“On May 5, early in the morning after a marathon session, the House Republicans passed their egregious plan to ‘save’ the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). It was deemed a failed attempt by many. Fast forward to last night — the House Republicans passed a new set of bills even more egregious than the last by virtue of the fact that these bill were supposedly a ‘compromise’ between the House and Senate plans. The Senate plan properly addressed the funding and oversight needs of DPS. The Senate plan passed with bipartisan support, and is also supported by most House Democrats, the governor, the unions and the Mayor of Detroit. This ‘compromise’ provides less of the funding needed to lift DPS out of debt and fails to address the much needed reforms for the district; provides no oversight of charter schools other than policing themselves; allows uncertified teachers to educate the children of Detroit; and will require the closing of poorly performing public schools in the new Detroit district, but will leave the poorly performing charter schools in the city open for business. This plan throws money at a problem without fixing it, and will lead to additional financial instability for Detroit schools.
“DPS needs a bipartisan and community-based solution that will get the district back on solid financial ground so that it can do what it’s supposed to do — provide an education to the children of Detroit that is equal to every other school district in Michigan. Allowing uncertified teachers to teach Detroit children while decrying the inability of many Detroit children to read and do math is as hypocritical as it gets. Impoverished children already enter school at a disadvantage. Why would we place even more roadblocks to success in their way by allowing uncertified teachers to provide them with their educational needs? It’s a real slap in the face to all the certified teachers who have worked diligently to earn and keep up their certification, and is an insult to the universities who have prepared these teachers to educate the children who will one day be sitting in the very House Chamber in which we serve.
“The children of Detroit deserve better than what will lie ahead under this ‘compromise.’ Stability in their schools and in the faculty that serves them will not happen because a new legislature, with a new set of faces, will be back at the table in a few years trying to hash out a new plan for Detroit schools. I hope those new faces will allow everyone to be a part of the discussion to create a plan the children of Detroit deserve — a plan to properly educate and prepare these children who had nothing to do with the mess that was created.”