Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus Must Take Action Someday, Somehow by Akindele Akinyemi
I have been visiting with our state legislators from Detroit for quite some time. They know when I am coming. The skies turn dark.
Ok, I am stretching the truth a little bit.
However, when I begin my legislative visits to Lansing next month I will be picking the brains of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Especially the Detroit delegation.
My main focus: educational options in urban communities.
I know the head of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, State Representative Brenda Clack, will not support educational choice. She taught in Flint Community Schools for 32 years and was unionized.
I know State Senator Irma Clark-Coleman will not support it. She is calling for the destruction of charter schools as we speak.
I know State Senator Martha G. Scott will not support educational choices. She would rather support a failing school district like Highland Park.
But I am hoping the young people in the Black Caucus will hear what me and my colleagues have to say.
Most of them I know already. Not only I have worked on their campaigns some of them I have known for a long time. They know my political affiliation. They know I am calling for changes in the school system by breaking the cap off charter schools to create more options for parents.
I would like to share with my young colleagues that supporting an option within the Detroit Public School System is a waste of total time. I am asking that they take a look at the research MAPSA and BAEO has conducted to get a real picture of charters and other options. Take a look at the research what Central Michigan University has done and then consult with people like myself who works in a charter school to get a real picture of what charters can offer.
I am not convinced as a whole body that the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus will come to the table with new ideas. I am also not convinced that the Detroit Delegation will bring about new change for some of the people that were either elected or re-elected to both the House and Senate should not be in Lansing to begin with. If they are really serious about change we should be talking about designing Educational Empowerment Zones and Regionalism. If our Detroit Delegation is serious about changing education then we should be talking about fast track alternative teacher certification methods, reducing wasteful spending that the city conducts and privatizing.
If the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus is serious about change then they will not have any problems working with a Black Republican like myself who is serious about reformation from a regional standpoint. Instead of isolating yourself to your Detroit colleagues we need to talk about networking with Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County State Representatives and Senators. Detroit State Reps should be networking with Ecorse, Inkster and River Rouge reps.
I mean hell, I cannot figure out why in the past that this caucus has not been far more superior and productive with a statewide base. Now, we have lost a Black Rep in Pontiac, A Black Rep in Saginaw and a Black Rep In Lansing. So the network is getting smaller and the power base is shrinking. Who is going to save them? The NAACP?
Of course, this is too much like right. They will go along with the MEA and other unions that supported them in their campaigns. There is no excuse with 52 schools that are closing in Detroit that the MBLC is not on board with breaking the cap off charters in Detroit.
The Black Conservatives in this caucus MUST stand up to the pressure and take the unpopular decisions. This is REAL leadership not voting lockstep with your colleagues that are taking your district to hell.
It will be a cold day in hell before anything like this occurs. We shall see who is serous about reformation, building political balance, educational choice, and regionalization.
If I was a betting man, this caucus will be like the others. Lots of talk with no action.