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If you fire an elected school board, hand the schools to the mayor....is that "school reform"?

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 06:29 PM
Original message
If you fire an elected school board, hand the schools to the mayor....is that "school reform"?
Edited on Thu May-20-10 06:34 PM by madfloridian
Or would it be called a hostile takeover of public education?

That appears to be what is happening in Detroit. When a mayor is given control it is easier to get things done. The democracy part of electing a school board just takes longer.

That is part of the plan for Detroit schools, with Robert Bobb leading the way. Governor Granholm has given him her total support, so what he wants he gets.

Are Detroit & New Orleans Models for Reforming Public Education?

Educators in Detroit recently announced a plan, the Excellent Schools Plan, to turn around the citys education system. Unfortunately Detroit has been plagued with low graduation rates and poor performance in the citys public schools for years. Thus, the plan to improve its school system is getting a lot of attention from those interested in education reform.

The plan would have:

- Detroits Mayor take over the citys public schools

- Eliminate the elected school board

- Close underperforming schools

- Encourage parents to choose the best options for schools for their children

- Open new schools to replace the failing ones

- Create competition between charter schools, public schools, and private schools for students in the hope that the best schools will attract students

The plan is controversial as it would do away with the elected school board and would place a lot of authority in the hands of the mayor. Is this the blueprint for the future?


There is a coalition of private companies formed to accomplish the "reform" of Detroit schools. No one seems quite sure just how such companies got control of a public school system.


Members of Excellent Schools Detroit talk about the citywide education plan Wednesday. From left, they are: New Urban Learning Founder Doug Ross, Skillman Foundation chief Carol Goss and Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb. (PATRICIA BECK/Detroit Free Press)

Here is more about the struggle between the "reformers" and the school board which was elected.

School board asks Granholm to rein in Bobb

Granholm refuses, says he has her complete trust.




The letter asks Gov. Jennifer Granholm and State Superintendent Michael Flanagan to direct Bobb to immediately restore to the superintendent and Board of Education the necessary mechanisms for the operation and implementation of all academic programming, including the after-school and summer school programs.


Sounds like a hostile takeover to me. Here is Granholm's reply.

What makes this a strange turn of events is its futility; Granholm has consistently backed Bobbs claims of authority over the board since she appointed him in more than a year ago to take over the school districts finances. Granholms office quickly shot down the request, saying they are on Bobbs side.


Some interesting comments from The Detroit Blog:

Not so simple

And so, we get the politicians we deserve -- the weak-ass, dithering bureaucrats who smell this lust for simplicity and sate it by selling us policy snake oil and charmers dressed up as revolutionaries. Who has time to think ahead about the education of our children when there are elections to win, cabinet appointments to pursue and pockets to line? Why make a long-term investment in the state's largest, most troubled district when selling it out for the short-term is so much easier?

Gov. Granholm basically did just this when, rather than grapple with the thorny issues of how public schools get funded in this state, she chose only to appoint Bobb to "clean up" Detroit. So what if reform is what we really need? Education-funding reform is too complex for feint-hearted pols, doesn't easily lend itself to bumper stickers and speeches to the Economic Club. But everyone can understand the idea of "a new sheriff" in town. (Not that we don't need a firm administrative hand, mind you, but we need real reform even more.)

Meanwhile, in the city, Bobb has done his part to advance the state-sanctioned narrative, with his non-stop press conferences and show pony firings and chest-thumping predictions that, under his leadership, a district long-plagued with devastating structural issues would see a $17-million surplus within a year. All it would take was his iron-clad will, he intimated.


And what about the deficit he is supposed to be fixing?

"Last year, Bobb cut spending to get the deficit to $218.9 million, and then submitted a 2009-10 budget that projected the district deficit would not grow, but have a $17-million surplus. But by October, that budget was overspent by $20 million. The deficit has ballooned since then; next year's budget is expected to start off with a $332-million deficit, according to the monthly report.

Still, no worries, we're being told. Bobb's got this. DPS will have it all under control by, oh, 2013 assuming, of course, he's around to keep implementing his plan. Which he almost certainly won't be." So when all the smoke and mirrors have finally been cleared out, DPS will likely still have a humongous budget deficit. And lousy schools. And buffoons for board members. And thousands of children unfit to compete in the 19th Century, let alone the 21st.


