"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, December 14, 2009

Detroit Parent Group's CEO Calls for Jailing Teachers

Detroit's official unemployment rate is at 17 percent, and the poverty rate in 2007 before the 2008 Wall Street heist was 33 percent. No telling what it is now. And ever since the conservatives prevailed in a 5-4 decision in the Milliken v. Bradley case in 1974, the apartheid future of Detroit schools has been sealed. Today Detroit schools have a 219 million dollar deficit.

None of this, however, seems to matter to outfits like The Skillman Foundation, a corporate non-profit tax dodge in Michigan with a 50 year history of accumlating tax credits for friends of the Ford family, all the while pushing public policies that are corporate friendly. The Foundation is a founding funder of the the Detroit Parent Network, and it was this weekend that the Network's CEO (yes, Virginia, parent groups now have CEOs) of that illustrious group, Sharlonda Buckman, called for jailing Detroit teachers, who must be to blame for the latest NAEP math scores for Detroit, which show that children in the City without Hope don't give a neighborhood rat's ass anymore about how they do on, yet, another meaningless test.

While Sharlonda doesn't seem to care about is that the corporations who pay her for her services, or the State of Michigan, or the U. S. Department of Education don't seem to have any plan to help alleviate the $219 million dollar hole in the Schools' budget or to help improve learning in the Schools. Never mind that that Skillman Foundation has almost a half billion in corporate assets (non-profit assets, of course) that they are not interested sharing to pay down the Schools' debt. What Sharlonda and her handlers are supporting is the plan to take $500 per month from each teacher's salary to bring down the budget deficit--with a promise to pay back at retirement time. Hah!:

Buckman also had harsh words for a group of teachers who are in favor of striking instead of approving a new contract that forces them to give up $500 per month or $250 per paycheck as an investment. The money will be given to the district to help plug a $219 million deficit, and it will be returned when they retire.

So let's join Sharlonda in urging that all Detroit teachers be jailed. With the teachers out the way, maybe we can begin to focus on the real criminals here.


  1. This is a ridiculous suggestion and a very good way of avoiding a real solution to a crucial problem. Teachers have a very hard time motivating students, especially in urban areas such as Detroit. It might be a better idea for the Detroit Parents Groups to meet with the teachers and offer some suggestions for a more productive educational experience for the students and how they can help these teachers rather than suggesting jail sentences.

  2. Of course. This sounds much like what I've been asked to do here in California. When, oh when, will people understand that the teacher is not the only thing influencing achievement. Poverty, hunger, violence in the home and in the neighborhood, the list goes on. I am so sorry for Detroit teachers who are working in extremely difficult conditions, yet they are being asked to give more. Teachers don't have much more to give.