The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

17 Years of State Control over Detroit Schools:

May 9, 2016

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, wants to give 715 million dollars of state money to help reduce the Detroit school system debt. The Michigan Senate has signed on, but the state House wants to give only 500 million. They have been debating these figures and this issue for over a year.

It’s nothing but a vile soap opera – put on by the thieves in Lansing to divert attention from what they have done to Detroit schools and Detroit children.

When the state first took over Detroit schools in 1999, the system was running an annual surplus. The number of students was growing. And test scores for Detroit students were in the middle of the state’s results.

None of that was outstanding, none was even adequate. Detroit children deserved better – they deserved as good an education as the children in wealthy suburbs were getting.

But the system was not a complete, total wreck – not like the human disaster the state has created in the years since 1999, when it first took over the schools.

Today, the system runs a deficit every year. The total debt stands at 3.5 billion dollars. There are only half as many schools as there were 17 years ago – and only half as many students. The students have been driven out of the system by the closing of neighborhood schools, the destruction of education in the schools that were left, as teachers were given a heavier load, bigger class sizes every year – making it impossible to give children the attention they each need. So, yes, student results began to sink – and they rest at the bottom in the whole state today. Schools had no money for books and supplies – nor for keeping the schools clean and repaired.

This is the result of the state takeover. This is the result of “emergency managers” appointed to run the district over the last 13 years – and a state appointed “reform” board for five years before that. Together, they have practically dismantled the Detroit school system.

It was not an accident, not the result of incompetent politicians and emergency managers – incompetent though they may be. It was the result of conscious choices made by the political class running this state, as well as the country. They chose, consciously, to put their hands on that great big pot of money dedicated to providing an education to children. They put their hands on it – in order to give it along with tax breaks, subsidies and other gifts to some of the biggest corporations and banks in the country.

This political class – and the capitalists they serve – have decided they can’t afford any more to educate most of the children of working people. They may be starting with Detroit and other districts like Detroit, but they are coming after the money put aside to educate every child.

And they will keep coming so long as their profit-making system is left in place.