Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Let's Leave Robert Bobb Alone by Akindele Akinyemi

You know you are tired when you go to an educational town hall meeting with the Detroit Public Schools financial manager, Robert Bobb, and you can barely get anything done because of people heckling like BAMN.

That's what happened tonight at the Community Arts Building on Wayne State University's campus. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Chronicle and WDET 101.9 FM. The event was moderated by Bankole Thompson, Senior Editor of the Michigan Chronicle.

While the energy in the room was strong there was BAMN disrupting the show.

Of course, when I walked up on campus I saw this.

A bunch of children protesting against charter schools from BAMN. Now this group calls itself the new civil rights movement.

What they do not realize is that we have moved away from civil rights. We are now pushing for silver rights.

They claim they defend public education, yet, they are not pushing for real educational reform all across the board. Look how they say "no charterization/privatization of public schools." The legal definition of charter schools is this:

Public schools that are accountable for student results. They are designed to deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and the needs of the communities they serve. In Michigan, they are called public school academies.

Did I say PRIVATE school academies? So this blows their argument out the water.

The first charter school opened its doors in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1992 and now, a decade and a half later, nearly 4,600 schools are serving over 1.4 million children across 40 states and the District of Columbia.

BAMN also claims that charter schools perform lower than Detroit Public Schools. Maybe they did not read the Michigan Department of Education's report on charter schools that you can find on the MAPSA website at charterschools.org

  • 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.
And if you look at this national report on why charter schools close it is NOT because of academics but financial reasons followed by management.

I find it interesting to see how BAMN protests against charter schools, even though they are doing better than DPS, but will not protest Inkster Public Schools? 80% of the Inkster Public Schools are Detroit students. The doors are also open in Ferndale, Oak Park, Roseville, Fitzgerald, Wood Tower, Van Dyke, Warren Consolidated and Mt. Clemens. These are traditional school districts that are taking students from Detroit and these districts cash in on the money per pupil.

Here is something more important that most people missed.

When Senate Bill 1107 (Appropriations: 2008-2009 school aid budget ) was passed and signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm there is a provision that no BAMN or anti-educational choice individual has seen. Read below.

Sec. 6(11). District of the First Class - REVISED

House adds a definition of a District of the First as a district with the most pupils in membership in the immediately preceding fiscal year. Currently the act refers to the definition in the Revised School Code which defines it as a district with membership over 100,000.

Conference adds a definition of a District of the First Class as a district with a membership greater than 60,000 in the immediately preceding fiscal year for the purposes of the School Aid Act except for in section 6(6) which still refers to the definition in the Revised School Code. (Section 6(6) prohibits another school district from enrolling pupils from a first class district at an instructional site inside the boundaries of a first class school district without the approval of the first class district.)

Under the School Aid Act that was signed into law last year the provision that Detroit Public Schools can stop other traditional school districts from operation within the city limits was stripped from the bill. In other words, if the Southfield Public Schools wanted to open up a vocational school inside Detroit Public Schools District they could do this legally without Detroit Public School's permission. That per pupil money would go to Southfield, not Detroit.

Of course BAMN and other people do not know this.

The general manager of WDET 101.9 FM introducing Robert Bobb and Bankole Thompson.

The discussion is underway. I thought Mr. Bobb did a great job in discussing the future of DPS. He reminds me of Chancellor Michelle Rhee of the Washington D.C. Public Schools. She is working hard to help transform that district.

The crowd is listening to both men speak.

I think we should give Mr. Bobb a chance to do his job as the Emergency Financial Manager. He did a good job tonight. There are some things he might want to reconsider like closing J.R. King. However, I did not understand the crew of Cleveland Middle School coming up. While I always appreciate activism for the right cause Mr. Bobb stated how the school was closing due to AYP. The principal of Cleveland Middle School, Ms. Donna Thornton, said the school passed AYP. Well here are the facts.

Cleveland Middle School, which is a 7-12 grade school, did not make AYP. You can see that for yourself here.


Their reading scores are only 48.8% and Math scores are 32.3%. That can be found here at http://www.schooldatadirect.org/app/search/q/stype=SM/stid=23/llid=118/locname=cleveland/ctyname=DETROIT/zip=/dst=/adv=false/page=/site=pes

Students and staff from Westside Academy also showed up but I do not know why because according to this site they have NOT made AYP either.


