By Allie Gross
December 19, 2016
Excerpt: “The result was a negative feedback loop. As students left, the district lost funds and had to make cuts. Maybe it nixed art, or got rid of a social worker. Maybe it crammed more kids into a classroom, or made the risky decision to get rid of on-site boiler operators. Maybe, if things were really tight, it shut down schools. These quick fixes in turn made the district less “competitive,” and so the kids who could leave eventually did. The district lost even more funding and sunk further into entropy. “It is akin to an arsonist adding an accelerant to a fire,” Peter Hammer, the director of the Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State’s law school, wrote in a 2012 paper on the effects of competition in DPS.”
By Dr. John Telford
‘SPEED – Saving Public Education with Excellence in Detroit: Charting our Cheated Children’
I have a vision in my heart and in my spirit and my soul
That Motown’s children in my chart will never have to pay the toll
Of poverty and ravaged mind, or end up dead or on the dole,
But will in EDUCATION find their life-affirming future goal.
By Dr. John Telford
The recent democratically elected but undemocratically dissolved School Board’s SPEED Slate running for the new Board includes six of the former Board, along with me. Those six former (and rightful) Board members are Tawana Simpson, LaMar Lemmons, Ida Short, Wanda Redmond, Elena Herrada, and Herman Davis. These individuals are running this fall for the state’s new and Lansing-engendered Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education. This impending new state-created Board, now to be reduced from the former eleven to only seven members, is the latest far-reaching effectuation of the unwarranted1999 state takeover of DPS and its disenfranchising followup emergency management law. (To repeat: In1999, DPS had a surplus of $114 million and its students’ test scores were at the state midpoint and rising. After all those years under state mismanagement, DPS is $3.5 billion in debt, and except for the “Educational Achievement” Authority (EAA) scores, DPS scores are the nation’s worst.) Our SPEED Slate is also endorsed by longtime schools activist Helen Moore, and every DPS employee had better pray that at least four of us get elected on November 8. I am funding my individual Board campaign with my own money to avoid any appearance of being bought by and beholden to anyone who has interests contrary to the educational progress of our schoolchildren. I served as this recent and RIGHTFUL Board’s chosen Superintendent pro bono in 2012-2013, driving myself to work in my own car every day, attending all of its meetings during the past five years and sitting with it at its ‘Board-in-exile’ table as its ‘Superintendent-in-exile.’
I have drafted these eight initial but essential positional Agenda Items for our SPEED Slate (as well as for any of the numerous additional Board candidates who are prepared to discuss these Items on my Sunday afternoon radio show at3:00 on WCHB AM1200 and hopefully set forth a similar agenda, since if a candidate has articulated no coherent plan, that individual perforce cannot be a credible and effective candidate or a credible and effective Board member):
By Zenobia Jeffries
September 6, 2016
Excerpt: “Our intention is to do as much in outreach around the city and get into as many churches and community centers where they’re happy to have us,” said Gloria House, who is a former member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a historic civil rights organization. She noted that DIFSM teachers volunteered in community centers this summer, while D-REM is working with other institutions to expand the program this fall. It’s about the movement, not a fixed institution, House said.
….The Detroit Freedom Schools Movement is still in its beginning stages. Teachers create their own plans and curricula for now, said Aurora Harris, a DISFM volunteer educator and professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn. The program provides cultural activities, along with the core subjects of math, science, English/language arts, and social studies. During the school year, it will continue as an after-school program at various locations, as D-REM and the educators work to expand their reach. So far, one of the locations where the program will begin in early September is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, one of the world’s largest institutions dedicated to African American history and culture.
House and Harris say the idea behind the DIFSM program is self-determination.
“I think as we do this, we will also see parents become more politically active and engaged,” said House. “Maybe not immediately, but who knows.”
By Allie Gross
August 9, 2016
“The Education Achievement Authority, a state-run school district created by Governor Rick Snyder in 2011, owes Detroit Public Schools over $14 million, according to emails uncovered by WXYZ.
According to the station’s education reporter Kim Russell, while DPS’s deficit was ballooning the past few years, the EAA was not only not paying rent (its 15 schools are housed in DPS-owned buildings) but it was ignoring bills for services, such as IT and security, provided by the traditional school district.”