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

Here We Go Again

Mar 29, 2010

Robert Bobb, the governor-appointed head of the Detroit Public Schools, has announced plans to close up to 44 additional schools after this year, and he already plans to close another 13 after next year. That’s after he closed 29 schools last year.

That will make more than 100 schools closed in the district since 2006.

Bobb expects enrollment to drop from 84,000 this year, to 56,000 by 2015, and says this “consolidation” of schools is necessary to accommodate that drop.

What crap! The closure of schools is a big part of what drives that drop! A number of families have gone through two school closings already; each time a new round of schools close, more families leave the district for neighboring districts or charter schools – or they just drop out and disappear from the records. With previous closings, many parents had no idea where their children were supposed to go to school – and even the district couldn’t tell them! Every time they close more schools, more students disappear.

In fact, Bobb flat-out plans to turn DPS students over to charter schools. The proof of that is that he also announced an agreement with charters – to bring 70 new schools to the city. That’s almost exactly the number he’s already closed or plans to close.

Last year Bobb pushed a 500-million-dollar bond initiative to renovate 22 specific schools, and Detroit residents passed it, believing it would keep those schools open. Lo and behold, a large number of those schools are now slated to be closed. It was a classic bait and switch!

Bobb says the district will still reconstruct and renovate 22 schools with that money – but will they just be closed only to be handed over to charters, just like others before them? All bought and paid for by Detroit taxpayers.

This is not just happening in Detroit – it’s part of a nationwide privatizing attack on the public schools. Just last week, the Kansas City school board announced plans to close nearly half of the schools in their district.

Somehow, Bobb says he aims to have an over 98% high school graduation rate by 2015. Apparently he plans to reach it by pushing students to drop out while they’re still in elementary school!