Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Context is important.

As you probably know, the Detroit Free Press recently ran a multipart expose on corruption in Michigan's charter schools. (You can find my summary of the series in this Monkey Cage post). The reporting can stand by itself but you get a deeper appreciation if you consider how these revelations look to the people there. To do so, it helps to look at the other government and education stories that are currently in the news in Michigan.

From The Detroit News:
State education officials have approved a plan by Detroit Public Schools to slash pay 10 percent districtwide to help erase the district’s $127 million deficit.


The pay cut, which will impact all teachers and administrators starting Oct. 1, came after the district was forced to make budget cuts to offset expected revenue from a failed countywide tax millage. The wage concession for teachers would generate $13.3 million in savings. Districtwide, the savings will be $21.1 million.


Parents, educators and community stakeholders met Wednesday morning in front of Ludington Middle School to denounce the cuts, as well as the district’s previously announced plans to increase class sizes.

Brian Kindle has two children beginning Head Start in the fall, and a 15-year-old at Cody High School. He said he’s worried about how pay cuts will impact his kids.

“I say hands off first responders, kids and teachers,” he said. “I’m here to support parents and their children, and to ask Gov. Snyder not to vote for the proposal.”

Kindle said he fears additional cuts will result in further neglect of students in the classroom.

“We should have classrooms on every corner, instead of liquor stores,” he said. “That would be great, but we don’t have a society that encourages it. But I will remain on the forefront supporting our children.”


“This is going to affect my whole financial situation, and it’s going to have a huge impact on my family,” she said. “It’s also going to impact the way we teach, because all teachers go into their own pockets to spend for classroom supplies, and now that can’t happen.”

Cherri Calhoun, a secretary at Ludington, said if she did not have her mom living with her, she’d be homeless.

“As it is now, I’m already struggling to pay my mortgage and my mom helps me pay my bills,” she said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to find a part-time job now.”

Calhoun said to make matters worse, she is in a financial bind from the recent flooding in Metro Detroit.

“I just bought a new furnace and the water heater was relatively new and I’m going to have to replace the water heater,” she said. “This is horrible. I’ve got all these bills and I can’t afford to do anything.”

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