Rotten Apples

Readers of today’s report on Detroit Public Schools certainly didn’t lack for their own thoughts. Two of them, however, stood out in different ways.

The aptly-named MI Man devoted eight paragraphs to discussing his wife’s experiences teaching in the Detroit system. While rightly noting that some of the district’s problems would be fixed if conservatives, liberals and communities would encourage the revival of “two-parent families” in the city’s worst neighborhoods, he fails to note the role of either the district’s AFT local or the low quality of instruction in fostering the city’s urban decay.

Roy, on the other hand, caught one of my moments of understatement, this related to the 3-minute reduction in teacher instructional days that the union won in the new contract. As he points out, the 3-minute a day reduction equals to slightly more than a full day of vacation time. Which does little for students who need as much instruction as possible. On the other hand, of course, given the condition of education in Detroit, are the kids really ill-served?

Those who want to see what the rest of Detroit looks like can check out this photo essay by Yves Marchand and Romain Meiffre. The photography is breathtaking. The city’s decay? Not so much. But it’s a reminder of what happens when cities forget to take care of the proverbial broken windows and fail to foster economic, social and educational growth. Decline is inevitable.