A Call to Mobilize and Organize Positive Educational Experiences for Detroit Children
Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management (D-REM)
Governors Engler, Granholm and Snyder, Mayor Duggan and their appointed Emergency Managers have ruthlessly pillaged the Detroit Public School System. The system’s immense debt is directly attributable to the racist policies, financial malfeasance and theft of this Republican administration. It is impossible for our children to receive an education in the wreckage that is left. We have to respond to this crisis with our own ingenuity and community self-determination.
The first stage of the current schools crisis began in 1999 when Governor John Engler dismissed the duly elected Detroit School Board, and in its place appointed individuals who would cooperate with the City and State power elite to plunder the $1.7 billion education surplus that had been recently passed. Following that outrageous violation of democratic process came the appointments of one Emergency Manager after another, the most recent being Darnell Earley, administrators whose slash and burn tactics, greed and malfeasance wrecked Detroit’s public education system beyond recognition. Now Governor Snyder has decided to divide what is left of the system into two “separate” boards – an “old” board saddled with the formality of paying the enormous debt, which under Snyder’s scenario is the currently elected Detroit School Board and a “new” board consisting solely of mouthpieces appointed by Snyder and Duggan until far into the future. There is a further legitimization of for-profit charters in Detroit and the theft of Detroit schoolchildren’s money by suburban districts and charters by the creation of an overseeing Detroit School Commission to cover up the destruction and assist parents and children in further abandoning DPS.
Corporate policies and strategies and the racist political objectives have thereby ensured that several generations of our children have been robbed of an education. Thousands of Detroit children have suffered through years of disorganized curricula and sporadic class schedules, administrative corruption and irresponsibility under Emergency Management, ineffective school-parent communication, and poorly maintained, unsafe facilities.
There is nothing in such a degraded system that can provide the knowledge, skill sets and social development that our children need. We support the actions of hundreds of DPS teachers who refuse to cooperate further with the Emergency Management’s failed policies and systematic destruction of the school system. These policies deprive our children of an education as they fatten corporate interests and the pockets of depraved appointed administrators who are not accountable to our communities or our local elected officials. We support the teachers’ stand against further exploitation of Detroit’s school children. Continue reading
The State of Michigan is developing a State Water Strategy; Public comments are due by August 28 @ Mifirstname.lastname@example.org
If you care about our water, send them yours!
The draft state water strategy document entitled “Sustaining Michigan’s Water Heritage” is available at: DEQ – Michigan’s Water Strategy
A sample comment written by a D-REM member is below… Your comments need (should?) NOT be as voluminous.
COMMENTS ON STATE WATER STRATEGY
“… access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.”
–Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (P. 23 ¶ 30)
The State of Michigan’s attempt to formulate a water strategy suitable for the times we live in – and the context of water riches that define our state – must reckon with some brutal realities. Broadly, these include the following conditions and obstacles to water justice:
1. Exploding economic inequality
2. Innovative policies undermining democracy – especially in Michigan’s urban communities – like Governor Snyder’s “emergency management” statutes
3. Our evil heritage of racism, as well as other forms of unjust domination
4. Our planetary climate emergency, and our related contemporary energy crisis
5. Powerful governments and corporate special interests exploiting wars as means of increasing their power and wealth
The existing draft strategy’s minimalist treatment – or rather avoidance – of such realities leads it to pin hopes for reasonable access to affordable water on a “communication strategy”. This undermines any confidence that might otherwise be placed in this draft policy document. We need strategies that face the real world, not disengaged rhetorical guides to management best practices.
by Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management
According to the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), nearly 36,000 households in Detroit are facing water shut offs as soon as the weather clears. The Water Department is targeting commercial accounts first with an outstanding debt of about $20 million dollars. In the same breath, however, they list another “first.” They will permanently shut off 8,355 households that have turned their own water back on. Calling these “illegal hookups” the Water Department is trying to criminalize desperation. The fact that people have been driven to this extreme step, along with 26,000 other households behind on bills is clear evidence of the inadequacy of Mayor Duggan’s assistance programs. Continue reading
Whereas: We, the people, of D-REM, a coalition of more than 50 community based organizations, and citizens of the city of Detroit, Wayne County and the state of Michigan do hereby demand that a moratorium be placed on all Tax Foreclosures for a minimum of one year to allow our government to develop a comprehensive plan to address the extraordinary and devastating number of foreclosures that are slated to occur in 2015. It is critically important that our government consider the implementation of the people’s recommendations placed in this resolution to deal with this problem of tax foreclosures that has reached catastrophic proportions.
Whereas: D-REM is extremely concerned about the tax foreclosure crisis that is threatening to overwhelm the quality of life and neighborhood stability in the city of Detroit for many, many years into our future. There are 62,000 properties headed to tax foreclosure in 2015 citywide. More than 30,000 properties will go to a tax foreclosure Auction to be sold for $500.00 or to the highest bidder if nothing is done in the interim.
Whereas: More than 100,000 residents of Detroit could potentially be displaced; that is the equivalent of 1/6 of the city’s population. This would be devastating to those families that are forced to leave their homes. It will be equally horrific for those families that have paid their taxes and will continue to be residents of the city because of the conditions that follow the unprecedented number of foreclosures.
Whereas: We, the people, implore our government at every level, local, county, state and federal to establish economic justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for our common defense, promote the general welfare and to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Continue reading
Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval of the Plan of Adjustment is not in the best interests of Detroiters. The plan, submitted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, supported by Mayor Duggan and Gov. Snyder, protects banks, gives away public resources, and has no method to revitalize the city.
We object! Continue reading