Governor Snyder’s Plan To Erase Public Education In Detroit


Here in Detroit, the worst of what many of us have long suspected about Gov. Snyder’s intentions toward our city and our schools may really be happening, because Snyder doesn’t even need to hide those intentions anymore. No more need for cover of darkness when the light of day will do just fine. Snyder’s plan to ‘save’ Detroit Public Schools, meaning to supposedly improve education for Detroit’s schoolchildren while wiping out the massive debt that persists even as the DPS plantation is now being overseen by its fourth emergency manager, is essentially to dissolve the concept of public schools altogether in Detroit. According to his plan that was made public two days ago:

The old company — the existing DPS — would serve only to pay off the district’s debt. It would do that by directing the 18 mills the district collects from a non-homestead tax to a fund that will steadily erase the debt load.

The new entity will focus solely on educating the 47,000 students who attend DPS. The structure will be similar to that in the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school districts, which emergency managers converted to charter school districts as a way to separate the debt from the new districts.

But because charter schools can’t levy millages under state law, the old school districts have to remain in place as an institution to collect taxes and transfer the revenue to debt payments.

Because of the political realities in Detroit, Snyder would most likely have to label the arrangement in Detroit something different than an all-charter district. Rather, he would likely call it a Local Education Agency, or LEA, that will maintain some form of the Detroit Public Schools name, but little of its institutional structure.

Now that there has been some pushback, Snyder has suddenly decided to put it on ice for a minute until he can figure a better way to package the deal, but that hardly means he is backing away from his dream for a DPS plantation. What Snyder also proposes to do, and what was addressed at the DPS School Board meeting on Thursday evening by the embattled and understandably outraged publicly elected Detroit Board of Education, is to shove the School Board out on the same ice flow with the ‘old company’, away from having anything to do with the students and safely smothered by the Emergency Manager who would still be in control of their every limited move.

Meanwhile, Snyder proposes that he and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will appoint a brand new board to oversee the half of the school system that is actually involved in educating children. This is nothing short of a shell game, and at Thursday’s meeting, Board member LaMar Lemmons spoke for the majority of the board when  he spoke to the audience members present insisting that what they want is to be “made whole” and be allowed to do the job they were elected to do by the people of Detroit. As it stands now, Board member Elena Herrada frequently refers to the elected board as the School Board in Exile because all their powers and privileges have been stripped away to the point where they have even had to fight with the EM for a place to hold their meetings, sometimes even being barred from their own DPS administration building. This is something I have witnessed with my own eyes.

Currently the parents of Detroit’s children have no say-so over the education of their own children, a perverse system that is chopped up into three entities, none of them overseen by publicly-elected leadership; the charter schools, Emergency Manager #4 Darnell Early, and the badly-flawed and scandal-ridden Educational Achievement Authority, another shining example of Gov. Snyder’s incompetence when it comes to how to fix DPS. What Snyder is proposing, unless he is forced to walk it back, is to remove Detroit Public Schools from local accountability. And no, I’m sorry, but allowing Mayor Duggan to join with him in appointing their own choices for a separate school board does not count as local accountability. Local accountability is when we get what all the other less dark-skinned school districts are getting in the State of Michigan; the respect of our right to vote and the respect for our right to vote for and elect our own school board members in the City of Detroit.

This is not a plantation, Gov. Snyder. That big front porch has got you confused.


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21 Replies to “Governor Snyder’s Plan To Erase Public Education In Detroit”

  1. I have been predicting this very thing since the early 80’s. My very first thought of it was in high school in the early 70’s and the subject of a Civics/Government class report. Of course the more conservative people I told this to were skeptical yet they actually supported the idea of course. I was called radical by friends and dangerous by some local politicians. I am somewhat disturbed and sad by the agenda that I predicted has come true. The CHRISTIAN Right Wing however is pleased that Americans have given into fear and elected officials that will bring about a new way of old thinking that will put us dead last in education and first place in Fascism and theocratic indoctrination.

  2. This monstrosity that is the current Republican Party would have had likable Ike calling out the tanks.

  3. Speaking of which, our whole history might have taken a more benign course if Eisenhower had selected Margaret Chase Smith as his veep instead of Richard Nixon.

  4. You get what you vote (or choose not to vote) for. Repubs and Dems believe and act differently, but ask most people and they’ll say “all politicians are the same.” A gutted educational system means dumber voters and it is easier for the rich and powerful to stay in power. I’m surprised they just don’t close all the schools and refuse to educate kids at all. Either way, “you asked for it you got it Detroit”.

  5. The citizens of Detroit didn’t ask for it. Perhaps the majority of people in Michigan who voted for Republicans did. But even if every resident of Detroit had voted for Democrats, that would not have been enough to defeat the Republicans. So actually, the citizens of Detroit – those who remain – don’t deserve this.

