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What Will Become of Public Education in Detroit?

OK, I'm pretty sure that it's safe to say that Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb has been a failure. He's screwed up the DPS transportation system, with results ranging from comical to pathetic. He's exacerbated problems among special-needs students. He's slashed school resources while spending on pricey consultants. He convinced voters to approve a $500-million construction bond even as his own demographers argued that enrollment would continue to plummet. And, of course, he's ballooned the very budget deficit that he was hired to eliminate. And yes, there was his yadayadayada about going to lame-duck politicians to get the state to absolve the DPS debt or else...but even that seems like so much of the same brand of smoke he's been blowing.

Sure, he's done all of this with an undeniable air of professionalism and charm — but by every available measure, the man's tenure has been a flop. Meanwhile, come March, when his contract expires, it'll all be water under the Belle Isle Bridge. He's likely out of here, joining the lame duck governor who appointed him, and the district won't have a single gain to show for it.

But we can kvetch about this later. Right now, my question is simply this: What comes next?

Just how badly has an already dismal school system been further weakened by the state's incompetent intervention? Has Bobb set the stage for the dismantling of much of public education in Detroit? Are we on the cusp of a new era, one where we'll see a weakened, shrunken DPS surrounded by an array of charter schools, private institutions and a host of random education "experiments?" Will the mayor eventually be granted the control he seems so lukewarm about assuming? Will we eventually abandon the belief that our government owes each and every child a quality education? (Already, I'm hearing right-wing extremists call for the abolition of public education entirely.)

Surely, we're going to have to change how we teach and prepare our children. But in the wake of the abject failure of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's appointee to do anything to improve schools, where do we go from here?

I'll always maintain that education of our children starts in our homes, in our communities. I don't believe that any system that we devise can work properly without the diligent oversight of parents, all parents. DPS as currently configured doesn't struggle simply because of intractable unions or kleptomaniacal contractors. It struggles largely because too many parents just don't care enough to get involved to any serious extent. No matter what form of administration is instituted, more people in this area have got to become more engaged with the whens, hows and whys of their children's education.

I also believe in local government control of schools, for accountability's sake mainly. As contemptuous as I remain of former board members like Otis Mathis, there's no proof that the state can run the city's schools any better than local pols. Twice now, the state has stepped in to "help" Detroit and, in both instances, has only made matters worse. (The first time, in 1999, Gov. John Engler took over a DPS that boasted a $90-million surplus and transformed that surplus into a $250 million debt -- and somehow, nobody went to jail.)

So what needs to happen in Detroit's public schools for them to finally turn the corner? Certainly, the schools are still filled with bright students and willing, capable teachers. But these folks are being overwhelmed by the lack of resources, the disinvestment by parents, the corruption and foolishness of adult overseers and disengaged peers who see little value in book learning. Heck, even many of those who do graduate often struggle when they get to college, finding out too late that they've been poorly prepared for the next level.

The problems seem to be worsening, and no one seems to have any answers. Do you?

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  • 1


    There can be absolutely no oversight at all by the parents.

    How could you even think that???

    He's got everyone muzzled and contracts have clauses that the contractor can talk to no one other than his team.

    It's the worst thing that Jennifer has done and shall remain a blot on the Democratic Party and it's ideals.

    Forensic accounting should have started long ago and it hasn't.

    This is a huge scam to get monies into Walbridge's hands so that the brother in law can feed Mitt Romney huge monies so that he can attack Obama.

    And Obama did save Detroit. Despite what some dufus woman thinks at the DES.

    Soon you will see how terrible the King boondoggle is.

    Tis an outrage!


  • 2

    They have totally hoodwinked Dave too.


  • 3


    Outstanding and brillant commentary!!!!!!

    I have posted on this site a number of paradigms and ideas to change the nature of educating urban children ...My ideas have included the complete removal of children from the toxic nature of the city's venues to housing them in commune type dorms...

    I have offered up creative ideas to changed how public officals are elected in the city to extending the usage of private school funding ...

