Thursday, June 26, 2008


The Detroit Public Schools are, by any measure, an absolute trainwreck. Now I don't have much of a dog in this fight since I don't live in Detroit itself and my kids are homeschooled. But my tax dollars probably trickle over to DPS somehow, and I end up paying to incarcerate a large number of former DPS students in Wayne County, so I sorta have a say.

The DPS system is facing a huge budget shortfall. Thanks to school choice, parents have the opportunity to yank their kids out of the schools and put them in charter schools. Since funding is based on enrollment, their revenue has been going down but oddly it seems that their expenses are going up. Hmm. Part of the problem seems to be the teacher's union which is more interested in preserving jobs than educating kids (and more teachers doesn't equate to better education, FYI).

Of course the teachers union is being realistic that with revenue going down, expenses have to be cut. I mean they are educators, right? Wrong. The union predictably is pitching a fit. How dare the taxpayers not keep pouring money into a failed system!

Union rally to precede DPS board meeting Thursday

Violence, layoff notices among issues

A rally to protest layoffs and poor conditions in Detroit Public Schools is planned to take place before Thursday’s school board meeting, according to a notice released by a union today.

The rally is being organized by the Detroit Federation of Teachers union that represents 5,900 teachers and about 2,000 other workers such as counselors and school social workers.

The union is protesting oversized classes, violence in schools, lack of adequate books and supplies, and poor building maintenance and is demanding that DPS rescind layoff notices, among other issues.

So the union proposes saving money Bueller? Oh wait, they don't have a proposal. The Detroit Federation of Teachers has this to say regarding their demands and the reason they are rallying...

· Rescind all layoffs immediately – hire teachers and support staff!
· And reduce class size to achieve real school reform!
· Oversized Classes!
· Teacher Assaults!
· Violence in Schools and on School Grounds!
· Theft of Cars!
· Restore Art, Music, Science, Gym and other essential programs in all schools!
· Security!
· Reconstituting, Redesign, Restructuring!
· Equal, quality schools for all Detroit students!
· Lack of Books/Supplies in every classroom!
· Lack of Support Services!
· Lack of Substitute Services!
· Maintenance of Buildings!
· Defend public education – no privitazation and no charter schools!

Virginia Cantrell, President, Detroit Federation of Teachers

Oh, OK. Where is the extra money coming from again? I see lots of spending here, but Virginia the issue is a budget shortfall, not a budget surplus. I would think that a professional educator would know the difference. I love the "Restore Art, Music, Science, Gym and other essential programs in all schools!". These kids can't read or write, but Art class is an essential?

The system is broken. Hiring more teachers is not only fiscally impossible but not a solution. The problems are so deeply ingrained that only a wholesale do-over makes sense. How do you fix a car that is broken down on the side of the road, and on fire to boot? You don't try to put the fire out with dollar bills, that is for sure.


Anonymous said...

Detroit Teachers make 1% more than they did 5 years ago. Class sizes are higher than in the suburbs. The union is not greedy or wrong in demanding that Detroit students get the same class size and course selection as suburban students. The district doesn't need more money to do this. They need to cut admionistrative jobs.

Arthur Sido said...

Agreed, administrative jobs should also be cut. So should social workers and psychologists. But with enrollment plummeting and hundreds of unbudgeted teachers on the rolls, the number of teachers needs to be changed. The union refuses to face reality, in fact if you read the agenda they are advocating hiring MORE teachers.

The school system is way past the point of tweaking. Every party, the board, the union, the administration have all been watching out for themselves and no one is watching out for the kids. My sister is a public school teacher and she and many of her co-workers genuinely care about the students but the teachers union seems to believe that the taxpayers should continue pouring money into the failed system that is the Detroit Public School system.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.