So these people are fighting the WRONG fight with the WRONG spirit. The smartest thing to do is to flip those failing schools into charter schools.

The only school on the closure list that should remain open is the John R. King Academic and Performing Arts Academy. So I disagree with Mr. Bobb there.

But we should allow this man to do his job in peace. I hope he keeps up the good work.


The blogprof said...

Great post, Akindele!

DivaDavis said...

Personally, I'm tired of DPS sending students into the world who can barely read or solve a math problem. It's not just DPS that is failing, it's the parents too. This doesn't apply to all parents, but to the parents who don't take time to visit their child's school or talk to their teacher. Parent's should be outraged at a 75% dropout rate. I think anger is aimed at the trivial things. Parents are upset because now, they will have to get off their butts to take their children to the nearest bus stop or all the way to school. It isn't funny. It's sad. Poor education has everything to do with why Detroit is the Most Dangerous city. I don't know about you but this isn't a place where I would want my child to live. Come on parents. I agree. Let Mr. Bobb do the work that the inept school board was suppose to do. School board members were too busy taking money from our children to do anything about school academics, perhaps that is what we should be upset about. We shouldn't be upset about a man who is trying to make DPS better.

Come check out my blog http://doinginthed@blogspot.com. It's a place where we can talk about issues going on in Detroit.

~Diva Davis

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Dree said...

There is more to the picture than what you may have noticed. One, Charters are public facilities that are publicly funded and ran by private companies. They don't have to offer bilingual ed. or special ed for that matter. They aren't regulated the same as our public school system is. You mention Ferndale, well in Ferndale you see a great example of what BAMN is saying, and something they protested and boycotted against. They aren't opening their public high school to Detroit students, much rather they have a charter school that they make those students go to which has fewer AP courses, fewer electives, a closed campus lunch as apposed to Ferndale high's open campus lunch and a uniform that no one else in that district has to wear. It seems that because of the nature of these "public" charters, Ferndale is able to ration off the money from the students of Detroit, by providing an ed. that is a little better but not all that can be provided. This is a pattern too often repeated by Companies that choose to invest in the charter school business, except they ration for a profit, and the minute it takes a turn for what can't profit them they pull out and leave those districts in shambles. That's why BAMN calls it the privatization of public education. It isn't that these schools do worse, which actually a good number of them do in comparison to public ed. in general, it's just that our Public education needs to be equally funded in Detroit as it compares to Gross point and Ann Arbor. Plus, though not all Charters are the same, the biggest companies are much too faulty to bet on with our students as the chips! Two, Robert Bobb is being payed BY the BIG CHARTER companies. It's been confirmed that at least a third of his check comes from companies like the Eli Broad fondation which is notorious for having run down education and sucking districts dry. Plus Bobb gets paid about $425k. Thats enough to keep a couple of schools open, and trust me that takes a lot of money. Three, BAMN does offer ideas to better our education system. First smaller class sizes, because that allows those that need help in class to get it. For student Staff ratio to ever hit anything beyond 22 is a crime and Bobb plans to make this better with school closings? I just graduated and if I remember correctly the smallest class I had was about 40 students large! He's closing down that school and Kettering leaving Pershing and Denby as the only High schools for the East side of Detroit! I don't know about you but something's not quite right with the numbers if you can't find enough high school age people on the entire east side of Detroit to fill up 4 schools. Second, more funding towards education so that the laser tech that some schools have been adopting recently can be put in these schools and so that students can have access to Laptops that can be used in class and at home. Third, There is a demand to stop teaching to the test, because when lesson plans are limited in that way it doesn't teach the students anything. Much rather it wastes precious class time telling student tricks and tips for months at a time and fails to help them learn how to think it through. Fourth, instead of cutting the elective programs like art, music, robotics, DAPCEP, etc., increase accessibility to these programs. Trust me the minute those programs started being cut students either switched districts, switched to charters, or just stopped going to school period. Four, Bobb is doing the same thing that our inept and arrogant school board was trying to stuff down our throats. The only difference is they were prescribed their daily dosage of humility and are now taking it with no qualms about it. Bobb isn't! He is as arrogant, if not, more arrogant than the entire school board combined, with less than half the charisma to pull it off. And the sweet dream of floating memories of that honey moon is over. The giant has finally awakened from it's prolonged slumber.

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