    From demanding more from the students to abolishing tests to reducing the expenditures of our Defense Department to deflecting those funds to restoring urban cities fom the ground up..

    Truth is messiahs and saviors like Bobb will never excel in urban venues ...Bobb is not an educator... He never developed a lesson plan .. He never understood the basics of community ...

    The nasty little truth about education in our state besides the daily demonization of DPS is that the decay and deterioration of education in our state is present in suburban school districts as well as prestigious private schools..In these venues gpa's and grade inflation is the rule and academic outcomes are not that much better than DPS given the duress in the city..

    People don't want a threshold paradigm shift in educational outcomes in the city..Dumb and ignorant urban children are an industry for greedy non-profits and a functional cultural excuse for a bandwidth of people who have contempt for anything urban and non-white ( read Black)..

    The very moment our governor selected a glorified accountant and corporate marauder like Bobb to take over DPS this signaled the end of education in urban venues...Bobb mirrored the false educational bravado and the empty educational vision of his role models l Rhee & Duncan who chatter and make public drama but at the end of the day and quit and make excuses when thier themes don't produce outcomes with substance..

    Bobb reflects the new norm for cities with urban school districts like DPS talk tough and deliver nothing...

  • 4

    No no!

    They deliver Demolition on many levels.

    In the current fashion of blaming the teachers they destroy lives and ruin the schools.

    Take this for an example. I wrote to some powerful ladies this yesterday:

    Megan announced to me tonight that everyone in the Physics Class was going to receive an F.

    In that situation one must look very hard at the teacher.

    She mentioned that the instructor simply cannot teach and that Robert Bobb has gotten rid of all the good teachers.

    The kids apparently dislike this one very much and have lost respect for him. She mentioned that Marco could teach but tried to teach at too high a level.

    That is something that no parent wants to hear.

    She mentioned that the text that they have is "not the text" that he says is the text for the course.

    Now isn't that a great way to undermine the trust and confidence towards the existing text.

    Why read the given text when it's not THE text?

    Hmmm... something needs to be straightened out very quickly!

    This brings up one of my pet peeves. Modern day texts are ridiculous with all the superfluous and confusing sidebars and graphic devices and pictures of the author and such. Grotesque best describes it.

    Once upon a time the texts were basic and simple, clear cut, clean and direct. These modern texts are an abomination.

    So what should a teacher do in this situation?

    Develop an exacting syllabus that specifically and exactly directs the student to the meat and potatoes is the only solution that I can think of. You can't rip out the graphic salad.

    Otherwise it's bafflegab, and bullshit and round about we go. The mullberry bush should have been left in 1st grade.

    You will have to straighten this out.

    I will assist if necessary, if you wish, but we had better hurry.

    The kids had better know that Mechanics is the first section in Physics and they had better get it down or it will be nothing but a mess from here on in.

    This is as disgusting as it gets/except for what Robert Bobb is doing and has done which is beeing carefully and deliberately overlooked in the Press.

    Aaaaah we do it for the children... my arse! What ever happend to hard direct thinking and integrity? You aren't getting that from him.

    You'll have to do it. If you don't, all is lost.

    I suggested to you that you hold a Parent Teacher day at the beginning of the semester so that everyone could get on line at the beginning of the Semester. You ignored me. Now we get to see this all pay out.

    Have I heard back?

    You know, it's the Detroit thang, no response. No communication.

    I think that the facts are this:

    The Ed Schools at the various colleges have misled many teachers, particularly in math, penmanship, and many of the old disciplines. They walked away from teaching important things abrogating their responsibilities.

    The text books are an abomination... so thick, so full of graphic crap, and endless sidebars that they are impossible to read. And they are ridiculously expensive. But we all know that the publishers work from the Republican philosophy.. Gouge as much as you can for as long as you can.

    NPR had a great squib about a School District in Tennessee. They got with the latest fashion and fired all the teachers. Great! And then they discovered that they really needed them.

    Then they realized that in every school and every disciplinte there was at least one great teacher. So they started pairing up the teachers as teams and put aside the competetion and developed team. Then they discovered that the teams were assisting in the development of each other and the kids started really learning.

