Nov 22, 2010
Robert Bobb, “Emergency Financial Manager” of the Detroit Public Schools, has proposed a complicated financial maneuver, supposedly to help school districts in deficit, where the state of Michigan would use tobacco settlement money to float bonds to pay their debts.
On its face, it’s a crazy shell game pushing money around – increasing the debt of the state, the school districts, or both.
But even more than that, the plan would be a way for the state to use the debt of these districts to force them to attack their teachers and ultimately their students. All of the “deficit districts” are in urban or rural working class areas.
All districts that accept the state money must agree to some drastic attacks, including:
– Eliminating teacher seniority – which would allow districts to get rid of their highest paid teachers, who also happen to be the most experienced.
– Attacking teachers’ “tenure,” which is nothing more than a right to due process – allowing administrators to fire teachers for any reason, or no reason at all.
– Implementing “merit” pay, which really means cutting ALL teachers’ pay on the pretext that some will be able to make it up with bonuses.
– Establishing a longer school day and year, and eliminating school work rules – which means adding even more work onto the workload of already overworked teachers, who in addition to teaching must spend time planning, grading, meeting parents, and educating themselves in their fields, and who already work at it for 52 weeks out of the year.
Overloading teachers makes it impossible for them to teach. Removing the most experienced teachers means depriving students of their experience and expertise. ALL of these “reforms” would leave working class students with an even worse education than they already have.
All so the state can reduce money spent on education, in order to give it to the wealthy and their corporations.
This plan, proposed by Bobb and pushed by state legislators, is an out-and-out attack on working class children across the state of Michigan.