  6. When the Republican Governor chose to impose a legalistic martial law on Detroit- Democracy ended; with Republican cheers, and ample blame-throwing towards Dems.

    Result- Republicans could initiate an auto-da-fe on Detroit, and Pox News ditto heads would think it’s all the Democrats fault.

  7. That what you’d like an uneducated populace that is easy to manipulate and deceive.

    I love how Conservatives always point to Detroit as a Democratic failure, it goes so far beyond that. For the simple minded, Detroit’s fall is in direct correlation with the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, which believe it or not is the fault of both parties. Yet it’s mainly the Republicans who don’t care about bringing those jobs back or increasing taxes on the American businesses who choose to outsource. Educate yourself before flapping your gums on shit you know absolutely nothing about.

  8. I love how Conservatives always point to Detroit as a Democratic failure, it goes so far beyond that. For the simple minded, Detroit’s fall is in direct correlation with the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, which believe it or not is the fault of both parties. Yet it’s mainly the Republicans who don’t care about bringing those jobs back or increasing taxes on the American businesses who choose to outsource. They need to educate themselves.

  9. Detroit is just a city, but how about these states

    Republicans love running state deficits.
    Wisconsin – $2.2 billion budget deficit
    New Jersey – $7.25 billion deficit
    Pennsylvania – $1.8 billion deficit
    Kansas – $1 billion deficit
    Arizona – $1.5 billion deficit
    Alaska – $3.5 billion deficit
    Alabama – $950 million deficit
    Louisiana – $1.6 billion deficit
    Alabama – $700 million deficit
    Michigan – $454 million deficit
    North Carolina – $445 million deficit
    Oklahoma – $600 million deficit
    Maryland – $1.2 billion deficit

    Democrats love running a surplus
    California $4.2 billion surplus
    Minnesota $1 billion surplus

  10. I love it when we democrats deny our own culpability in the republican elected official gains in 2014. The 2014 election saw record low voter participation and a huge number of dems stayed home. But I wanted to back that statement with facts because I don’t want to be a fixed news blowhard. Read the article this links to for yourself.
    Plain and simple, 2014 had a 1% lower turnout than 2010 and it was the lowest since 1990. In Michigan! Had we the dems voted, we the dems would have won! Elections matter!

  11. Why is this governor not hanging from a lamppost? The replacement of legally elected officials with an appointed dictator is tyranny. Sic semper tyrannis.

  12. Sunwyn I suggest you rethink your post. I don’t think it but some security guy could think you are threatening the governor. If you’re no careful they’ll be kicking your door down with guns drawn.

  13. Actually, it was a little known society called the Apathetic Americans!I don’t know the race or homeland of this society! However, I can tell that they show up every two years! Now, you know that for the most part, I don’t believe in genocide! However this society threatens the country by infiltrating progressive groups with their regressive ” know nothing, stay at home, don’t vote ” attitude! We must be vigilant to silence their voices!

  14. I don’t know how they missed this! When Blacks refused to pay into the White School Districts and used the monies for their own districts, the Schools seemed to be as well supplied!
    Immediately they invented tests that were supposed to make Black folks think they were stupid! When the ISTAT proved otherwise, the state Benedict the test saying it was divisive and convinced enough to kill the last chance for good education for minorities in Mississippi! My solution for Detriot!: Recall and refuse! The noise made will stop the Red Train in its stocks! IF you don’t pay taxes into their get rich quick schemes, you may find that the saints who restored the water will enjoy teaching your kids! If not, by not giving Snydet you money, you may have enough to do it yourselves!

  15. The public school system is under siege across the United States. Detroit is simply the most dramatic and immediate situation. I live here.

    School income is property-tax based, the first inequity. It is further challenged by outsourcing of services, including education itself, through charter schools, which had little accountability to school district, voters, or governance at any level.

    As mediocre to dismal academic results surfaced, more oversight by non-elected, publicly paid officials (imported, along with consultants, assistants, and traveling expenses) added to deficit. The longer the district was “managed by the state,” the higher the deficit rose, the less the elected board was allowed to do, and the more consecutive emergency managers rotated.

    The arithmetic:

    1 Entangled, embattled corporate/political cabal
    + 1 Governor seeking national attention

    = Lack of access to a public school education,
    Loss of civil rights, democracy.

  16. If I was physically able to do so I would string him up by the neck. However, I have an incurable, fatal, degenerative disease. I can barely stand on my own so effective action is impossible. I just lie here in bed all day encouraging people to start building guillotines. There is not much they can do to someone who is already dying.

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