’s school children. According to Cotter however, they went to Lansing because they wanted a day off.
“Their failed approach has led to empty schools, falling test scores and a mismanaged school district on the brink of collapse. I look forward to the discussion that will be started later this afternoon on how responsible adults can come together and fix the problems created by the so-called educators who chose to take the day off.”
Naturally, these empty schools have nothing to do with the city’s Lansing-inflicted crippling poverty and the Republican push to open for-profit charter schools in the city. The school district’s been under emergency management for 6 years, 5 of those years with the enhanced Nerd model of emergency managers. According to Cotter and the rest of the school reform echo-chamber, it’s the union’s fault the state has corked up revenue for the public school, and most recently shunted money out of Detroit’s education funds to pay for a new Wings Stadium. As for kids missing another day in class, they’re missing far more class time with the weeks and weeks of standardized testing they’re forced to endure for the state.
Funny how the people who are responsible for the state of public education in Detroit and Michigan are the ones crying foul that some teachers decided to demonstrate their disgust and resistance to yet more reforms that will only make things worse for Detroit Public Schools. Pay attention to this, because Detroit isn’t the only school district that will be suffering from the Nerd’s DeVos-fueled passion to drive another coffin nail into Michigan’s public schools. We need to support the teachers of Detroit Public Schools, and the uphill battle they’re fighting for their schools and for the children of Detroit.