Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Ilegal Practices of Detroit Public Schools Are The Reason Why They Are Losing Population by Akindele Akinyemi


One thing I will not negotiate with anyone running for state representative this year is the charter school issue. I have received word for my sources in Lansing that some of our state lawmakers are working behind closed doors to introduce a bill to reclassify the Detroit Public Schools as a so-called first class district. Under present state law a first class district is a school district with 100,000 students or more. State lawmakers are trying to reduce that number to 75,000. Any state lawmaker from Detroit who is working on this issue on behalf of Detroit Federation of Teachers will never, in 100 years, receive any support from my network.


This would be disastrous for parents who are seeking educational options here in the city of Detroit. It would be great to see the Detroit Public Schools dip below 100,000 students and lose $90 million or more in school aid. Detroit Public School is a not designed for children to succeed as a whole in the first place.

I have been to two teacher jobs fairs this past week at Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. The school districts who came from out of state were offering students or people who are changing careers to go into the field of education alternative teacher certification programs. When I went over to the Detroit Public School table the recruiter told me directly that if you want to be a substitute teacher in DPS you had to be certified.

Certified? I asked him is that state law? He told me DPS laid off the teachers from last year and rehired them as substitute teacher according to some clause in the union contract. I then asked him why he was here? He said to recruit. I told him I hope you guys drop under 100,000 students so we can have more charter schools. No one visited the DPS table. There were long lines to visit the charter school tables for employment. Let's face it, charter schools are safer than DPS and this is the primary reason why parents pull their children out of DPS.

Also, it is the MOST asinine thing for a substitute teacher to be CERTIFIED. Why are you classified as a SUBSTITUTE TEACHER? It does not say anywhere in the Michigan School Code where a substitute teacher must be certified.

People want more charter schools in Detroit because they want more options for their families. DPS can get back on track with serious educational reform if they would go out of their way to hire more Black men in the field of education (instead of all of these female hens who do nothing but complain, scam and argue) as well as supporting alternative teacher certification requirements for teachers who are working or will work on certification. This includes waving student teaching if a person has already taught in the classroom for over 3-5 years.

The Michigan School Code states the following:

Sec. 1233b (6) If the noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher completes 3 years of successful classroom teaching, as determined by regular observation and review by school district and teacher preparation institution personnel, the department of education and a teacher preparation institution shall utilize the teaching experience of a noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher for the purpose of waiving student teaching as a condition for receiving a continued employment authorization in the school district and a provisional teaching certificate.

So how come these universities are making people pay for a 12 credit course for student teaching when they already have 3 years of more teaching experience? This is stuff both the universities, teacher unions and school districts will NOT tell you. This is illegal.

By the way, during my research, I ran across something interesting. The Michigan School Code has this to say about a "fast track teacher preparation program."

380.1531c Fast-track teacher preparation program.

Sec. 1531c. The state board shall develop and approve, and advocate to state universities that they adopt, an expedited “fast-track” teacher preparation program to be available to individuals who have outstanding academic credentials, who are exceptionally gifted performers or artists, or who are outstanding professionals expert in their fields of endeavor.

This is an alternative teacher certification program. Yet, no one wants to develop this (even though this is the law) because teacher unions at all levels are blocking this illegally. Why should a man or woman who has 25 years of engineering experience need to go through the long hassle of a basic skills test, core courses in the College of Education that they will never use in life because most of the courses are not geared towards dealing with urban children, take a subject area test(s) that has nothing to do with the subject they are going to teach in and do student teaching? Our state lawmakers are a joke and Detroit lawmakers should be ashamed to allow a law like this to sit when we need more males in education.

Another lie that traditional school districts like DPS are using is in order for you to be an administrator in the school you have to be teacher certified. Not according to the Michigan School Code:

380.1536 School administrator's certificate; administration of instructional programs;endorsements; development of standards and procedures by state board; consultation;"established state professional organization" defined.

Sec. 1536. (1) The state board shall develop a school administrator's certificate that may be issued to school district and intermediate school district superintendents, school principals, assistant principals, and other administrators whose primary responsibility is administering instructional programs. An individual is not required by this section to have a school administrator's certificate under this section or an endorsement under subsection (2) to be employed as a school administrator by a school district, public school academy,intermediate school district, or nonpublic school.

(2) The state board also may develop appropriate certificate endorsements for school administrators, by elementary, secondary, and central office level.

State Representative Shanelle Jackson from Detroit introduced a bill last year on administrative certification:

2007 House Bill 4779 (Mandate school administrator certification )

Introduced on May 17, 2007, to prohibit school districts or charter schools from employing a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, administrator or chief business official, unless the person has the school administrator certification that was created as a voluntary program by Public Act 335 of 2006, or is in training to get the certificate and gets it within five years.

I do not know if mandating a bill like this is the answer because already most school districts require you to have a Masters degree in education, educational administration, education in curriculum and instruction or a Masters in Education to be considered an administrator. My question is where does it states in the Michigan School Code where we have to be "teacher certified?" This is an illegal practice by teacher unions to weed out good, qualified people to run schools to keep those corrupt practices in place.

