Monday, January 22, 2007

Eliminate The School Boards Now by Akindele Akinyemi


I am in favor of eliminating not just the urban local school boards but eliminating urban school boards all across the spectrum. The reason? School boards are an aberration, an anachronism, an educational sinkhole that deprives children and parents what they need. It is nothing more than a political springboard for higher office.
Originally, what most people do not know is the fact that early on in the 20th century school boards generally had one duty and that was finding teachers. However, in the 21st century school board members are asked to serve on committees that include budget and finance, buildings and construction, policy, technology, negotiations and personnel. Here in Detroit the Black grassroots along with the Detroit NAACP wanted to restore the vote to a traditional school board in 2005. They forgot to add in how Detroit is 47% functionally illiterate and therefore voters are apathetic. The result? Qualified board candidates are harder than ever to find.
In most urban districts across Michigan school boards are as they now exist too often are composed of unskilled, unprepared people elected by a tiny turnout of voters, and that they handicap the students they're supposed to help.
According to the New England School Development Council Bad school boards (like the ones we see in the hood) -- those in constant conflict, with members who meddle in minutiae and don't communicate well with each other -- have districts with lower test scores, fewer kids going to college and more dropouts.
Sounds like Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Benton Harbor, Inkster, Ecorse, River Rouge and Hamtramck? All are liberal Democratic Strongholds.
Those results are supported by a groundbreaking study conducted by the Iowa Association of School Boards. That research confirmed that school districts with large numbers of low-achieving students usually are led by boards with lesser skills of their own. The Iowa researchers looked at districts with high and low state test scores, and controlled for outside factors such as poverty.
Researchers cite several reasons for the public's lack of confidence in board members, including the following:
Single-issue board members. These are residents who serve on the board because they have a score to settle.
Micromanaging. There are many people who serve on school boards like to be administrators. They want to hire and fire the football coach and make decisions about textbooks.
Special interest interference. Interest groups, including teachers, religious groups, taxpayer organizations and businesses frequently sponsor urban board candidates and expect quick payback.
Lack of diversity. Nationwide, school board members are largely homogeneous, but in Michigan even more so.

According to a Michigan School Boards Association study, fewer than 1 percent of the state's board members come from a racial or ethnic minority group of any kind. Nine percent list their religion as something other than Protestant or Catholic. And school boards usually don't include members who are low-income.
Options?
1. Consolidate School Boards like Detroit Public Schools under Wayne RESA.
2. Establish Educational Empowerment Zones in Urban Depressed Areas.
3. Look into pushing for Educational Economic Precincts.
4. Breaking the cap off charter schools in Michigan.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find your position on local school governance inaccurate and disturbing. Before taking such positions one should at least have an accurate historical foundation from which to couch an argument. In addition, the subject of education is one that requires a combination of morals, ethics and conciseness none of which is seen in your information. While I do intend on responding at greater length in the near future, I feel compelled to point out a few facts I don’t believe you to be aware of.

First, before you can condemn the concept and effectiveness of local school board governance you must first take into consideration the surrounding examples of school boards that operate within the same construct as Detroit Public Schools and are successful. Of course when doing this the significance of race becomes central, and makes a series of other racial questions necessary??

Your statements lack overall morality, ethics and conciseness, because how do you advocate removing the cap on charter schools in essence allowing for more to be created when the current charter system with only a few exceptions are failing to educate their students? You are asking for Detroit children and their parents to literally “jump out of the frying pan and into an unknown fire.”

I find your political slant to be in bad taste, especially when you seemingly leave out Oakland country, the largest Conservative REPUBLICIAN stronghold in the country. I believe it was James Redmond who was convicted of stealing and or misappropriating more local school funds than any of the Detroit Boards. I realize how you may have missed this very relevant fact given the low amount of attention given by the local media. Seems only the failing of Black School Boards makes the local news?????????

Overall I find it sad that a Black man in 2007 would make statements such as yours and without reservation seemingly blame the Black residence of Detroit for the condition of the schools board and or city in general. While all people must accept a certain level of responsibility for his or her own position in life. There are studies upon studies, volumes of book that support the position that much of the situations of Blacks in Detroit and across the country are the result of factors beyond their control! Racism abounds in the United Sates and the White power structure allows nothing to exist that is even remotely a threat to that structure and its power. The greatest threat has always been the educated Black mind, thus the attacks on education throughout the history of this hypocratic democratic experiment! The real tragedy is not that this system still effectively continues its attacks on Blacks in education, economics, and society in general. The real tragedy is that it has fooled Black men such as yourself into thinking he’s not being attacked at all…….


Dr. Jeff Robinson
African American & African Studies
Michigan State University
robin119@msu.edu

akindele akinyemi said...

Thank You doctor for responding to my statements.

You said:

I find your position on local school governance inaccurate and disturbing. Before taking such positions one should at least have an accurate historical foundation from which to couch an argument. In addition, the subject of education is one that requires a combination of morals, ethics and conciseness none of which is seen in your information. While I do intend on responding at greater length in the near future, I feel compelled to point out a few facts I don’t believe you to be aware of.