    Wah! Isn't that wonderful! Work as a team!!! Impart knowledge on delivery to each other.

    Now if you are aware of the Thompson Schools that Francis Recendes is doing a marvelous job of designing you will note how the teachers share an office together in pairs and they can work back and forth in the delivery process.

    Doug Ross knows what the hell he is doing!

    And these facilities are going up at half the price of what Bobb is doing.

    Twice as good at half the price is some good math.
    And maybe it's more than that.

    So we do have a chrisis situation and Bobb is not the Superman that the Detroit Press portrayed at all.

    And I seriously doubt that the Detroit press will get it at all except for the Metro Times.

    So back to my Daughter and the Physics Class.

    Something is drastically wrong in the delivery.

    I really don't want to hear the kids assessment that Bobb has gotten rid of all the good teachers.

    We have a problem here and now!

    This needs to be discussed!!!

    Will it be?




  • 5

    Ross is a marketeer of private educational factories the state of michigan recently released MEAP/MERIT test results that disclosed Ross's schools were in the middle of the pack and nothing to write home about..

    Just like we have national laws about truth in lending for credit cards we need similar laws for the marketing propaganda urban parents get from charter schools and private schools claiming to be great when at end of the day many are no better than DPS!!!!

  • 6


    Yes they are teaching with the crappy TI calculators.

    That is a clear signal of mediocracy.

    But Architecturally speaking, their Schools are way more intelligent and beautiful.

    So is architecture important? Is it intelligent to pay twice as much for crappy designs that don't fit the program requirements?

    Will there be a long term benefit? I tend to think so.
    A beautiful environment surely can't hurt. Maybe it can inspire.

    What Bobb is doing along this line is a DISASTER.

    Not to mention that he has totally ignored the needs of the handicapped.


  • 7

    Detroit should consider picking up Michelle Rhee.


  • 8

    I don't know if one can say that Bobb has "been a failure". He has exposed some of the financial mismanagement in the DPS, exposed the "good old boy/girl" nature of the administartion, made an attempt to focus attention on consolidation and efficiencies, uncovered lax and/or improper financial accounting procedures, and general done what he was supposed to do as FINANCIAL manager. His focus was on the money side of the equation and he's done that. When he did attempt to address issues involving curriculum and teacher performance he got his head hhanded to him on a platter.
    I think he's done a good job by bringing to light and saying publicly things that for too long people were afraid to say. He's managed to penetrate into the empire that DPS had built for itself over the years and has Detroiters talking about change. THAT alone is an amazinf feat!

    • 8.1

      Just a follow up thought.....Darrell says that Bobb "balloned the very defecit he was hired to eliminate". i think it might be more that a little possible that the defecit that Bobb has published has always been the real truth and that previous claims that the defecit was smaller or that there was an actual surplus may have been totally bogus. Repubs are claiming that during the John Engler days there was a $90 million surplus....really? Is anyone confident about that or could it be thatusing slight of hand to make it appear there was a surplus was just a way for Fat John and the Lansing Repubs to avoid getting involved in something they had no particular interest in, namely helping Detroit.
      Trashing Robert Bobb is a classic case of "killing the messenger" and ignoring the message, in my humble opinion. Before anyone can start throwing out solutions one has to at the veryleast know the extent of the problem. I think he's right to lay it at Lansings feet and ask for them to swallow the debt since they have ignored Detroit and DPS for so long.

  • 9

    Ken Meier's research on Texas schools should provide guidance on what effective schools and school districts have that failing ones do not. First, there's a need for competent and stable administration. DPS swings and misses on that one--strike one. Anytime a new one is hired, critics seem to want to run him/her out of town. Second, there's need for high academic standards. It's best to work with the assumption that all students are capable of learning and developing mastery of the material that's being taught. If they don't learn it the first time, let them try again and again until they do! DPS swings and misses on this one--strike two! Third, there's need for a stable curriculum. Teachers, students, and parents need to know what's to be taught and what's to be learned--no expensive fads needed! Does DPS swing and miss here? I don't know. Fourth, there's need for students to work hard. There's nothing easy about learning to read, write, and calculate. Not much natural about it; it's not like you are learning about the opposite sex. Does DPS swing and miss here? I don't know. Fifth, there's need for parental involvement. DPS swings and misses on that one--strike three.

