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

A Dictatorship against Detroit Teachers and Students

Jul 16, 2012

The Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager, Roy Roberts, has imposed a new contract on the district’s teachers. It attacks the teachers–and it hurts the students.

Among other things, the new contract continues a 10% wage cut imposed on the teachers last year; it takes away a sick pay cash-out on retirement and pay for teachers who have been assaulted; and cuts unpaid maternity leave to the legal minimum of 12 weeks. It lowers life insurance pay-outs and raises dental care co-pays from 10 to 20%.

No negotiations took place; this contract was imposed on the teachers a day after their previous 3-year contract expired on June 30.

But worst of all is what the contract does to the DPS students. As if conditions in classrooms weren’t bad enough–now class sizes will grow much bigger. In grades K-3, the class size could grow to 41 before school officials will need to take action to level them out; in grades 4-5, it would take 46 students in a class. And for grades 6-12, it would take a whopping 61 students in a class before action must be taken to level class sizes out!

Steve Wasko, DPS spokesman, tried to play down the numbers, saying “the district does not intend to have classes at those sizes listed.” But then he couldn’t explain why those numbers would be there in the first place!

One teacher said it well: “I don’t think there would be any teaching going on. It would be babysitting.”

That’s it in a nutshell: Roy Roberts, and the money powers behind him, could care less about teaching Detroit’s children. They just want to shove the kids into a locked-down school for 12 years. The mayor wants them off the streets!