Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager is not only increasing the number of privately managed charter schools, but has imposed a contract that will permit class sizes of 41 in grades K-3 and 61 in grades 6-12.
This is a disgrace, as the children of Detroit are being sacrificed to save money.
Frankly it is strange that the district schools will be replaced by charter schools, because charter schools in Detroit underperform in comparison to the district schools.
As the public schools are strangled and as the emergency manager literally drives children out of them and into the charter schools, the question arises as to whether public education will survive at all in Detroit. Or will the public schools be the dumping ground for the children rejected by the charters? Does the state have an obligation to maintain public education?
In Highland Park, the ACLU is suing the district and the state of Michigan for failing to meet educational standards.
A reader who identifies him/herself as “labor lawyer” answers the question.
|If, as seems likely, Detroit lacks the $ to support minimal standards in its public schools, Michigan should step in with supplemental funding. The state created the city and delegated to the city the state’s obligation to educate the children. If the state’s creature (the city) cannot meet its delegated obligation, the state should be held accountable. Viewed in constitutional terms, Michigan is obligated under the 14th Amendment’d Equal Protection clause to treat each citizen more or less the same. By delegating the education responsibility to Detroit and then standing by while Detroit underfunds education (either by political choice or fiscal necessity) and other Michigan communities adequately fund education, Michigan is denying the children in Detroit equal protection.At the federal level, a “no child left behind” concept — if applied literally rather than figuratively/politically — suggests that the federal govt should step in to provide additional funding where a city/state cannot afford to adequately fund the public schools. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the Republicans (or the Obama/Duncan Dept of Ed) who love NCLB to put their $ where their mouths are and actually spend some federal $ helping the Detroit children who are being left behind.
A second comment by Labor lawyer: