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