Forcing out a school board, elected by the people...not very democratic.

Forceful methods will not institute any kind of reform. They will just cause anger and raise tensions, making it harder for public schools to function.

This "reform" should not be our Democratic Party legacy.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
1. They did something similar in St Louis and it hasn't made a bit of difference
State took over and appointed a board. But those pesky test scores didn't go up.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It's like they are running with something new.....
and there is no research to prove it works at all. It's like rushing headlong without knowing where you are going.

Someday someone will realize that you can't judge everyone, all schools, all teachers on that one test. Ain't gonna work.

Not a single Democrat speaking up for public schools and public school teachers.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. On that topic
The local NEA has a legislative brunch every year. All the local elected Dems come plus a few brave republicans. This year one of our best most progressive Dems was not there. Hmmm. No one knew where she was. She had always come. So while a boring republican was speaking, I pulled out my phone and was checking Facebook. And this missing Dem was posting on FB about her speech to the local homeschoolers group. She had just finished and they were a very attentive audience!

Some timing, eh?

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MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. They don't care. They're all assholes in this state. Every last politician in the state.
All they do is pass a tax, a fee, a charge, a reduction, a nip, a tuck on every last middle class person in this state but never, never expect anyone with substantial means to pay a goddamn dime more than they ever did in 1960.

And don't even get me started on what the new and improved school funding reform has done to teacher salaries.

Thanks for nothing Democrats in the Michigan legislature and the grand Governors office.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Just imagine doing away with elected officials so easily.
Just think about if that policy carried over to other areas? Why have elections at all?

One plan I heard is that they want to put the idea in front of voters. Just like in FL where we voted for a class size amendment. They want to put it back in front of voters.

It is like they are saying our votes never mattered in the first place.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. It's a hostile takeover. nt
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Agreed.
:hi:
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. Isn't he the one who just said he "didn't know how to stop the murders in Detroit"?
But he knows how to run a school system?
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. I had not heard that, but what an interesting comment.
As if the two could even be compared. :)
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Blue State Blues Donating Member (575 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
8. K & R nt
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. Do you remember back in the days of Holy Saint Raygun
when the rallying cry was "local control". Now they want us to give up any control we had to private charter companies and Mayors; who while elected officials, will only do what the private charter groups want.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Oh, yeh I remember Reagan and his Nation at Risk
He attacked and smeared teachers badly. He was a big union buster. Now our own party is carrying on his tradition as far as teachers are concerned.

It's sickening, and too many think it is ok if a Democrat does it.
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
13. You do if you are a corporate loving pig.
All that reform and you have automatically given up the right to call yourself liberal or progressive.

Face it. If you consider this reform, you are a reaganite. The first step in healing is to acknowledge you are sick.
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n.michigan Donating Member (108 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
14. GRANHOLM FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP- definitely hostile takeover
She is a tool. Not a woman of substance. She reeks of influence peddling just like her corporate brother Obama. Never had any real guts- never took a principled stand- just another store bought lawyer used by the party machinery that is labeled Democrat, but is truly far right of Michigan's population-so in need. Good riddance. I remember when she didn't fight for Michigan's public trust-water resource- she let Nestle in the door to sell MI water. She stinks. That first hit- was like the Obama hit on importing cheaper drugs for our people- the odor, their vacuous expressions--you know they are working for someone else- you feel sickened at the tyranny and their betrayal. Nothing democratic about it.

It is the fault of the unions- MEA and AFT- for not stopping this takeover. Amazing that such a small force-movement of the greedy reformers- could pick up such steam. Should have been met with a wall of opposition. MEA called off the teachers. Any paid organization representing the interests of the teachers should have gotten in the face of GRANHOLM and her Republicans and some perverted Democrats. Out with all Incumbents! Get them out of government now. Calling a protest after they gave away the farm is obscene.

So question then is----what is SHE getting in return for all of this making nice for the billionaires in Detroit?

Who is calculating the effects of all of these teacher layoffs on the job market and MI economy? They were hoping their bribe and tax penalties would retire some 46,000 teachers and rectify their mismanaged state budget priorities and failures of leadership. Can you picture this? Teachers joining the ranks of those looking for employment? Seems like that argument is doomed-can't possible solve anything.



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