Saturday, March 6, 2010

Detroit's Public School System, Teacher's Union & School Board

A few days ago, I composed a post - Public Sector Unions: A Toxin, A Crisis & An Opportunity. Therein, I argued that public unions are a useless cancer on our economy and, in particular, that they are destroying our educational system. Comes today The Blogprof - a professor from Michigan commenting on the Detroit Public School System.

Some of the facts that he lays out in his post are stunning. Chief among them is that the Detroit Public School system (DPS) graduates only 25% of its students. And that figure is likely itself inflated as the DPS has, until recently, used "social promotion" to promote students to the next grade irrespective of their academic qualification. Moreover, of those who do come out of the DPS system, 33% of working-age adults, and 44% of all adults, read below the 6th grade level. The DPS school board and teacher's union are now in a fight with DPS emergency financial manager Robert Bobb over academic control of the city's schools.

The DPS School Board President is Otis Mathis, himself a graduate of the DPS system. Mr. Mathis composed the following e-mail for mass distribution last August:

Do DPS control the Foundation or outside group? If an outside group control the foundation, then what is DPS Board row with selection of is director? Our we mixing DPS and None DPS row's, and who is the watch dog?

Read the Blogprof's post for the rest of this horror story.

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...

I am of the opinion that the top 15 layers of NEA's leadership should be summarily executed.

Then the organization should be disbanded, and anyone who is a member should be required to take the SATs, and score not less than an 800 to ever be allowed to have a professional teacher's license again.

Also: You can turn down the opportunity to take the test if you don't wish to teach, but if you take it and fail it, you owe the school system 35% of your salary for the last 20 years (or total time spent teaching, whichever is less) in reparation for doing a crappy job.

Return to the little red schoolhouse model -- teachers get directly paid by the parents of the students, and between the two of them they contract for things like class size and expected metrics for success (teachers can set parental obligations, too, of course).

Funding for this can be handled with vouchers to cover a certain amount of expense, and there can be special needs vouchers for the really obvious problem cases.

Teachers are then responsible for using the funds collected from the parents to arrange for a teaching space and supplies for classroom use -- probably by renting/leasing said space from existing school facilities which have been sold to businesses (possibly formed by consortiums of principles and administrators), and which likely will contract to supply things like lunch rooms, playgrounds, and other services.

A true free-trade model for the educational system.

Who wants to bet it would work 100% or near enough?