My points are based on surveys and fact finding committess I have put together over a two year period. You will find that many people will support my notion of educational reform not continuing a cycle that has decimated our educational community.

You also said:


First, before you can condemn the concept and effectiveness of local school board governance you must first take into consideration the surrounding examples of school boards that operate within the same construct as Detroit Public Schools and are successful.

You will find that the school boards you are speaking of have a residential population on average between 25,000-75,000 residents in a particular city. I have yet to find a major city like Detroit with a population over 200,000 residents where the school system is ran smoothly.

You then said:

Your statements lack overall morality, ethics and conciseness, because how do you advocate removing the cap on charter schools in essence allowing for more to be created when the current charter system with only a few exceptions are failing to educate their students? You are asking for Detroit children and their parents to literally “jump out of the frying pan and into an unknown fire.”

Charter schools are not an unknown fire because they have been around for a decade now. It is virutally silly to think that charters are a mere experiment when there are waiting lists all over the state to get inside these charter schools.

You said:

Overall I find it sad that a Black man in 2007 would make statements such as yours and without reservation seemingly blame the Black residence of Detroit for the condition of the schools board and or city in general.

Yes I do. Who is in charge of the school district? Black people are white people?

There are studies upon studies, volumes of book that support the position that much of the situations of Blacks in Detroit and across the country are the result of factors beyond their control!

Factors such as what? When the sun stes at night who is responsible for setting the record stright? US.

The greatest threat has always been the educated Black mind, thus the attacks on education throughout the history of this hypocratic democratic experiment! The real tragedy is not that this system still effectively continues its attacks on Blacks in education, economics, and society in general. The real tragedy is that it has fooled Black men such as yourself into thinking he’s not being attacked at all…….

That is a wonderful ending and I can respect your words. However, I am not living in darkness like those who support a failing school district. I am calling on new innovations and pushing for more options for our children. Not trying to suagr-coat the tragedy of DPS.

Dick Gozenya said...

I GUESS HE TOLD YOU ASS....MR.A? ....LOL

Afrknsci said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHeedxW9gbM

Anonymous said...

Hello again, basing your information on fact finding surveys is fine but that does not make the information from those surveys CORRECT! There were lots of people who supported Adolph Hitler that did not make him and his causes correct. There are many people who supported Jim Crow racism and that did not make that social policy correct. Liberal or Conservative we live in a Democracy and unless you are more far gone than I currently suspect, laws and social policy are supposed to be created for the people (majority) and by the people not a selected few??

Since when does living in a large urban population mean that you should be subject to inferior education? If you are able to comprehend?? Please take your population information and proportionally compare it to areas where successful education is being delivered to students. You will find that proportionally the numbers support my original position. In larger areas where whites are the majority of the district, the education received is better delivered and managed by those districts. “Smoothly” is a relative word interpreted differently depending on who you talk to? It is my hope that no one responsible for education obtains information from you! Your data is flawed at best!

Again I find it funny how you leave out the fact that charter schools are not educating the students who attend them? Unfortunately the majority of parents are not properly informed on education and the constructs that are beneficial to their children. The fact that you have large waiting list for these charter schools is more than likely representative of this fact. Those parents don’t know any better. A more appropriate indicator would be the large amount of parents who remove their children from charter schools every year because they realize that the majority of charter schools are big “smoke screens”. They make lots of promises they don’t keep! Since you are into “REPORTS” and surveys, I invite you to research those done by Michigan State University as well as the University of Michigan (there are many!) on the ineffectiveness and overall disappointment by the majority of parents in Michigan who enrolled their children in charter schools. Every year conveniently for charter schools after the state count (another issue entirely), hundreds of children return to DPS from charter schools. A shining example would the recent expulsion of the Edison Project from the Inkster public school system. They literally spent millions on a charter school model that left children in that district worst off than before Edison arrived!! Again I say until you and any one else can show me some comprehensive studies that prove the majority of students are better educated than in the public system charters are an “Unknown Fire”. Look in today’s news paper and notice (remember proportionately) the scores of public school children as compared to charter on the MEAP Test the results are clear. For most of us anyway?

In as much as you continue to blame Blacks for their own problems you in essence contribute to what Carter G Woodson termed the “Mis-Education of the Negro”. You are seriously disturbed if you believe that racism (structural and social) has not and is still very prevalent in negatively impacting the lives of Black people today? Any people who have been failed by the educational system as well as economic, and social welfare system are bound to be inadequately prepared to manage government if forced to do so as was the case with Blacks when racism and the desire to be segregated from Blacks served as the cause of the white flight that crippled Detroit and the very social service entities we speak of (i.e. Education, city government, tax structure). How you continue to ignore these important factors and promote yourself as a person that is concerned with the condition of his people is beyond me?? You are completely right we are responsible for setting the record straight which is why I am publicly refuting the misinformation your spewing, so maybe those who have the unfortunate mishap of stumbling across your blog can leave with some accurate information, not some pre-packaged white propaganda like that found on your site!