    I'd say students at school need to be well rested, have adequate nutrition, and feel safe. Perhaps a dress code is needed so that status rivalries amongst young men and women trying to climb the peer group pecking order so as better to attract members of the opposite sex do not crowd out the academic work.

    Whether public schools or charter schools or something else accomplish the five items above probably does not make a whit of difference.

  • 10

    I completely agree that the best way to change any school is to start with the basics: safety, nutrition, rest, uniforms, discipline.

    Then good and concerned teachers.

    All these theories and current bureaucratic posturing is making me dizzy. And most of the time none of it works.

    Lets show our children that we really care, by thinking of them, not ourselves.

  • 11

    Rhee is a quitter and not worthy of having the educational futures of children under her purview...I always have reservations when folks with zero educational credentials seek to offer up solutions in the academic area..

    Yes Bobb was instrumental in some areas but people with messiah ego's and the power of the state and the cultural support of a bandwidth of people who have contempt for anything Black in the city from DPS to City governance this is a rx for a clusterfuck...

    Trashing Bobb is what progressives do and it is always apporpriate to question and challenged those who in the ruling class and its operatives( Bobb) when they engaged in thier missons..

    People like Bobb knowingly leverage white guilt and white privledge ...It is a combination that has a long shelf life in urban venues...Black Apologists and White Liberals/Conservatives..

  • 12

    Oh my god we are off into the platitudes, banalities, and god given generalities.

    Look, I worked my arse off in trying to raise moneys to get the King Band to China

    And I worked to develop a proper spatial program for King High School.

    So you can't accuse me of not caring and not being involved.

    AND you can't accuse me of not knowing what the hell is going on.

    And what is going on is in measure a disaster and a squandering.

    And good young people are being taught the wrong way to do things and hence their lives are being ruined.

    I am talking about Bobb's staff in this instance but no way can you understand what I am saying, and I am sure that they don't.

    Darrell is dead right about the failure.


  • 13

    People have to see "Waiting for Superman". The essential point of the film is that it is not the State, nor Robert Bobb, nor Michelle Rhee, nor Doug Ross, nor Ken Meier, or some other guru who is going to give us the silver bullet to solve the's US. Quick fixes and the latest trend in delivery methods, public or privately contracted, are nothing more than smokescreen. As a country we need to be honest with oursleves and face up to the fact that we don't know what to do because we don't even understand the nature of the problem.
    Everyone has his or her pet idea....if we only get rid og the unions, if we get more computers, if we have more charter schools, if we privatize education, blah, blah, blah...and that is simplistic and just plain stupid.
    People like Bobb have tried to show us in black and white numbers what it is going to take to change and what it is going to cost. We can see the consequences of NOT doing anything, yet for many people that is just fine.
    The first thing we need to do is decide what it is we want....what are the goals of public education and then lay out all the alternatives we can think of to get there, evaluate the consequences...both good and bad..and then make a choice and move ahead. Just blathering about what's wrong and touting some socio/political agenda is worthless.
    Like Pogo once said, "We have met the enemy and the enemy is us".

    • 13.1

      I agree with the bulk of your talking points in your reply to mine...I also agree the issue is HOW...BTW trust me I also know the face and road of ridicule ..

      Yet those who attack me only fuel me..

  • 14

    I have seen the movie 'Waiting for Superman" it is nothing to write home about and given the director is a hypocrite( he refused to allow his white kids to attend local public school) I was not impressed..

    The movie did have some good talking points I won't deny that yet at end of the day it was an attack on teachers and the usual hollywood simple minded nonsense...

    We don't need to reinvent the wheel with regard to public education..We know what we want which is "superior educational outcomes for our students "...It is that simple..

