“When did we stop believing in democracy? Not so long ago most Americans would have professed a belief that democracy shielded citizens from the callous excesses of distant power.


“Today in Michigan we’ve become mush-mouthed about democracy. On the one hand, we will still send our children to die thousands of miles away in its name. Yet back at home we scuttle it with barely a murmur — as if it were an ornate relic, no longer adequate for facing down the challenges of perennial budget shortfalls in our schools and municipalities since the financial collapse of 2008.
Flint’s water should have woken us up. Did it? If the reality of lead in tainted city water damaging the brains of Flint’s children isn’t enough to bring us back to our belief in citizen oversight of government, then we really have unilaterally surrendered. The citizens of Flint spoke out for months, but stripped of their democratic voice under emergency management, the problem developed unchecked.
Detroit lawmakers say keeping school board top priority


“If you’re finally paying attention now, then take note: The same power that poisoned Flint’s children — the power of state displacement of locally elected governance — announced last week that it intends to double down on the damage already visited upon the minds of Detroit’s children through Gov. Snyder’s newly unveiled plan for the city’s schools.

“Just as in Flint, the facts are now clear. Detroiters remember that before the succession of state interventions started in 1999 DPS had a $93 million dollar operating surplus, enrollment over 173,000, and academic gains. Six years of emergency management from Lansing since 2009 has widened the performance gap between Detroit’s students and their Michigan counterparts; enrollment has plummeted; and the district’s operating deficit and long term debt have smashed all previous records. Throughout those years, educational and financial professionals and impacted parents warned us, but stripped of an empowered Board to appeal to, the problems grew.”