Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Detroit May Close Half of Its Schools to Pay for Union Benefits

The Detroit News on Monday suggested that without government aid, the city of Detroit will be forced to close down nearly half of the city’s public schools in the next two years. That would put over 60 under educated students per classroom. It's not all bad new in the Detroit school district. The teachers will be getting yet another raise thanks to all the good work they have done for the students. That's what the teachers unions think, but we know the truth about Detroit public schools and the academic scores.  There is another factor in this mess. The Clintondale school district,my school district, has made it's high school a school of choice for Detroit students. Clintondale schools did this for the extra money they would get from gaining these students. The problem is those students were so low performing that they have been added to the list of schools to be closed because of student performence.  We will see what the suburbs do to bail out Detroit's liberal local government. I think we need to let Detroit fail or succeed on their own. That is the only way they will learn from what they done to themselves.
The Wall Street Journal notes the city’s decaying public school system:
“Additional savings of approximately $12.4 million can be achieved from school closures if the District simply abandons the closed buildings,” the proposal explains, purging costs like boarding up buildings, storage and security patrols.
Steven Wasko, a spokesman for Mr. Bobb, said that urban property sales have been difficult, in part because until recently the state board of education banned transactions with “competing educational institutions” like charter schools. Once buildings are deserted, even if the doors and windows are welded shut with protective metal covers, scavengers break in and dismantle them for copper wire, pipes and so on.
Under the emergency plan, consolidated high-school class sizes would increase to 62 by 2014, “consistent with what students would expect in large university settings.” Yet under the terms of the Detroit Federation of Teachers contract, the district must pay bonuses for class enrollment over 35, thus imposing some $11.1 million in new costs through 2014.
Note that this dispensation carries about the same price tag as the school abandonment windfall: In other words, Detroit may end up destroying serviceable capital assets so it can pay its public workers more over the short term.
Mr. Wasko cautions that the school closure plan is a last resort, and Mr. Bobb has floated other ideas, including a financial restructuring similar to the GM bailout/bankruptcy. Detroit Federation of Teachers president Keith Johnson rejected even that because “The children of Detroit are not consumed products of a profit-driven corporation like a car,” as he wrote in an op-ed this week. Maybe his real objection is that the GM model might allow the district to rationalize its labor liabilities.
The budget gap is party due to the property tax revenue collapse as the Motor City crumbles, as well as financial mismanagement and a surge in pay and benefits for public employees. The Mackinac Center, a state think tank, reports that average Michigan teacher salaries outpaced those of all other states from 2003 to 2009, when adjusted for state per capita income as a proxy for the local ability to pay.
It’s hard to think of a sadder commentary on a government so fiscally desperate and so captured by its workers that it may be forced to abandon property to thieves. But are they the scavengers or the union?                                                                                                                                                              My heart goes out to these kids. I have been working with an inner city youth singing group. It's a group of about 20 kids between the ages of 8 and 12. When we started with these kids they couldn't sit still and many of them couldn't read. And when I say they couldn't read, I don't mean they were slow readers either. These weren't dumb kids by any means. These kids were as bright as any group of kids. 


  1. You really don't get it, do you? That is part of the Republican ideology...eliminate public education altogether...and unions, and Social Security, Medicare, make everyone miserable; that way the corporations will have a cheap labor pool and maximize their profits by making us work harder and take jobs that are undesirable.
    Don't you realize that decimating the middle class is totally unpatriotic and wrong? Also getting into debt to pay for tax advantages for the very rich at the expense of cutting services like education, police, fire...is immoral? and yes, by all means, blame the unions...they are a thorn on the side of the conservatives.
    I know you will not even think about this comment as anything other than coming from a leftie-liberal and you will dismiss it as such...remember that axiom: we humans use selective reasoning and that is perhaps why America is so divided.


  2. Is Detroit a liberal city in your eyes? When was the last time Detroit had a Republican voted in to any office? So how can you blame this on conservatives and Republicans? Are we serving our students by giving the teachers union a raise? Since the unions took over the public school systems has our educatioanl system gotten better or worse in the worlds standing? I have taken a close look at what you have said and I'm wondering why you think the way you do without any proof? Please help me understand by answering these few questions of mine. Thanks.

  3. Trickle Down BS

    Your ideaology is working on Trickle UP Poverty!

