Tag: Motor City Dropout Factories


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Watch: Detroit’s Giant Dropout Factory


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When it comes to failing traditional school districts, none are as abysmal as Detroit Public Schools. From levels of functional illiteracy that rival every urban system to scandals such as…

When it comes to failing traditional school districts, none are as abysmal as Detroit Public Schools. From levels of functional illiteracy that rival every urban system to scandals such as last week’s involving disgraced former school board president Otis Mathis, the Motor City school district is now under virtual state receivership for the second time. By the time the city decides whether or not to place on the ballot a referendum on whether to hand control of the district to Dave Bing, at least 3,788 kids will have likely dropped out (based on the estimated dropout numbers for the Class of 2007).

But it is how the district dooms the futures of young men and women to prison and poverty that makes its systemic failures an atrocity. Resident Youtuber Fonrilloon captures this succinctly in his seven-minute documentary. Watch, listen and consider what shall be done with this worst of America’s dropout factories. Then think about the schools in your communities which are likely only doing slightly better than this one.

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Read: Diversity Department


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What the dropout nation is reading about:

1. John Fensterwald notes some new teachers union antics on the Race to the Top front. The NEA’s California affiliate and its locals are intoning to districts that they shouldn’t sign the memorandums of understanding required to receive Race funds. Other NEA and AFT affiliates will likely take similar steps — or even

A student at the Codman Academy charter school looks at college options.

What the dropout nation is reading about:

  1. John Fensterwald notes some new teachers union antics on the Race to the Top front. The NEA’s California affiliate and its locals are intoning to districts that they shouldn’t sign the memorandums of understanding required to receive Race funds. Other NEA and AFT affiliates will likely take similar steps — or even offer their own alternate visions (as seen in Pennsylvania) as other state legislatures ignore their lobbying and entreaties.
  2. Meanwhile in Tennessee, outgoing Gov. Phil Bredeson is pushing to use student test score data in evaluating teacher performance in a special session. The state’s largest teachers union has its own thoughts. Of course.
  3. By the way, my American Spectator colleague, Joseph Lawler, offers his own skeptical thoughts about Race to the Top, looking at Massachusett’s reform efforts (which may soon sit on Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk).  In Kentucky, the Bluegrass Policy Institute takes aim at state legislators for offering a Trojan Horse version of Race reforms (HT to EducationNews). And Jamie Davis O’Leary looks at what he describes as Ohio’s embarrasing Race reform plans.
  4. James Guthrie takes some time at Education Next to assess whether school reform is actually happening. He has his answer. I would say that it is happening, but still incomplete.
  5. Monise Seward is none too pleased with the results from the Southern Education Foundation’s report on public education in the southern states. Her biggest issue: “the correlation between minority status and/or poverty with low academic expectations by the ‘experts’ and public education institutions.” The lack of discussion about over-diagnosis of black and Latino males (along with white males) is particularly jarring to her.
  6. At the New York Review of Books, David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow read over the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ report on sex abuse in juvenile prisons and jails. Let’s just say that they are more shocked by the evidence than yours truly. If anything, America’s juvenile justice system is sometimes even more shameful in the pervasive neglect, abuse and denial of due process rights to children than the woeful public schools this publication covers.
  7. EdTrust releases their report on addressing achievement gaps in the age of Race to the Top and No Child. From its perspective, it isn’t enough to just close the gap. More thoughts from yours truly this weekend.
  8. Mike Antonucci notes that the president of the AFT’s California affiliate has some choice thoughts about parents who support the newly-enacted “parent trigger” in the state’s Race to the Top-driven school reforms passed yesterday. No comment.
  9. This headshaker of the week comes from the News Leader in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. And the lack of thought starts at the headline: “We can’t let charter schools steal funds from public education.” Pardon me, but public charter schools are part of the public education system, right? Or am I — and virtually everyone else covering education — just dreaming?
  10. While Michigan politicians aren’t even considering handing over control of Detroit’s traditional district to Mayor Dave Bing, Wisconsin is still picking over whether Milwaukee’s mayor will gain control over that city’s public schools. As reported in the Journal-Sentinel, one parent opposed to mayoral control asks: “How in the world does excluding parents from selecting their school leadership encourage them to participate in the education of their children?” Everyone in the hearing savvy about the politics of school boards elections likely laughed under their breath and paid him no more mind.
  11. And finally, the debate between education civil rights activists such as Gary Orfield and the charter school movement over diversity in charters is the subject of my latest National Review report. As I hinted at in the piece, it’s easy for those in the ivory tower to go on and on about diversity when they have the choice to not send their children to the nation’s worst dropout factories and academic failure mills. Integration only works if the schools are of the kind that all children can achieve their respective educational destinies.

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More on Motor City Dropout Factories


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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…

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.

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