This school year has been anything but easy for Detroit Public Schools. Classrooms are overcrowded, staff is underpaid, materials are inadequate, students are not receiving the education they deserve, and teachers are being laid off due to budget cuts and the school system’s a $216 million deficit. The state of DPS is horrific, and teachers have taken it upon themselves to call for change.
For the past 3 months teachers in several DPS schools have scheduled "sick-outs" where a large amount of teachers call in sick and school is cancelled due to lack of staff. On January 11th as many as 50 DPS schools were closed because of the sick-outs. Teachers are protesting their subpar pay, overcrowded conditions, poor spending, and the horrendous conditions of the schools.
DPS parent Jaime Diaz-Herrara is in support of the teachers saying “I wouldn’t consider a classroom of 45 kids conducive to teaching and learning. I wouldn’t say that a classroom with black mold creeping up the walls is conducive to teaching and learning. I wouldn’t say that roaches and rats scampering through hallways are conducive to teaching and learning. It’s disgusting, unsafe, unhealthy and not the way we should be educating our kids in Detroit or anywhere else.”
Many oppose the sick-outs saying they’re selfish and that teachers are thinking of everything but the education of the students by shutting down the schools. What these people don't realize is if the teachers sit back and allow things to continue down this path the children will never get a global education. Most DPS schools are below the state and national average because of poor materials, overcrowded classrooms, and lack of teachers. The district is making more cuts so this problem will only get worse.
As citizens and taxpayers in the city of Detroit and/or state of Michigan, we must stand behind the teachers during this time of unrest. Detroit is in the middle of revitalization, and the children and education system must also be a part of that plan. A city with bad schools will never reach it's full potential because families will not move here. People want to have good neighborhood schools, and Detroit, for the most part, does not. Our children are our future and we should be giving them the best tools possible. DPS barely has any to offer.
DPS was just given an emergency manager, Darnell Early, who was formerly an emergency manager in Flint and is currently being sued in a class action suit. If we look at Early's resume we cannot trust him to help Detroit Public Schools thrive because he did not help Flint. Flint is currently facing one of the biggest crises in America with poisoned water. Did Rick Snyder make the right choice for Detroit’s children by making Early the Emergency Manager of their school system?
The teachers do have themselves in mind with the sick-outs, but more than anything, the state of Detroit Public Schools affects the children and the city. Our children deserve smaller classrooms, up to date textbooks, music programs, athletics, and more. We have to stand behind our teachers in order to do right by our children.
People in Michigan, and the country at large, have the power to help the staff and students of DPS by speaking their outrage on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), by writing and calling in to Governor Rick Snyder's Office (517-373-3400), and protesting. Support our teachers as they fight for the future of our children.