It's time for parents and students in the Detroit Public School system to face the music. Your schools are closing and there is nothing you can do about it.
For the time being.
I was present at the Detroit School Board meeting tonight at Henry Ford High School on the city's Northwest side. As usual, you had your regular characters in the place.
And who can forget about BAMN? All were present to complain about nothing.
Here is the real deal. The Detroit Public Schools cannot sustain where they are at. DPS not only have to close these schools down but must consider breaking up the district into 7 smaller districts where parents and get this...students will have greater accountability in a smaller district as opposed to running a larger district. Students must learn about how their educational institutions are ran. This is bigger than Citywide Student Councils.
The district's emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, has decided to close the following schools.
5. Cody 9th Grade
9. Detroit Open
14. J.R. King
17. Marshall, J.
19. Northwest ECC
23. Westside Multicultural
You would have thought the place would have been packed tonight with so many schools closing. Well see for yourself.
Wow, the place is packed at Henry Ford High School right?
Parents really care about their children in DPS don't they?
Former State Representative Nelson Saunders was here tonight crying about how charter schools are taking over the school district. Sorry, but stick to your day job Nelson. Charter schools are not the problem. In fact, they may be the main factor in keeping children here in Detroit. The reason? Charter schools continue to improve with less cost and more parental involvement through innovation.
The following highlight proficiency comparisons in Math and English Language Arts for students in Michigan public charter schools against the statewide average as well as similar districts:
- 131 public charter schools, or 57% of all charter schools, earned individual grade/subject test scores exceeding the statewide average for all public school students. At the same time, 57 public charter schools outperformed statewide proficiency averages on a majority of their MEAP tests.
- 52 public charter schools have been recognized as "Beating the Odds" by MDE for achieving over 60% proficiency in Math and ELA while having at least 60% of their students eligible for free or reduced priced lunch. This compares to 42 schools earning this recognition in 2007.
- The performance advantage for charter students when compared to those in similar traditional districts* widens at nearly every grade level, supporting the assertion that length of time in a charter environment contributes to improved academic performance.
- Overall, 73.0% of charter students in were ranked proficient in Math, compared to 68.6% proficiency for students in similar traditional school districts.
- Overall, 69.3% of charter students in were ranked proficient in ELA, compared to 64.5% proficiency for students in similar traditional school districts.
- In Detroit, when comparing the 40 charter schools to the local district:
- 67.0% of charter students were proficient in Math, compared to 58.9% proficiency for DPS students, a 13.8% advantage.
- 63.5% of charter students were proficient in ELA, compared to 55.9% proficiency for DPS students, a 13.6% advantage.
Even if they succeed in lowering the number of students to 60,000 to keep Detroit Public Schools a first class school district the city's population will continue to drop overall. So lowering the number of the student population to continue receiving an additional $15 million from the State of Michigan is not the solution.
After listening to the whining and complaining from the parents and administrators in the audience I walked away saying to myself how people are really missing the point of why Detroit Public Schools do not work.
The first thing is to realize that Detroit, like many Midwest cities, are shrinking.
If these cities can fit inside Detroit and are populated with economic growth that alone should tell you something. Detroit Public Schools cannot sustain where they are at presently. Schools MUST close, even if they are doing well because you must look at other factors for why a school has to close in DPS. People from John King and Cleveland Middle/High Schools bombarded the microphone tonight pleading for the Detroit Public School Board to keep their schools open because of their academic achievements. John King has an academic case while Cleveland is at Phase 8 of the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) which means they must close regardless of how many students are graduating from that school.
The OTHER and MAIN problem with this district is how the DPS community still think in a civil rights/Black Power train of thought. Both movements are over and we appreciate what the Civil Rights Movement has done for us but if DPS wants to survive it must come into the 21st century by embracing SILVER RIGHTS. I was shocked but not surprised that no one on the board nor in the audience discussed the need for global education to compete with students in China, Nigeria, or the United Kingdom.
The reason for this is because Blacks have been socially conditioned for so long through social engineering. We are seeking a handout from the school board when we should be seeking a hand up to help our children compete in a 21st century global reality. What I heard from the audience tonight was a 21st century form of slavery because you had BAMN reinforcing how bad charter schools are when in fact that is not true. These are fear tactics to keep people in a plantation mentality.
Under a silver rights framework when Mr. Bobb announced the school closing parents, community leaders and educational leaders should have proposed an immediate plan to flip those closing schools into charter schools and allow Detroit Public Schools to authorize those schools. That way the students can stay in the same neighborhood and continue their academic success. Those who decide to run the schools will have an option to create a for-profit management company, opt out of a management company and run the schools themselves or create a non-profit management company. The point here is people in the community are going into business for themselves and not looking for a handout or some form of reparations.
Unlike our Jewish, Asian and Indian brothers and sisters, Black folks never received what some might call “reparations,” nor even a real apology for slavery. In this day and age who would offer the producers of Oprah, Chris Rock, Richard Hamilton and Bill Cosby financial reparations today? Black folks in Detroit just need to leave this one alone.
Our community do not understand the language of money, therefore, we make the least and spend and complain against other races in our community the most. If we would take financial literacy and financial engineering seriously in our educational systems closing schools would not be an issue. Community leaders who are protesting against Detroit Public Schools from closing schools have made capitalism a tool against Blacks in America. However, that does not mean we cannot learn to make capitalism and free enterprise work for us in the 21st century here in Detroit Public Schools. We must move past the poverty-stricken mentality because education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool. As long as parents, administrators and school board members possess this mentality DPS will never get back on track.
Therefore, groups like BAMN should not represent the Civil Rights Movement because they are misleading our children into a dead movement. This group should be banned from future Detroit Public School Board meetings and allow silver rights workers to influence the school board in the right direction.
Our children must be embraced in the silver rights movement by empowering ourselves, to make better choices, for our lives. When we educate and empower both our parents and students the need to become homeowners instead of renters, transforming check cashing customers into banking customers, converting small business dreamers into small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Mr. Bobb has gone on record on selling or leasing property to charter schools in Detroit. That's a great thing because we are opening the doors of competition, teaching students how to run a school business and empowering them to open the doors for those who are seeking to get into educational entrepreneurship.
If Detroit Public Schools are serious about a transformation process they would embrace silver rights. DPS must begin to have and produce answer gets ahead of the problem, and finds creative ways to taps down on risks, until the problem becomes no more than an inconvenience. This is the miracle of modern financial markets in America. Experts, at identifying, managing and taping down on risks. Presently in the Detroit Public School system there is really no alternative on how to make a real and sustainable investment in its student population, it’s under-served, and the wealthless in Detroit. An investment focused on a hand up, and not a hand out. An investment that insures that our children our no longer financially illiterate, in the largest city in Michigan.
An investment that insures that a student, willing to work hard, finds an honest job before he/she is enticed by or otherwise drawn into a dishonest life. If a student cannot find a job, he/she will unfortunately find something else to invest their energies into.
Unfortunately, there are economic barriers that have broken in Detroit Public Schools and going forward we must all do what we must, to insure that there are no more poor quality educational leadership in the City of Detroit. We should be engaged in global educational empowerment not fear tactics from the few administrators in Detroit Public Schools, BAMN and DFT on the issues of charter schools or other forms of educational options.