Friday, January 4, 2013

The Detroit Public Schools in Exile

My blog today consists simply of posting the writing of a person far more qualified than I am to comment on the ongoing state of affairs in what was formally known as the Detroit Public Schools.  Elena Herrada is an elected member  of the current Detroit School Board and over the past year, I have developed a high opinion of this remarkable person for her relentless efforts on behalf of Detroit schoolchildren and the citizens of Detroit.

The Educational Achievement Authority is a violation of Brown v Kansas. Will we stand idly by?

by Elena Herrada on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:41pm ·
Dear friends;
I was copied on correspondence tonight between the Michigan Dept of Education director Mike Flannigan and Marianne Maguire, outgoing elected state board of education member. I am one of 11 elected board members of the Detroit Public Schools. The Emergency Manager in Detroit is appointed by the governor, who also set up a parallel district called the "Educational Achievement Authority," which mirrors the "Recovery District" in New Orleans. In every way. Detroit is to Michigan what the 9th Ward is to New Orleans. We did not have a hurricane, so the narrative of failure was created. We have been under state control for 8 of the last ten years and the state has bankruptred our District and then taken us over because we are in financial crisis. The same was recently done to the City Council, which is separate from the Detroit School district. There was a hard push on the part of the philanthropic community and non profits, not the least of which were Southwest Solutions and New Detroit, Inc. which would have profited directly if they succeeded in putting the schools under "mayoral control," which is code for corporate control. That failed because the People stopped "mayoral control." Next, the corporate forces took over the city. School board members remain in place, having been elected by the People. However, the State Attorney General, with our own tax dollars, filed a lawsuit against us for being elected. I am not kidding; no judge wants to take this case, so it has been postponed one time after the next. The judges actually say things like " the law may change, so we need to wait and see what happens." ( Judges Murphy, Gillis and next Berry have postponed hearings while waiting .... )
Although the People of Michigan repealed the Emergency Manager law, the EM has remained in place. The governor simply ignored the will of the voters and instead created another Emergency Manager bill that cannot be repealed.
But the important matter here is the long term consequences of this takeover. A new and separate school district which is state wide but with only Detroit in it so far, is a very inferior school district which many students have no choice but to attend. The students have to attend this failing district because of where they live-- in the areas designated for failure. The students are concerned about their future and some have created a "Social Justice League." They intend to be future plaintiffs and not future prisoners, despite the plans being made for them by people like Governor Snyder and Mike Flannigan, who is said to have assured the white districts that their children would not have to attend the Educational Achievement Authority schools; only students in the Black (and Latino) districts will attend the privatized EAA. No union, no standardized tests, Teach for America in droves, for the poorest and most vulnerable students.
If you believe this is a violation of Brown v Kansas, please contact us to add your voice to this important issue. Thank you for reading this, and please feel free to contact our research task force, full of informed and militant supporters of justice for students in Detroit, Benton Harbor, Flint, Muskegon Heights, Highland Park, and wherever students are being pushed into the School to EAA pipeline.
In faith and solidarity,
Elena Herrada
Detroit Public Schools District 2
In Exile

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