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

Juvenile Detainees Denied Schooling

Jan 9, 2023

The Juvenile Detention Center in Detroit recently transferred youths to a facility in the city of Hamtramck, a city within the boundaries of Detroit. These young people haven’t had in-person instruction, with teachers, for the past 2 months.

Now students have been given packets of worksheets to do on their own, because teachers with a charter school authorized (according to some agreement with the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD)) to provide in-person instruction cannot do so because the latest facility is not located within Detroit. Yet this charter school has received the $9,150 per pupil foundation allowance from the State!

The fact that they are receiving no schooling is just the latest in a string of troubles that these young people first faced at the Detroit Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility. It’s just a vicious cycle. In this class society, where racism is part of the social fabric, these are young people who already have strikes against them, starting with the fact that, for whatever reasons, they find themselves incarcerated. Many of their backgrounds meant that they were already deprived of a quality education before going behind bars. And now, the absence of any kind of real education can’t do anything more than make their future worse.

Some of the parents of these young people have spoken out—about the lack of education, the fact that their kids are kept in their rooms, that is, their cells, for 23 hours out of the day, and were deprived of daily showers in Detroit even before they were transferred to Hamtramck. If the parents hadn’t done so, the public would not even know what is going on. It will take that, and more, noise, and organization, for parents and all those ordinary people who DO consider children as our most valuable resource, to organize, to fight to have a society where children do come first, and all children have a right to a decent life and future.

To hell with whatever the “official” reasons are, why a charter school can’t provide teachers and on-site instruction because Hamtramck isn’t within Detroit proper.

To hell with the system where for-profit charter schools are allowed to collect public money to educate our kids in the first place, and then don’t do it.

To hell with the excuses that there are staff shortages, or not enough teachers, or not enough, whatever. Pay teachers and other people who work with youth excellent salaries, with benefits. Then there would be no teacher or staff shortages.

If there is money to subsidize Little Caesar’s arena in downtown Detroit; if there is money to consistently give tax breaks to the auto companies, and to the billionaire real estate developers; if there is money to give yet more money for the Q Line to the tune of 85 million in tax money, there can be money for our children—ALL OF THEM, no matter what their backgrounds.