Can we just split the DPS baby, and maybe stop shouting?


“Democracy is the worship of jackals by jackasses.” – H.L. Mencken

Preliminary reports say City Council experienced some prodigious hyperbole today. People with no better way to spend a Tuesday crowded the 13th floor to gnash teeth over an ADVISORY ballot question about DPS governance. Asking people their opinion will violate the will of the people. Something about slavery. If we don’t do this, the Republicans will flog the children. It’s all so dreary and unnecessary. Also loud.

What this town really needs is quiet. Also a lot less prayer, but mainly quiet. Especially students. You try memorizing your multiplication tables when some overly earnest honky from BAMN is shouting THE PEOPLE UNITED… all the God damn time. How do we create this quiet? Give everyone what they want. Divide DPS into two districts.

As best as anyone can tell, roughly half the population (give or take) likes the elected school board status quo. The other half of the population (give or take) wants something different. Maybe that something different is the pure mayoral control Bob Berg’s group proposes, or maybe it’s Charles Pugh’s hybrid idea. Either way, Detroit gets two districts. An elected school board governs one district, and the other is governed by a method to be determined by voters.

The schism process should create two districts with no initial differences, except for governing structure. Each district would accept the current union contracts as adopted by DPS. District assets could be divided equally by a draft, or with the help of a mutually agreed upon independent arbitrator. The districts also split DPS’ liabilities. Both would operate using the same per pupil funding, and serve the entire city. Parents and students are free to choose between the two.

As with East and West Berlin, this dual district model creates a perfect test of ideology in action. Let’s say the mayoral control district decides to close or consolidate schools. The elected board district could take them over, and attempt to make them work. Everyone wins.

Maybe one district will prove superior, perhaps the competition will be motivation enough to lift student achievement in both districts, or maybe the experiment will yield no difference in academic performance. At least this way we’ll know what form of governance (assuming it makes a difference) best serves the Detroit’s public school students. And everyone can lower the volume to a reasonable level. (Freep)

Categories : Jackals & Jackasses


Downriver's Friend
July 27th, 2010 at 6:45 pm




(@DF: )


Splitting the baby won’t work.

The resources are already split: the lions share to the so-called PLUs, e.g. the frats, the sorors, the tiny what’s left middle class. And on the other side, the poors, the not PLUs, the not Friends and Family.

You can guess where the votes are for mayoral control, and where the money is. Trouble is, the first group has moved out of the city in large numbers, but those who are left should be happy to take the leavings, and if not, be shoved off a cliff or over into the East Side if possible.

That divide isn’t being stuck back together to get a better disposition of the goodies.


This idea is intriguing, although I’m sure you meant it as a Swiftian modest proposal.

Here’s the problem (and I hope Teach 313 weighs in on this, since I’m looking at this from the perspective of someone who’s opted not to send my kids to DPS):

You can have good teachers, good administration and a remarkably competent school board, and if kids are still coming to school hungry, tired, undisciplined and hopelessly underprepared because nobody read to them or talked to them about basic skills like identifying colors and counting to 10 or bothered to get them to Head Start where they could learn those things, the schools will still struggle. I’m sure there are plenty of kids in DPS right now whose grandmothers are my age, and DPS wasn’t great back when I was in school (although there were little bright spots here and there). That’s three generations of people coming out of school woefully undereducated, and then having kids who’ll suffer the same fate.

I also think that the administration level of DPS is horribly bloated. David Adamany, ex-president of Wayne State and superintendent of the reform board back when the state took over the schools, did some good work and then the guy after him (whose name escapes me) promptly added yet another level of administrators. We don’t need assistant to the assistant superintendent for eraser cleaning, we need teachers and social workers.


In public agencies, you add a layer of administration because it’s too hard to fire or demote the managers you find there, so you create another layer of management to bring in your own people. It gets to be pretty absurd after a while, like a wedding cake gone crazy.

As for the performance artists at council today, there are a lot of people in Detroit who just aren’t getting enough love and attention at home. I think many of DPS’ problems could be solved if folks sat down at table for dinner with the TV off.

And while we’re eating and listening, we can teach the little ones numbers and colors so they won’t grow up and vote for Rev Williams.

See . . . we killed 2 birds with one meal.


My bad, I meant “Rev Murphy,”


Amy & RKCede said it all. The division is already here and it ain’t anyway equal. Been to Cass Tech lately? Been to Pershing? They make separate but equal into a goal.


I think Evergreen meant Rev Murray.


it just dawned ON me that the Rev was just trying to get a rousing rendition of ONward Christian Soldiers started

Camille Desmoulins
July 28th, 2010 at 9:41 am

Step 1: Literacy tests for all school board members.

Step 2: No chronic public masturbators.


Well, it’s a start, Camille.

RKCede, you make a good point about the shrinking middle class. Back when that story came out about DPS scoring the lowest on a national test, I remember someone making a comment on a Facebook page that the real ad part was that no kids scored in the higest category “not the kids of UDM or WSU profs, no one.” Here’s the thing: I have friends who fit that description, and by and large they either 1) never moved into the city or 2) send them to private school if they do live here.


can anyone in the shouting crowd explain how an eliterate and unethical person was selecte to run thechool board? thank you b.markaity


Sure, I can tell you, bmarkaity.

On an elected school board composed of mostly blind people, the one-eyed masturbator is voted president.

Why was this school board elected? Because a bunch of voters who don’t have children in public schools voted them in. Why do these voters vote them in? Because their pastors tell them that it’s the Christian thing to do. That’s just how Detroit works. Or doesn’t work. All the more reason why folks who have no stakes in public education in Detroit should not be voting for school board members. They should just skip over that section of the ballot. They should do us all a favor by not voting in sections that have nothing to do with them. It would really help the kids. And the kids hurt when people who have no stake in public education in Detroit vote for these idiots, or for that alleged sex offender.

I don’t have children in public schools. But my neighbors have children in public schools. And sometimes my neighbors put signs on their lawn saying who they support for the school board. And then I go out and vote for whichever school board member they endorsed on their lawns. I’m a good neighbor like that. My neighbors care about their kids’ education, and they’re good neighbors, so I go out and vote for whichever school board candidate they support. Or, if they don’t put up a sign, I say, “Hey, Malcolm. Who should I support for school board. You’ve got kids in public school; right?” and then they tell me who they want on the board.

If I made the wrong decision by picking the candidate they put out a lawn sign for, or picking out the candidate they suggested I vote for, then it is on their consciences, not mine. If my neighbor doesn’t put out signs or doesn’t recommend a candidate for school board, I just skip that section of the ballot altogether. Detroit would be so much better off if folks who had no stake in public education did as I do.

If you don’t believe all this, stay tuned for the Detroit election results next Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday or whenever Detroit finally gets their counts finalized). You’ll see why it is how it is.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.