    • 14.1

      The movie was even handed and yes, it did attack teachers unions but couldn't very well ignore that aspect and still be considered to be thorough. I am a died-in-the-wool, unbashed Union supporter and will always stick up for people like the MEA and the UAW who are the only things standing btween making a decent living anf pure greed and expoitatation by employers yet I didn't think the movie was unfair in its crtique. It is a subject that cannot be ignored but is NOT, as the right say, the single biggest problem with our schools.
      That was the point of the movie....there is no one single thing that is the "problem" and there is no one single "Superman" who is going to swoop in and save the day.
      My biggest fear concerning the upcoming election and the swing to the right, is that the new Governor and the conservative legislature are going to decalre open season on teachers unions and pubic employee unions and the public is going to buy into it. Unfortunately, after they have successfully killed the unions once and for all there still won't be any improvement in the quality of eduation, just in the cost of it. The schools that need it most won't get any help from Lansing I'm afraid.
      Everybody wants "superior educational outcomes" but nobody seems to have a clue how to make that happen. When somebody does propose something...anything...he or she is beaten down with personal attacks and criticism. Just read the original blog and the comments above.

  • 15

    The Republicans virtually destroyed the Architecural Profession buy nullifying the need to have registered architects do architectural work.

    The issue is not to just propose anything, it is to propose something intelligent!

    After all aren't the adults supposed to set an example?

    Do you know anything about Kumon?


  • 16

    The whole system needs to be redesigned and that means that it starts at the university level...

    Redesign the courses and the teaching methods. Redesign the hideous texts being used.

    Francis Recendes is showing us how to redesign the buildings.

    And the teaching atmosphere needs to be redesigned as well.... teams. and class instructional techniques.

    Greg can say that Doug is doing no better but Really?... there are lots of measures and one of them is ettiquette and the kids in his schools are calm and polite and apparently happy, certainly very helpful to visitors.

    And Thompson made it clear that the %of kids going on to college whould have to be very high or his assistance would stop immediately... I suspect that the matriculation rate is much higher.

    I think that the kids are inspired by the atmosphere presented.

    This effort is committed to the Black kids in Detroit in a far more powerful way than Greg supposes.


    • 16.1


      You are clueless on so many fundamental issues about the underclass and the poor..

      Ross and Thompson are business people not educators..I always caution parents to ignore the misinformation about claims of seniors getting accepted into college..

      Those stats mean nothing and as I have poster earlier we need a federal law to protect at risk parents in urban venues from the myth and hype of those pushing private school options etc..

      My premise remains the same using the standards employed by the State of Michigan Dept of Education Ross's schools are marginal at best and nothing to write home about...

  • 17

    It's the parents. Correction; It's the parent as in single, unemployed and uneducated.

    You can have the best administration, the best teachers, and the best facilities that money can buy but if the kids are not in school because of pathetic role models (parent(s), they aren't going to learn are they?

    • 17.1


      That argument sounds to me like an excuse just to write off every kid who has the misfortune of being born into a less than ideal family situation. The argumeny goes that since there is no hope we....that is society as a whole...are justified in just ignoring the problem and must resign ourselves to having a permanent uunderclass of people. That's not very enlightened and not very hopeful but I guess it eases the conscience of some people. It certainly adds nothing to the discussion.

  • 18

    I'm not ignoring the problem, I'm identifying the problem. And the problem is the so-called parent(s).

    For too long, we have been looking the other way, afraid to call out those who bring children into this world and then feed off society while giving absolutely nothing back. Illegitimacy is out of control with 70 percent of Detroit's kids born to unwed mothers and over half of these mothers are teenagers. There are no fathers in the picture to provide a family structure, to provide for and help raise these children. The mothers and the children go on welfare. Chances are neither will graduate from high school, very likely many will turn to crime. Today's misdirected children will become tomorrow's misdirected parents and the problem becomes self perpetuating.