Also, the Michigan School Code states the following:

380.1233b Teaching of certain courses by noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher;
requirements; effect of ability to engage certificated, endorsed teacher;

Sec. 1233b. (1) Except as provided in subsection (3), the board of a local or intermediate school district may engage a full-time or part-time noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher to teach a course in computer science, a foreign language, mathematics, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, robotics, or in another subject area determined by the state board to be appropriate to be included under this section and so designated by the state board, or any combination of these subject areas, in grades 9 through 12.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), a noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher is qualified to teach pursuant to this section if he or she meets all of the following minimum requirements:

(a) Possesses an earned bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution.

(b) Has a major or a graduate degree in the field of specialization in which he or she will teach.

(c) If the teacher desires to teach for more than 1 year, has passed both a basic skills examination and a subject area examination, if a subject area examination exists, in the field of specialization in which he or she will teach.

(d) Except in the case of persons engaged to teach a foreign language, has, in the 5-year period immediately preceding the date of hire, not less than 2 years of occupational experience in the field of specialization in which he or she will teach.

(3) The requirements listed in subsection (2) for a teacher engaged to teach pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any other requirements established by the board of a local or intermediate school district, as applicable.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), the board of a local or intermediate school district shall not engage a full-time or part-time noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher to teach a course described in subsection (1) if the district is able to engage a certificated, endorsed teacher.

(5) If the board of a local or intermediate school district is able to engage a certificated, endorsed teacher to teach a course described in subsection (1), the local or intermediate school board may employ or continue to employ a noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher to teach the course if both of the following conditions are met:

(a) The noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher is annually and continually enrolled and completing credit in an approved teacher preparation program leading to a provisional teaching certificate.

(b) The noncertificated, nonendorsed teacher has a planned program leading to teacher certification on file with the employing school district or intermediate school district, his or her teacher preparation institution, and the department of education.

School districts can give out Emergency Permits for teachers to fill in vacancies but most school districts like DPS and even some charter schools refuse to do this. They claim that they are following No Child Left Behind Requirements. NCLB calls for "highly qualified" teachers to be in the classroom. However, if you cannot find such a teacher then you have to find someone who is qualified to fill in the vacancy to help him/her with teacher certification requirements. Most teachers do not know their legal rights as educators as well as administrators. This is why I am here to help.

Meanwhile, African American charter students outperformed their host district peers in both math and English language arts on the 2006-07 and also exceeded the state average by 1 point in math and nearly 1.5 points in English language arts.

I do not hate Detroit Public Schools and all DPS schools are not bad. All charters are not good. In fact, I support a measure by those state representative candidates who we are pushing to go to Lansing to limit the number of management companies as well as placing a cap on the time a management company can occupy a charter school. These management companies are taking anywhere between 15%-20% of state aid money and the rest of that money is NOT trickling down into the classroom. We have to do something about this mess.

The newest trend in the charter movement is "coopetition" -- part cooperation, part competition. Los Angeles, New York and other cities leading school reform see it as one of the most important developments in education, with the potential to boost student performance in every kind of school. So I am not against DPS, I am against DPS blocking efforts to improve the city of Detroit by not allowing options to flow into our neighborhoods.

Students in the state's public charter schools have continue to demonstrate improved academic achievement on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) tests for students in grades 3-8, according to the Michigan Charter Schools (MCS) analysis of the Department of Education's latest test scores.

Of all seventh-and eighth-grade charter students deemed proficient in math, the rate for charter students stood at 58.7 percent compared to a 43.1 percent proficiency rate in 2005. The increase in English scores was 60 percent in 2005 compared to 64.4 percent in 2007.

So I praise parents for taking their children out of the Detroit Public Schools and help trigger a law to open more charter schools in Detroit. Our families deserve better.

1 comment:

maidintheus said...

I have a dream. I dream of schools where learning is the true goal. Schools where the education of its students is the only job required and stressed. Schools that won't allow anything to disrupt or hinder education. Where education is translated to mean a basis in reading, writing, arithmetic, and building on these, always connected to these. No experiments. I have a dream of schools without drama and political pressure.

The condition of our school system is so sad and frustrating that I sometimes contemplate a radical approach.

I think everyone has probably seen an email forward that keeps circulating. Everyone has seen workers go on strike. Sometimes I wonder if these two things could be combined. Students and parents that want to "strike" can start on the date designated in an email. Students will remain out of school until promised that an education will be given instead of "social change." Parents and students should expect schools to be sacrosanct institutions for learning. Take the experiments elsewhere and let our kids learn. Our teachers have invested in being able to do this. Let them do their job.

I know. Very problematic and parents have to work, who will watch the kids...

Just dreamin'.

Thank you, Mr. Akinyemi, for being so diligent in your work to make my dreams come true.