Notes on Detroit Public Schools

Weekly reader responses

Jul 23, 2014 at 1:31 am
Notes on Detroit Public Schools
Courtesy illustration.

In reply to a guest opinion piece by Dr. Thomas C. Pedroni (“Starving our schools,” July 15), “Ed” posted:

Excellent, excellent, excellent. Thank you Dr. Pedroni for this information.

And “Bob Beans” posted:

There is one problem that is being overlooked, and that is the controlled failure of DPS. By now, I would think that everyone knows the overall goal of the emergency manager law was to get rid of unions. As far as EMs and DPS goes, the EM is there for one purpose: to serve the governor. He is not there to serve the students, community, or even DPS. It is a great gig: collect a huge paycheck, bring in all your buddies, slash teacher pay and benefits, divert funds away from the classroom. Do all this and watch good teachers struggle, students fail, and parents lose hope. This all justifies the overall goal, which is to bring in charters or put the schools under the EAA. Sell those two things as being a better alternative, as if they do anything different than the public schools. … Oh, wait, they do: They pay teachers even less, they put public tax dollars into private for-profit hands, and take even more control away from the local communities. I consider it an insult whenever someone brings up the idea that the government has the children’s best interests at heart. This is obviously not true — all one has to do is look at the EAA and listen to the teachers there. I’ll grant you that fixing education in Detroit is a very difficult job and requires a much-needed change in community values when it comes to said education. But it’s a shame to see the government take advantage of that fact in order to privatize education in the name of for-profit entities — and the nerve they have to try to sell it as some kind of solution to anything. That is like a robber justifying why he stole your TV by saying that he took it because you weren’t using it and the judge saying that it was OK. People in Michigan need to wise up.

A commenter named “Linda” posted:

Thank you Dr. Pedroni. At one time, Michigan was a shining example of the power of people who toiled to make the nation great. Now, the state is an example of the divine right of kings, about which Abraham Lincoln warned the nation. Public education is under attack from conservative hedge fund owners labeling themselves “Democrats for Education Reform” and conservative tech moguls pushing expensive international curriculum and testing.
The American Federation of Teachers stood up for the postal workers and they won. Now, if the Michigan voters would stand up and vote pro-union, the East Coast money guys can be sent packing. The financial sector is a net drain on the United States’ economy and their managers shouldn’t be allowed to exact further damage on small businesses and education.

In response to Larry Gabriel’s Higher Ground column (“Cops against the drug war,” July 15), “Mike Smithson” posted:

Neil Franklin brings the entire argument around to the issue of Prohibition. If we can never be drug-free — and I challenge anyone who thinks that is possible — then we have a choice as to who should be in charge of the manufacturing and distribution of these commodities. Should it be a) drug cartels and organized crime or b) public health officials and some form of government entity? That’s all you have. Make a choice. If you support continuing with prohibition, know that the drug kingpins and cartels are toasting you in Mexico, Honduras, Afghanistan, and Colombia.