Detroit parents want to jail educators

Angered by worst-in-the-nation math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, a Detroit parents group wants jail time for teachers and administrators, reports the Detroit News.

Sharlonda Buckman, CEO of the Detroit Parent Network, called for jailing and civil lawsuits against anyone in the city’s educational system that is not doing his or her share to help properly educate children.

“Somebody needs to go to jail,” she said in a tearful address to 500 parents gathered Saturday for the organization’s annual breakfast forum. “Somebody needs to pay for this.”

Robert Bobb, emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, called the results — 69 percent of fourth graders below basic skills, 77 percent of eighth graders — an “abysmal failure.”

“It is not the fault of our kids individually, and it is not the fault of our kids collectively. It is not the kids’ fault. It is the adults’ fault. It is a failure of leadership.”

He never mentioned “parents,” though perhaps they’re among the adults at fault.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    Hell, if the parents want to jail you, it would be silly to blame them. Until you got out of town.
    Anyway, it’s what they call “blaming the victim”. If you see a guy hopping around with one bloody shoe, trying to draw a bead on the other one and suggest he rethink his thinking, you’ll be accused of “blaming the victim”.

  2. Wait one minute. It’s DETROIT, for heaven’s sake. There are some school systems which are so dysfunctional, it makes no sense to blame the parents. The system isn’t set up to educate. Look at the Wikipedia entry for the Detroit Public School System to get an idea of the scale of the disaster. Let’s not let this thread fall into the usual bout of finger-pointing. It’s impossible that things could get this bad from mere incompetence. If anything, incompetence allows criminal abuse of the public trust — of money, resources, and children– to flourish.

    “On March 29, 2006, students at Mackenzie High in Detroit staged a walkout to protest the lack of textbooks and toilet paper. 32 were arrested, with 8 charged for disorderly conduct, and 1 for inciting to riot. Students complained that they had only one textbook per 3 students, an administrator had an expensive plasma television, amid allegations of a missing $3,000, and leaking roofs which damaged 45 new computers in storage.”
    ‘In a September 2008 editorial, Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson echoed this call, saying “The truth is that the system is imploding, and every family with the ability to roll with something other than DPS appears to be grabbing that choice. … It’s time to make Detroit wide open to the innovation and creativity that people outside DPS seem much better able to provide for city kids. … It’s no longer about robbing a district of per-pupil resources from the state to fund its resurgence, but about making its inevitable dissolution—propelled by the rapid exodus of students—as fast as possible, to spare the kids stuck inside from the Third World education they’re enduring.”‘

    The Wikipedia article makes grim reading, but I think it’s necessary to understand that this system is exceptionally bad.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    It’s worse than that. Really, really worse than that.
    Bobb, the czar, insisted during the fall that everybody come in to pick up their paychecks. About 250 went unclaimed.
    Just for starters.
    But the Ingalls family got their kids reasonably well educated by having a lot of their work done at home. No schools in the area, I guess, or blizzards, or Indians, or wolves on the bus stop.

  4. I’ve already posted this on another site with the same topic:
    too many parents are not doing their job as parents and they also elected the city officials that have created/enabled this disaster. It’s not just the schools, either; it all of the municipal services. That voter pattern exists in many other cities, as well.

  5. Momof4, that’s not true. Parents of school-age children are not a majority of the voting population. They are outnumbered by the collection of adults who are childless, those whose children are grown, and those whose children don’t attend public schools. A school system as out-of-control as Detroit, one of Johns Hopkins’ original “Dropout Factories,” also causes a selection process amongst the population AGAINST education. If you have any interest in educating your children in the public schools, you don’t live in Detroit.

    And if so, so what? Should we leave all children born in Detroit to grow up without an education, saying, “well, if they cared (i.e., if they were good people) they wouldn’t be in Detroit.” It may be an insoluble problem, but “serves them right” doesn’t improve the situation. At the very least, I wonder what the state authorities have been doing–if anything–for their state citizens who happen to live in Detroit.

    (It’s politically incorrect to note that “Female householder, no husband present, with own children under 18 years,” outnumbers “married couple family, with own children under 18 years, by 60,000 to 40,000.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Extra money.
    Other than that, what can be done?
    And we know how well extra money works.
    This is the town Kwame Kilpatrick, ex-mayor, robbed blind.
    This is the town which elects race hustlers and, as one columnist said, “clueless dowagers” to the city council.
    None of them got where they are without the votes.

  7. Parent2 – you are right in that not all voters are parents of public school kids, but at some point, all voters need to clean the the uncaring, the self-serving, the incompetent and the corrupt out of local (and other) government. And yes, problem family structure doesn’t help.

  8. The trouble is, for whom can you vote? Who will dare to oppose the corrupt and incompetent? No one who has children to educate will want to live in the city, if they have a choice. When things get that bad, it’s bordering on insanity to stand for office. A choice between the incompetent and the insane isn’t a choice. Ignorance perpetuates itself, as well. The voters of today were likely educated by the Detroit Public School System.

    In other states, state governments have taken over failing school districts. It’s either that, or let the children escape to other systems, and let it die. The latter option seems to have been chosen. It’s a shame for the children who will attend its schools while it dies.

  9. I believe that the state has taken over the financial reins on an emergency basis–which has the potential to challenge whatever the existing power structure is. It seems I recall that the state emergency whatever person was replicating some of the improvement staff with his/her own selections. State intervention did, BTW force the resignation of the mayor awhile back. It’s a really sad state of affairs. Perhaps this has already been tried, but if I were the Czar I would want to cut the whole system up and piecemeal it to the surrounding districts to administer. It has never made sense to me that every struggling urban district is ringed by suburbs that administer a single high school feeder pattern each and cater to a specific class of homeowners.

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    I know a suburban system which had built within it a substantial low-income housing project.
    The atmosphere at the high school has changed. The bus which picks up kids at the project has to have a cop to prevent fighting.
    Some of the parents of the project kids are clueless about education, some about discipline at school.
    There is more class disruption.
    I don’t know that a suburban system would want to take that on.
    At the least, it would increase the motivation for homeschooling and private schooling.
    If it were done, none of the administrators from the urban system should be allowed anywhere near it.
    There is a suburban system near us which is in an odd neighborhood. It’s as if you took a chunk of the inner hood and put it down just past the city line.
    Worst academic performance. Highest per-pupil board travel expenses.
    The issue is that Detroit,and by extension many others, is a package deal. Ill-prepared kids, vanishing family structure, toxic culture, incompetent and crooked administrators, teachers who’d rather be where the parking lot doesn’t have to be guarded, clueless voters.
    Fixing one issue isn’t going to help, and I have no idea how to fix them all at once.

  11. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Detroit parents can have teachers jailed, if most of them consent to tubal ligations and vasectomies.

  12. Richard, I’ve seen the same thing. A low-income housing project opened (late 80s) in an affluent suburb and the school climate at both the junior and senior high level suffered. Bad attitudes, academic disinterest and fights between and among both boys and girls, some involving knives, immediately ensued. There was some spread of the bad attitudes, but most of the pattern was immediately identifiable in the project residents, most of whom seemed to have brought all their problems with them. Despite assertions to the contrary, low SES status does not happen randomly; the same bad behavior and decisions that moves people into that level tends to keep them there.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    Seen some research tying Section 8 housing to crime. One guy says he can spot section 8 by the crime levels, the other says he can spot crime by looking at section 8 maps.
    The problem is when it moves into previously non-8 territory. Or, perhaps I should say that’s when the hypothesis is tested.


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