    The numbers don't lie. We have 50% unemployment in Detroit. Two-thirds of Detroiters don't have high school diplomas. And 50% are illiterate. Why? Because there is no parenting. Less than ideal family situation is putting it mildly. There is no family.

    You can't solve a problem until you identify its cause. Looking the other way and accepting poverty, illegitimacy and illiteracy as simply "misfortune" offers nothing.

    I am not the one who is writting off these kids napper1. The mothers and fathers of these kids have written them off long before they were even born.

    • 18.1

      OK, so there's nothing new in what you've said, people have been wringing their hands over these acts fr years. Short of a miraculous shift in human behavior how can it be fixed?
      Identifying problems is easy, it's the solutions that are difficult. What do you propose?

  • 19

    Identifying the problem may be the easy part but it is the first step in arriving at a solution. Crime, unemployment, poverty - "people have been wringing their hands over these facts for years". Unfortunately, these 'people' have focused on the symptoms and neglected the cause. Unemployment? Welfare. Poverty? Food stamps, Bridge cards, soup kitchens. Crime? More police. Over crowed jails? Free some to make room for others. AIDS? Supply the addicts with clean needles. School drop outs? More money for DPS. Teen age pregnancy? Give the kids condoms. Irresponsible parenting? Look the other way.

    Irresponsible parenting, deadbeat dads and negligent moms, in my opinion, are the most devastating problems plaguing this city. They are the underlying cause for all the "symptoms" I've just mentioned, and that's the short list. Howard Veal could be the poster child for this behavior. Mr. Veal is the father of 23 kids by 14 women. He owes $533,000 in child support and will spend 23 to 48 months in jail - on our dime.

    Is Howard Veal just a singular social aberration? No. There are thousands of Howard Veals out there. Nolan Finley, Detroit News editor, has defined the situation better than I ever could in the Sunday paper (Oct. 24, 2010) editorial column, "Founders Assumed a Moral People" As outrageous as Mr. Veal's behavior is, it appears that he could well be a role model in some social circles. WJLB radio condones, if not outright promotes a social practice called "Cuffin Season". A WJLB audio link asks the question, "Are you trying to lock down a mate for the winter months"? Chances are, some of these mates will become pregant. What happens when Spring comes?

    You asked me the question "Short of a miraculous shift in human behavior how can it be fixed?" Fair enough. But in all truth, I don't know. I don't have the wisdom of Solomon. I can only offer 3 proposals, only one of which is originally mine.

    The most effective, in my view, is an idea from gthrasher which he proposed on this blog. To quote gthrasher; "I have posted on this site a number of paradigms and ideas to change the nature of educating urban children ...My ideas have included the complete removal of children from the toxic nature of the city's venues to housing them in commune type dorms..."
    While this would would effectively remove children from a negative environment - slums, peer pressure, drugs etc. it would most certainly be fought by everyone from the "parents" to the ACLU.

    Kim Worthy, Wayne County Prosecutor, is pushing for legislation to impose 3 days in jail, for parents of children who are bad or failing in school, if they fail to attend parent/teacher conferences! This should send the message but parent teacher conferences only last for an hour at best. Not nearly enough time to instill a sense of responsibility.

    Impose sanctions against public communication stations such as WJLB who promote irresponsible behavior such as "Cuffin Season". There are all sorts of problems with this but we have to start some where.

  • 20

    The last two are unworkable in my opinion, if not speech and all that. The court will sort that out eventually but my guess is neither will withstand a challenge.

    The first idea is possible and probably stands a good chance of success. I saw on NBC news in a report on education that such a thing is being done in Chicago, I think, and is producing a marked improvement in achievement and, more importantly, in changing the kids attitudes about learning and their confidence in themselves and their future. I think the idea has enormous merit and should be offered as an alternative though how widely it could be applied might be an issue. A vouluntary residential program could be tried as a "charter" to test the idea.I'm guessing that some of our more enlightened foundations like Skillman would provide the funding to put it into effect as a pilot program.

  • 21

    Reading the comments of the last 2 posters saddens me on so many levels this type of discourse is surreal it is as of these posters are speaking of animals and invalids..