    Your ideaology has been in power since 2006 and how has that worked out?

    2008 to 2010 Your ideaology has had ALL the Power and what have they done to Bring OUR Economy back and Create Jobs?

    Your Ideaology went after Social Issues and did NOTHING to Bring back Economy or Create Jobs.Why? Without Strong Economy/Job Creation the Entitlements will FAIL and Then what? Why has YOUR Regime allowed this to happen? Citizens suffering 9.5% unemployment, Millions more have given up looking and Your REGIME has done what? They could have done ANYTHING they wanted to Strenghten OUR Economy and choose NOT to. WHY?

    This Regime your Ideaology choose to Divide Citizens by Ideaology Wealth and Class which do what to inspire OUR citizens to be the BEST they Can Be?

    Since 2008 Your Regime has ADDED 3 Trillion dollars to OUR Unsubstainable DEBT and That will Help HOW?

    Everything this Regime has done to me is of Socialist Ideaology and they do not appear to be in a Hurry to change coarse. European Nations have seen the failure of their Governments,Their Citizens have Rioted and They are changing Direction because the Ideaology were on has FAILED them.

    We as a Nation WILL fail if WE do not correct what has Gotton OUR Economy to this Point SPENDING what we dont have!

    Trickle down BS you want to see the results of Liberal Ideaology go to ant large City in OUR Nation and there it is for YOU and All to See.
    Your Ideaology also has done what to Educate the Poor and give them the Level Playing Field the Deserve to IMPROVE their lot. What exactly has YOUR Ideaology done to correct the Wrongs that the POOR face every day in the Inner Cities. What?

  4. Detroit's literacy is declining compared with other large U.S. cities, according to an annual report.

    Detroit dropped to 56th in 2010, from 51st in 2009, in the study released by Central Connecticut State University. The report ranks the 75 largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States.

    The study focuses on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources.

    Washington, D.C., earned the top spot, knocking Seattle into second place. Minneapolis ranked third and Stockton, Calif., finished at the bottom.

  5. DPS Needs To Go BK18 January, 2011 18:28

    A report from Education Week, a weekly education newspaper, has done a study showing that Detroit’s dropout rate is 75%. However, the bureaucrats at Detroit Public Schools are going ape because they say the numbers are “totally erroneous.” They say that they report a graduation rate of 67% to the state. So who is telling the truth? They both are. The difference is that Michigan school districts are only required to report the graduation rate of current seniors. In other words, they calculate it by taking the number of students who graduate from the 12th grade and dividing it by the number of students who started the 12th grade that year. The Education Week report takes the more realistic approach of taking the number of students who actually graduate from the 12th grade and divide it by the number who started the 9th grade. You see, many of the students who drop out do so before the 12th grade. Detroit Public Schools is misleading the public, as is the state of Michigan, by only reporting graduation rates of 12th graders.

    So, we see that Detroit Public Schools is a failure by every definition of the word, yet they are still in business. Does anyone wonder why the enrollment at charter schools in Detroit is skyrocketing? Tens of thousands of students are stuck in a utter dismal failure of a school district because the cap on charter schools has been reached. Our governor continues to pander to the teachers unions and refuse to support lifting the cap. Meanwhile, another generation of kids is being denied an education, and consequently is comdemned to continue the cycle of poverty, crime, drugs, etc.

    How about Grand Rapids Public Schools? The dropout rate at GRPS is slightly better – 52.8% of GRPS students actually graduate. Even more interestingly, the graduation rate of Godfrey Lee Public Schools (Wyoming) is only 37.8% and 49.1% in Kelloggsville Public Schools.The highest graduation rates in the area are at East Grand Rapids Public Schools (98.1%) and Forest Hills (97.9%). Unfortunately, charter schools are not listed in this report, but we do know that Black River Public School, a charter K-12 school in Holland, is ranked as the #2 school in the entire state by Newsweek.

  6. Where did it say that "Teachers wages and benefits" were to blame for closing all of the proposed cuts?

    I like how you take a serious issue and boil it down till it fits your partisan beliefs and then attack it. This type of discussion shows your not interested in Detroit and its failing schools only advancing your feelings about unions. Too bad because the city and state needs thoughtful people not partisan keyboard warriors to get us out of this mess.


Please keep it clean and nice. Thank you for taking the time to post you thought. It means a lot to me that you do this.