Monday, May 14, 2007

Mayor Kilpatrick's Plan? 25 Charter Schools by Akindele Akinyemi

I see that Mayor Kilpatrick is proposing to open 25 charter schools in Detroit. That is great news. Parents, educators and community leaders should all embrace this idea without fuss.

I have been saying all along that charters would be a key solution in re-populating Detroit. When you ask families who are moving out of the city why they are moving they tell you because of the educational system. After all, Detroit Public Schools have failed our children for decades and now we are trapped in an epidemic with 47% of the population cannot read, write or comprehend information. It's no wonder we keep voting in the same pattern like ducks in the water.

Charter schools would help build competition with traditional schools here in Detroit. Young adults who have educational experience would have a greater opportunity to move up in educational leadership at rapid speed as compared to waiting in DPS for an administrative position forever.

But, we have a very long way to go. This is not a victory.

Mayor Kilpatrick must convince Gov. Granholm and the Legislature to raise the cap off charter schools. Had Dick DeVos become Governor last November this conversation on charters would be mute. It would e mute because DeVos would have raised the cap immediately.We would be talking about vouchers, universal tax credits and alternative teacher certification programs to install in Michigan.

The charter debate will be met either with open arms or fierce opposition from the MEA. Watch for the teacher unions to unite like Voltron to stop educational choices for children. Also watch House Speaker Andy Dillion to do something sneaky like expedite cutting funding from charters. Already Rep. Tim Melton, who is head of the House Education Committee, is against charter schools. However, Pontiac is flooded with charters so perhaps we need to run a candidate who is pro-charter in 2008 for State Representative in District 29.

This network, through our One Choice PAC, will NOT endorse, support or even look at ANY candidate that is anti-charter school or anti-educational choice next year for state or county races. That discussion is clearly off the table. We are promoting educational options for our families and it is time that we supported candidates who supported educational options. Any elected official who is against educational choices like charter school will be targeted. Any organization that is against charter schools will be targeted.

The advent of 25 charter schools to help revitalize Detroit would be in the framework of building urban regional networks. Perhaps it is time to expand that network out to Detroit, Pontiac and Flint.

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