The Spark

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

Detroit students protest school closing plans

Feb 21, 2005

Hundreds of Detroit students demonstrated last week, protesting the decision of the Board of the Detroit Public Schools to close their schools at the end of the year.

On February 14, most of Chadsey High School's 866 students left their classes and demonstrated in front of the school. Holding signs, they chanted, "We won't go! We won't go!"

The next day, over 400 students of the Communication and Media Arts High School walked out of their classes and staged their own protest.

These demonstrations come in the wake of the announced plan to close 34 elementary, middle and high schools at the end of the school year. This would be the largest number of schools ever closed by a single school district at the same time. It's a huge attack on the quality of education of over 10,000 students who will be displaced by the closings. And it's only the beginning of what they have planned.

The Board says they need to cut over 560 million dollars in the next five years. But the 34 closings will save only about 10 million dollars a year. Clearly, the schools themselves are not the cause of the budget problem.

What the Board refuses to address is all the service contracts going out to private companies owned by themselves and their good friends. And they don't in any way propose that Detroit students and their parents take on the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan, to get them to cough up the tax money they reserve for major corporations.

The students at these two schools are absolutely right to protest this attack. And the idea of thousands more young people taking to the streets of Detroit is exactly what could make the Board – and the city, and the state – find that money real quick!