    The reality is of course it is not the failures of the uneducated nor the urban poor which has our state and nation in a meltdown ...I have posted many times in here abou the myth of educational excellance and success in suburban and private school venues..

    The toxic reality the children and residents of urban venues across our country is the result of the decay and underdevelopment in the ruling class and middle class..

    Yes without question the poor are uneducated,ignorant, hopeless outcomes and products of our shortcomings and decadence..

    I know my ideas will work on educating urban children, I have left a corporate career to teach in the hood, I have graduated children with law and college degrees with values and principles..

    Messiahs like Bobb and foolish ideas from people who need to stay in thier lane and be law enforcement officials and not social workers will never work..

    I know the way....I always make a difference..

  • 22


    Apparently, my comments were either poorly stated or misunderstood. I was commenting on the idea that a residential type school might be a possible idea worth exploring....albeit short term...and could be a response to the very problems you cite as the underlying causes of the endless cycle of poverty and poor education. I have no doubt that every parent in every community or poor...wants a good education for their kids and that the kids themselves want to learn and grow and succeed in life. But both are handcuffed by the circumstances in which they find themselves and sadly our society chooses not to see the connection between crushing poverty and the failure of public education to break that cycle.
    The residential type school I referred to seemed to show that there was a marked value in placing these kids in a setting that encouraged discipline and focus and that kids , when given the proper environment can learn and can succeed and can build the kind of self confidence to aspire to a better life for themselves. It's a way to empower them to reach their potential. I see that as a positive says that every kid, no matter their economic level or their individual life situation, CAN succeed. The alternative is to simply do what our society has done for years and that is to write them off as hopeless cases and I reject that completely.
    From the report I saw on NBC it seems that having kids go to school on Monday and stay in a dorm-like setting through Friday when they return home for the weekend might be worth a try here on a test basis to see if it works. If our society can't remove the poverty from the kid maybe emoving the kid from the poverty might help.
    I'm confused, didn't you at one time in past posts suggest such a thing or did I misunderstand you?

  • 23

    Yes I have mentioned this idea many times...My comments were regarding the chatter I thought was patronizing..

    I doubt if anyone misunderstands me:-)

    • 23.1

      I don't patronize. I believe in giving credit where credit is due. You had one good idea, that I acknowledged, which as it turns out, may not have even been yours.

      Now, get over yourself.

  • 24

    I was referring to your patronizing attitude regarding Black folks living in the city....I could care less about your thoughts regarding me good, bad, or ugly...

    Of course my ideas are cutting edge and threshold..I am a part of my tribe's collective cultural dna...Nothing ordinary about me...


  • 25

    1. Just how badly has an already dismal school system been further weakened by the state's incompetent intervention?

    The incompetency and weakened state of the Detroit Public School (DPS) was there before the state intervention of Mr. Robert Bobb. Both the financial and academic accountability was maintained by a host of people that played by the rules to keep up the façade. Also, known as nepotism that plagued the billion-dollar school district. There was reporting and questions in the local papers about student pupil counts, test scores, and graduation rates. One report in the newspaper stated an audit of graduation rates at one high school was gloomy, but the audit uncovered a dismal rate of graduation for students. All of those issues were on the radar before Mr. Bobb came to DPS. Those beacons of light that some thing was just not right were prevalent in the headlines.

    2. Has Bobb set the stage for the dismantling of much of public education in Detroit?

    Understand that the stage was set with the first state intervention under Mr. Engler to dismantle DPS. And, that is when the initial $200 million fell off the table in 1998/1999 through a journal entry to the balance sheet account Construction In Progress. Any average accountant knows that is a plug to a black hole, which is very hard to estimate let alone audit. Was anybody paying attention then? Mind you, in tandem, DPS was having significant processing errors with the installation of the new automated computer system PeopleSoft. It was then reported, in the local news, on several occasions how people and vendors were being over paid. One teacher got a check for a million plus dollars. Now, given all the problems DPS has/had, do you really believe they were able to reconcile that fiasco to the penny? Mr. Bobb was brought in to confirm and uncover the real damage. And, sadly, he has done just that. Mr. Bobb is probably holding back on some of the mess he has uncovered in DPS, as well.

