The Detroit News
Detroit — The Detroit Public Schools board controls the district's academics, not Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, a judge ruled today in an opinion that found Bobb "chose to ignore the board's academic plan completely" and "failed to perform his duty to consult" with the 11-member body. Bobb's decision to make all academic, educational and social policy for the districts more than 70,000 students "runs afoul" of the legislative intent of the emergency financial manager law under which Bobb was appointed by the governor in 2009, according to Wayne Circuit Judge Wendy Baxter.
"Mr. Bobb cannot usurp the elected board's authority over academics and curriculum matters by creating his own academic system and programs under the guise of facilities or that his contract with the governor required him to march forward in this way," Baxter wrote in her 34-page opinion.
The board members sued Bobb more than a year ago, claiming he overstepped his authority by making academic decisions and failing to consult with them.
As in DC, the next step is for teachers to choose a union president in Detroit who supports democracy, rather than oligarchy. Easy call: dump Keith Johnson.
From an email forward by Rog Lucido:
COURT DECLARES EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGER’S TAKEOVER OF DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS ILLEGAL
BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) and Detroit School Board Score Major Legal Victory
Against Market-Based Corporate Education Models
Ruling comes on the eve of crucial election in Detroit Federation of Teachers
The Wayne County Circuit Court held today that Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb has violated the law for the last 20 months by illegally taking control over the academic affairs of the Detroit Public Schools.
The Court held that Bobb had no legal authority to seize that power. It also declared that he had no educational expertise or experience — that “all [Bobb’s] study in education has emanated from unvetted sources, who may stand to benefit financially should his academic plans come to fruition and who have supplemented his pay.”
Finally, it held that his educational plan was a “fix” that was “short on teaching and learning wisdom,” an opportunity where some “stand to profit shielded …from the eye of public oversight of competitive bids” because of Bobb’s one-man rule.
In the words of the ruling, [Bobb] “was empowered to figure out how to pay for education fashioned by the Board. Instead he created education products he proposed to implement. His business paradigm envisions competitive marketplace schools where parents shop like consumers for the best schools with best being dictated by survival of the fittest principles of caveat emptor [buyer beware]. …Schools will compete for the best students, leaving less gifted children or those that come from households that somehow fail to present their children to school in the optimal ready-to-learn state, [to] fall by the wayside. Only schools with the best teachers will thrive and without encouragement to foster cooperation among and between teachers and schools, the weak perish.”
George Washington, an attorney who represented the Detroit school board, said “This decision is the beginning of the end of Bobb’s illegal dictatorship and of the pro-charter and anti-education policies that he has attempted to force down the throats of Detroit’s students and citizens. We will do everything necessary to enforce this decision.”
The decision comes on the eve of a crucial runoff election in the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Steve Conn, a long-time BAMN member who is a candidate for President on the Defend Public Education/Save Our Students slate, supported the lawsuit and hailed the decision. Keith Johnson, the current President of the DFT, has supported Bobb from the day he was appointed.
Shanta Driver, the National Chair of BAMN and one of the attorneys on the case, said “This decision rejects the educational program and the political methods that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and plutocrats like Bill Gates and Eli Broad have used in their attempt to destroy public education. The decision and Steve Conn’s election as President of the DFT will vastly strengthen the national fight against Duncan’s pro-charter, market-based competitive education model and will make it possible for us to repair the enormous damage that Duncan, through enforcers like Michelle Rhee and Robert Bobb, has already done to our children’s futures.”
Contacts: George B. Washington (attorney) 313-963-1921; 313-715-4886
Steve Conn 313-645-9340
Joyce Schon (attorney) 313-434-7075