Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Trapped Mind by Akindele Akinyemi

The Detroit News is reporting this morning of how Detroit Public Schools' board members and the teachers union said Tuesday that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's plan to open 25 charter schools in the city would threaten the struggling school system's efforts to improve achievement and stabilize finances.

The News is also reporting how the mayor also could see opposition from Detroit residents, who rejected Kilpatrick's efforts to gain some control of the public school system, as well as legislators who are leery of adding charter schools without more checks and balances.

To go to show you how ignorant legislators are in Lansing on the issue of charter schools let me put somethings in perspective.

1. Charter Schools have to use an authorizer to even operate. DPS do not need an authorizer.

2. By state and federal law, Michigan’s charter public school teachers must be and are certified. Charter teachers are quality teachers, as evidenced by the academic success of their students and as determined by parent choice. There are many teachers who are uncertified in DPS and take the "back door approach."

3. Charters DO provide special education services. It’s the law. About 9% of charter students have special needs; some schools have rates topping 30%.

How in the hell are you elected to the state House or State Senate and do not know the difference between charters and traditional schools? These people who sit in these Educational committees should be ousted.

But here is the comment that bothers me when I read the paper:

"The mayor also could see opposition from Detroit residents"

Well here is why the residents might reject this:

In Michigan, eighteen (18%) percent of adults, nearly one of five are functionally illiterate.

Michigan ranks 28th, among the states in the percentage of literate adults and ranks 40th among the 50 states in postsecondary education.

The 1990 and the 2000 census states, the City of Detroit has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the United States, with forty-seven percent (47%) of its population, nearly one out of two, scoring at literacy proficiency level one. And, that those citizens need the availability of adult education and training programs because they lack a high school diploma or GED credentials and/or cannot speak English. This problem is just as serious in other counties and cities in Michigan as well.

The area hardest hit for adult education and training funding has been in Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Metropolitan area where the number of African American and Hispanics who are high school dropouts, are astronomical. New immigrant populations continue to grow at a rapid pace and strain funding resources for adult education and training programs as well.

If you ass is illiterate to begin with it is easier to control your constituents as well as play on their fears. This is how liberal policies have been enforced in Detroit for decades. The powers that be never want to see the illiteracy rate decrease in the city because those in power would lose control.

And then look at this statement:

The expansion of charters will hurt the district," said school board President Jimmy Womack. "And charter schools don't have a track record when it comes to academic achievement to date."

Where has Jimmy Womack been all this time? This below is a track record Jimmy pal:

Detroit is home to 44 charters, including 21 high schools. They exceeded the local traditional district on 24 of 27 MEAP tests this year, up from 20 in 2005-06. Charters tied on two other tests and were within 1 point on the last exam.

Statewide, charter public schools exceeded the average scores of their host districts* on 23 of 27 tests — compared to 19 last year.

Detroit Edison Public School Academy is the only Detroit school to receive a Michigan Department of Education 2006-07 Blue Ribbon for outstanding improvement strategies and delivering quality education. Further, DEPSA and David Ellis Academy were the only city schools (including traditionals) to receive two Skillman Foundation Good Schools grants last year, totaling $100,000 each.

During the past two years, the Skillman Foundation has recognized excellence among the city’s charters by awarding 14 Good Schools grants to them.

Nine Detroit charter schools — and 18 in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties — are “beating the odds,” using a state standard that requires at least 50% of students to qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch and at least 60% proficiency in math and English language arts on the MEAP. The Detroit charters are MLK Jr. Educational Center, Winans Academy of Performing Arts, YMCA Service Learning Academy, DEPSA, Plymouth Educational Center, Detroit Merit Charter Academy, University Preparatory Academy, Warrendale Charter Academy and Old Redford Academy.

University Preparatory Academy in Detroit sends 90% of its graduates to college.

The school board president is supposed to have a medical degree. Even he knows the way things have been going on in DPS that the school system is sick and needs a doctor.

Take look at what the Interm Superintendent has said:

DPS Interim Superintendent Lamont Satchel said his schools have a better track record than charters. "The Detroit Public Schools system remains the best educational option for children in this city," Satchel said in a release. "We offer a richer variety of academic and extracurricular programs than both charter schools and neighboring public school systems. Above all, we vastly outperform charter schools in the city on standardized examinations."

I cannot allow such ignorance to supersede intelligence. The facts:

Charter public schools in Detroit exceed the local district on 24 of 27 tests - up from 20 last year.

They tie on two additional tests and are within 1 point on the remaining exam.

Fifty charters - 42% of the 120 that took all 27 K-8 tests and had classes large enough to record scores - exceed the state average on 10 or more tests. More than half beat the state score on at least 20 tests.

The News is also reporting the following:

The mayor's plan to expand charter offerings could be seen as an about-face, signaling a renewed sense of urgency that the city's educational system desperately needs to improve.

This man understands WHY people are leaving Detroit. I have been saying all along..add more charters in Detroit. Young adults should go into educational entrepreneurship to give back to their community. If we keep relying on DPS we will have not even 500,000 residents in the next 5 years.

Virginia Cantrell, president of the teachers union, said she would like the mayor to throw more support toward traditional public schools, and she opposes any effort to put charter school students in former DPS buildings.

Ms. Cantrell is out of touch with reality. Who the hell wants to go to school with a police presence? It reminds us of the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas during the Civil Rights Movement in 1957 when the National Guard escorted the children to Little Rock High School. School is supposed to be safe and sound. Yet, DPS does nothing to stop the increasing violence in the schools. Most are made up of poverty-stricken people who have embraced a ghetto lifestyle.

We do not need the teacher unions anymore. It is a form of laziness and slavery on the highest levels.

Rep . Steve Tobocman said the following:

"What I would like to see in any proposal that deals with charter school law is to strengthen the accountability."

Maybe Rep. Tobocman should contact the National Charter School Institute, MAPSA or any other authorizing agency that charter schools for accountability before he makes statements like this.

Read what this lady had to say:

"If the mayor is having a problem adding and subtracting and taking care of his credit card, why would he want to run charter schools?" said Detroit resident Saneetha Satterwhite, 59, who has a grandson in a Detroit public school. The mayor has been criticized for charges on his city-issued credit card.

The Mayor, for one thing, has a background in education. Second he has a law degree. Third, he is not trying to run the charter schools.

Again, illiteracy runs deep in our community and the powers that be keeps us shackled and enslaved on this plantation. These are the same parents who complain about fixing DPS but never show up at any damn LSCO meetings to improve DPS, drop their children off so they can go home, collect a welfare check, and watch soap operas all afternoon when they can be in the classroom checking on their bad ass kids, and when they talk about closing schools down (which they should and re-open those schools as either private or charters) they come down to school board meetings and throw grapes at professional school board members.

The bottom line is this. We should not cater to ghetto behavior or come down to their level. If your ass is poor I wonder why? If you do not like DPS but do not like charters then homeschool your child. Damn, I forgot, it takes someone with intelligence to do this and 47% of us in this city cannot homeschool our children because of intergenerational illiteracy that plagues our community. It's no wonder that people do not understand charters. Charters represent freedom while DPS represents slavery.

Let the Mayor do his job and bring in these 25 charters schools to the city. If this does not happen then Detroit will be stuck on permanent neurosis and we will never be free from bondage.

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