As for living in darkness my friend it is you that truly needs some light shined on him! Please do not claim to be an educated brotha with opinions based on no more than the surveys YOU conduct and “those people" you say would support your position. I am the first to support your right to your opinion, but I do not and can not condone you and anyone else misrepresenting and ultimately disrespecting the heritage and relevant history of African American peoples here and throughout the Diaspora. The United States has and continues to disenfranchise, discriminate, and attempt to eliminate Black people, please wake up and begin to defend whether than support the destruction of your people.


Dr. Robinson

akindele akinyemi said...

I will concentrate on the follwing points:

Again I find it funny how you leave out the fact that charter schools are not educating the students who attend them?

And you are basing this on what? I have worked in charters for over 6 years.

Unfortunately the majority of parents are not properly informed on education and the constructs that are beneficial to their children. The fact that you have large waiting list for these charter schools is more than likely representative of this fact. Those parents don’t know any better.

They know. It's simple logic. DPS is a mess so I will try a better alternative.

A more appropriate indicator would be the large amount of parents who remove their children from charter schools every year because they realize that the majority of charter schools are big “smoke screens”. They make lots of promises they don’t keep!

Yes, I can say the same about traditional public school districts like DPS. They too make promises but no avail.

I am not ignorant on this subject. I know there are charters that do not work. However, there are many that work that are never given any credit.


Since you are into “REPORTS” and surveys, I invite you to research those done by Michigan State University as well as the University of Michigan (there are many!) on the ineffectiveness and overall disappointment by the majority of parents in Michigan who enrolled their children in charter schools.

Again, if they are a disappointment why the large waiting lists? Parents don't know? Come better than that. That McPherson Commission Report that the Governor keeps harping on is inaccuarate as well. The Governor thinks INCREASING money for public schools is the SOLUTION when its not.

MOST charters offer smaller classroom sizes. Why is it taking DPS so long to figure out how to reduce classroom size?

MOST charters offer one on one attention. DPS do not in many cases.



Every year conveniently for charter schools after the state count (another issue entirely), hundreds of children return to DPS from charter schools.

Education is a business my friend. Why are you so suprised?


A shining example would the recent expulsion of the Edison Project from the Inkster public school system. They literally spent millions on a charter school model that left children in that district worst off than before Edison arrived!!

I worked for edison schools. A joke. Your point? Again, I know the good from the ugly but you cannot pay me to send my child to DPS.

Again I say until you and any one else can show me some comprehensive studies that prove the majority of students are better educated than in the public system charters are an “Unknown Fire”. Look in today’s news paper and notice (remember proportionately) the scores of public school children as compared to charter on the MEAP Test the results are clear. For most of us anyway?

Does the MEAP measure the success of a school? How many schools are not meeting AYP in DPS alone? And since people like to harp on the fact that charters do not have certified teachers how come 98% of the charters in Michigan are certified?

You must think that DPS is going to fix itself. It is permanently broken. If there were no charters DPS would STILL lose students to private schools or move out of the city altogether.


You also said:

You are seriously disturbed if you believe that racism (structural and social) has not and is still very prevalent in negatively impacting the lives of Black people today?

I never said racism did not exist. However, I do not use it as an excuse for NOT succeeding.


Any people who have been failed by the educational system as well as economic, and social welfare system are bound to be inadequately prepared to manage government if forced to do so as was the case with Blacks when racism and the desire to be segregated from Blacks served as the cause of the white flight that crippled Detroit and the very social service entities we speak of (i.e. Education, city government, tax structure).

White flight crippled Detroit? Are you saying that Blacks cannot run the city without the aid of Whites?


You are completely right we are responsible for setting the record straight which is why I am publicly refuting the misinformation your spewing, so maybe those who have the unfortunate mishap of stumbling across your blog can leave with some accurate information, not some pre-packaged white propaganda like that found on your site!

You have not provided ANY accurate information. You have produced a liberal slant on education which is what I would suspect someone from Michigan State University. This is the same University that has targeted charters (along with Western Mcihigan) to fail with their false, baseless reports. Yet, your colleagues cannot produce one single document on how to fix this school system.



As for living in darkness my friend it is you that truly needs some light shined on him! Please do not claim to be an educated brotha with opinions based on no more than the surveys YOU conduct and “those people" you say would support your position.

The surveys were one SOURCE of information. I PHYSICALLY WORK in a charter and unlike your Governor, MSU or YOURSELF I know the inner workings, potentials and failures of charters. So interms of me being educated that I am.

The United States has and continues to disenfranchise, discriminate, and attempt to eliminate Black people, please wake up and begin to defend whether than support the destruction of your people.

Yes, this is factual but what about the fact of how we are doing this to ourselves not the United States and if you blame government for our mishaps today when our people can rap but cannot pass a English class, live in poverty but find someway to buy $125 shoes on their feet and have bad credit but driving Lincoln Navigators then you are out of touch with reality.

Maybe we should put down that liberal rhetoric that has done nothing but made us angry and stressed and deal with issues from a conservative perspective.