    3. Are we on the cusp of a new era, one where we'll see a weakened, shrunken DPS surrounded by an array of charter schools, private institutions and a host of random education "experiments?"

    The new era in transforming the Public Educational System sounds like a worthy cause to me. We've been stuck on stupid for far—too long. Detroit is not the only place on the planet suffering from this condition. Education is intended to allow people to discover the endless opportunity to imagine those innovations that improve the “Human Condition” on the planet. Please understand that learning is always “Research In Motion”, meaning that everyone's learning clocks do not tick-tock at the same rate. So, experimental education is not the problem at all. The real problem is the people in charge have mismatched goals to the real root cause for poorly educated people. Root cause analysis will reveal that many children are being raised in substandard societal norms to become reasonably productive people. Thus, leaving huge gaping gaps of knowledge that should be address in the child's nucleus family setting.

    Since, there has been a huge paradigm shift in what is known as “walking around knowledge”. Meaning people are expected to know on cue Pythagorean theorem, how to change the mark-up code for a website; and understand the difference between Darwin's Theory of Evolution and Creation.

    Video Patrol: Walk around and ask people in Detroit those questions. I'm sure people will look and think people don't walk around knowing that kind of information in Detroit.

    4. Will the mayor eventually be granted the control he seems so lukewarm about assuming?

    Probably not Mayor Bing, but when the “right” leadership takes office they will do so happily. Yes, Blacks will be left behind, and before you say this "ain't " fair first look in the mirror.

    5. Will we eventually abandon the belief that our government owes each and every child a quality education?
    On paper, no. No one will modify the U.S. Constitution to do that. Umm, but, excuse me, it is happening everyday in America, not just in Detroit. We have all ready abandon quality education through our actions and results. The United States is at its lowest ranking disproportionately world wide in Reading, Mathematics, and Science. So your question should be, how can we reverse the abandonment of the systemic problem of miseducating children who do not receive a quality education in the United States of America?

    6. (Already, I'm hearing right wing extremists call for the abolition of public education entirely.)

    That's code talk for we ain't paying our tax dollars to educate those people, we already had to write-off $400 million plus to keep from wasting monies in a system that clearly could not be academically and economically sustained. Politicians will write that bad debt off one day soon. Simply put, it is not working for the good of taxpayers and certainly not for the children. Solution—So, I'll say this, today, some people's children need to get to reading books and learning on their own because they might find themselves as grandparents needing to educate their own grandchildren. Meaning, do not count on the System of Public Education to educate. Its failing millions daily.

    7. Heck, even many of those who do graduate often struggle when they get to college, finding out too late that they've been poorly prepared for the next level.

    That's me… And, I got the transcripts to prove it. Yet, not one person told me, you know if you don't get A's &B's in college you might have a very hard time finding a job especially being an African American.

    8. What Will Become of Public Education in Detroit?

    In closing, to answer your titled question, Public Education in Detroit has become the poster child for what not to repeat in the future of letting Blacks run their own school system. Proverb 29:18 states, "Where there is no vision the people perish." I am not saying a Black person cannot run a school, because it is happening everyday, to have an entire city's school system plummeted to its current state, well enough damage has been done for 30 years or so.

    Sadly, DPS Leadership had no fiscal and academic responsibility to be accountable to the students who missed a quality education.

    It will take another 30 plus years to remove the economic scars of the poorly educated. There is no guarantee it can be reversed. DPS is saddled with over $400 million in public debt. Do we need to put that kind of money in a system that is fundamentally broken on every logical economic factor? If someone has a vision to really shut out the current way of educating, then open your school doors and make a difference, please.

    Otherwise, finger pointing and the like is useless, when there is a generation of children who will end-up worse off than their parents on every economic strata sphere. Personally, the children in the school system are condition to expect easy over excellence and simple over superiority. It's a shame and downright soul crushing.

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