Duggan ‘very disappointed’ with Snyder’s DPS plan

1 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

18 Detroit Schools Forced To Close As Teachers Rally In Lansing Against Snyder’s ‘Reprehensible’ New Education Plan.

DETROIT (AP) — Classes have been canceled in 18 Detroit schools after teachers failed to appear on the same day as a major announcement about the district’s future. DETROIT (WWJ) – Eighteen public schools in Detroit were forced to close Thursday as dozens of teachers head to Michigan’s capital to show their “determined opposition” of the governor’s strategy for reforming education in the city.

Detroit Public Schools closed more than a dozen schools in the district Thursday, April 30, 2015, because of a teacher shortage.(Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo Detroit Public Schools closed 18 schools today as hundreds of teachers headed to Lansing to rally against Gov. Detroit’s public schools emergency manager, Darnell Earley, expressed regret about the closings Thursday and said the “unplanned turn of events” by teachers “is seriously misguided”. Rick Snyder’s proposal to reform the district. “The union is up on its feet, ready to do what it takes to support our students and fight for their right to an equal, quality education,” Steve Conn, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said in a news release.

Rick Snyder is scheduled to announce his plan for the struggling district, which has big debts and poor student achievement in many of its approximately 100 schools. Part of the plan was to include splitting the district into two, one that pays school debt and the other that educates children. “I think this plan is a disaster. The proposal calls for each entity to be overseen by its own school board and both the old and new districts would be subject to a financial review board, similar to what was used in Detroit’s bankruptcy, until the debt is resolved. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and hope that it’s going to work,” he said. “I think probably, the city of Detroit schools are just going to be chartered off in the long term.

The school day starts at 8:30 a.m. “I think that there should have been a conversation with the teachers’ union to talk about these issues and concerns that the teachers were having, so hopefully they wouldn’t have had to go to Lansing,” he said. Robinson turned around before getting to Bates, but another parent told him a police officer was stationed outside the school to tell parents the news. The proposal will likely need legislative approval, at least to shift funds within the school aid fund to replace lost taxes needed to make the governor’s plan a reality. “We’ve had 15 years of this so-called reform that’s anything but reform,” he said. “Snyder’s emergency managers and the previous governors’ emergency managers have driven the city and the school district into a terrible debt. The Free Press reported last week that the governor plans to split the district in two – a “new” district that will educate children and an “old” district that will exist only to pay off debt.

The plan aims to address persistent academic and financial distress in DPS as Detroit’s education landscape has grown increasingly fragmented over the last several years. The schools closed, according to the DPS website, are Pasteur, Brewer, JR King, Western, Mackenzie, Ron Brown, Bates, Wright, Nichols, Neinas, Dixon, Sampson, Frederick Douglass, DCP @ NWHS, Durfee, Gompers, Emerson and Thirkell. DPS operates under an oppressive amount of debt; the money spent to satisfy those obligations restricts the district’s ability to educate its children.

Conn said what DPS actually needs is reduced class sizes, competitive teacher salaries, more support staff, bilingual instructors, an end to excessive standardized testing and better teacher evaluations, among other things. “We want our demands met,” he said. “And we want an end to the governor’s attempts to privatize and turn education into a profit making business.” DPS’s elected board would remain in control of the old district, along with the state-appointed emergency manager, and the new district would be governed by a board whose first members are appointed — four by Detroit’s mayor, three by the governor — transitioning to an all-elected board by 2021. The commission, with three members appointed by Snyder and two by Duggan, would oversee a common enrollment system, in which all schools applications — both for traditional public schools and charter schools — would be processed through a single entity.

In turn, other school districts in Michigan could lose as much as $50 in funding per student, likely making the proposal a tough sell for state legislators. Snyder’s proposal comes on the heels of a widely publicized education plan released in March by a group called the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren. While we accept the principle — much of DPS’s debt was incurred under state oversight, giving the state moral responsibility — that’s almost certainly a political nonstarter. Overall, students across all public school systems in Detroit — DPS, charter schools and state reform schools — are struggling academically, with proficiency rates that fall far below state averages.

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