Monday night’s fight to protect what’s left of public education in Ypsilanti

    It would appear that the financial situation at Ypsi Public Schools is even more dire than we’d been led to believe, and the State is demanding that immediate, drastic action be taken. The following comes from AnnArbor.com:

    …Ypsilanti was anticipated to have a combined two-year $6.38 million deficit at the end of 2011-12. However, in March, school officials said Ypsilanti faced a deficit of about $9.4 million, including the district’s original $4.9 million from 2010-11…

    The problems stemmed from figures provided by the former chief financial officer, David Houle. The board voted not to renew Houle’s contract in November.

    “We had to recast the entire budget… When we figured out it wasn’t a couple hundred thousand dollars (short), we self-reported the problem to the state,” (Superintendent Dedrick) Martin said, adding that Michigan officials were willing to work with the district to set the May 8 deadline for remediation.

    However, district business manager Kelli Glenn said the state’s patience with YPS is wearing thin. She added school officials were told there could be no more delaying of the DEP as Ypsilanti has done in the past.

    She said the consequences of not submitting a plan would be the state withholding Ypsilanti’s state aid, in which case the district could not issue payroll due to its lack of funds…

    Local control and employee paychecks could be at stake if the Ypsilanti Board of Education fails to approve a new deficit elimination plan (DEP) by May 8.

    Ypsilanti Public Schools has until Tuesday to overhaul its DEP and submit it to the state, after botched figures and projections voided the plan the board passed in December…

    The preceding story was written last Wednesday night, after an emergency meeting of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. My friend Maria, who has written here in the past on school-related issues, attended the meeting, and just sent the following report, in hopes that it might encourage others to show up tomorrow (Monday) night, and speak out on behalf of Ypsilanti students, who are clearly going to be adversely affected if the Deficit Elimination Plan (DEP) being considered, which calls for closing three more schools, and firing as many as 93 educators and support staff, is passed… Here’s Maria’s letter:

    Last Monday, our Board of Education representatives attended a budget presentation that focused on the Administration’s recommendations for the revised Deficit Elimination Plan. As you know, because of accounting “anomalies,” the deficit that we thought we had ballooned into a much larger number (from $4 million to over $9 million projected).

    Apparently, at last Monday’s meeting, the board was not given materials in advance, so they had very little idea of what to expect, and they could not adequately discuss the DEP without additional materials, which they received a few hours before a second meeting on Wednesday. At that meeting the administration presented a DEP that can only be described as draconian. It called for the closure of Adams, Erickson, and New Tech high school, and the creation of a system that retained Perry as a K-2, created one elementary school (K-6) and one 7-12 high school.

    It also called for closing Estabrook pool, as well as major reductions in staffing — 11 elementary and high school teachers, 50 + para pros (counselors, psychologists, nurses, special ed, etc) — transportation, and athletics.

    What followed was a ridiculous exercise in which Board of Ed members who resisted further building closures (Fanta, Berman, Champagne, Devany) were asked to come up with cuts in other areas of the budget. I say ridiculous because the administration was essentially asking the Board to do (on the fly, after just receiving the new DEP) WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE DONE over the last 6 months. The Board, realizing (after 3 hours!!) that it was being asked to do the impossible, recommended some substantive changes and requested that the administration go back to the drawing board and come up with a new DEP that preserved our core mission (educating kids in a safe environment), and found efficiencies elsewhere. The administration will present this revised DEP this coming Monday (tomorrow) at 7:30 at the High School (on Packard).

    There is no way this District can survive additional closures – even one closure would be damaging to our reputation, and our ability to continue to provide high-quality education to Ypsi’s children. I feel very strongly that we should be at this meeting in force to represent the district’s key stakeholders: families.

    What are the implications of more school closures for the overall health of the district? How do these plans for our DEP interface with the plans to consolidate with Willow Run? I am really, really tired of dealing with an administration that constantly operates in a reactive mode, and that accepts everything that the State says. Our Board President, David Bates actually said that he was told by the State Board of Education that if he and other board members didn’t accept the DEP, he could be arrested. I broke decorum and stated from the audience that it was the State legislators who should be arrested for what they are doing to our children. It truly is a crime. We need to be there and to voice ourconcerns about the future of our district, and we may even need to break therules regarding “community input” time. The meeting is tomorrow (Monday) at 7:30 pm in the High School. I will be there.

    I’m not sure what can be done at this point. According to AnnArbor.com, if the DEP isn’t approved, school employees won’t be paid, and an Emergency Manager will be appointed by the Snyder administration to take control from our democratically elected School Board. And, as David Bates apparently noted, members of the School Board run the risk of being arrested if they choose to stand up and fight on behalf of the families that they were elected to represent.

    I have other things that I need to attend to this evening, but, before I go, here’s one last thought. This comes from something I wrote a little while ago, upon hearing that the Philadelphia School District was being forced to disband. I think it’s relevant here as well.

    …I don’t want to go off on a conspiratorial tangent, but I think it’s worth considering that none of this is an accident. It’s quite possible, I think, that the Bush tax cuts, which were extended under the Obama administration, were never solely about allowing those with the most power in America to keep an unprecedented amount of their accumulated wealth. I think an argument could be made that these tax cuts were more about, in the words of conservative operative Grover Norquist, “starving” the U.S. government to the point that social programs, like public education, would be forced to collapse. Norquist, as you’ll recall, was quoted once as saying that he wanted to shrink government, “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” (I also like this quote, “My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit. Because that person doesn’t need the goddamn government for anything,” but we’ll have to save that for another day.) And, I think that’s what we’re seeing play out right now in Philadelphia. We’re standing by, passively watching, as public education being drowned in the bathtub…

    So, we’ll all stand by and watch this happen. We’ll all watch as teaching ceases to be profession that can support a family, a generation of kids loses the chance at a better life that education provides, and for-profit companies, who are accountable only to their shareholders, swoop in to extract what little money there is left. It may not be registering in your brain yet, but we’re watching the country that our ancestors gave their lives for be dragged to the bathtub and killed. And we’re all complicit.

    Here’s hoping that, if the adults don’t stand up for them, the kids of Ypsilanti rise up and start fighting back themselves, demanding the educations that they deserve as American citizens, like the young people currently gathering in Detroit’s Clark Park… I’m not one to instigate, but, if any Ypsi high school students are reading this, I think that Water Street would make a great, very visible, campus for a Freedom School.

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      35 Comments

      1. Edward
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

        We’ve made the decision as a community to stop funding the education of the poor. The rich can afford private education. Everyone else can either home school, or send their kids to a poorly funded facility in which private security guards shuttle them between rooms where poorly paid “teachers” hand out worksheets and play videos for them. The idea isn’t to give these kids a shot at a better life, but to ensure that we have a permanent underclass to pick our fruit and work the line at McDonalds. This is about ensuring the availability of cheap labor.

      2. Maria
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        Actually Edward, your scenario, though seemingly dire, is better than what will result if we continue down this path.
        There will be no money for worksheets.
        A teacher recently sent a letter to the board telling them that the “efficiencies” we have already extracted from our budget have had a serious impact on what she can do in the classroom. Even as workbooks journals and other supporting materials have been cut, the amount of photocopies that teachers can make have been seriously cut back, paper is now a precious commodity, and teachers are increasingly paying for BASIC support materials out of their own pockets. They buy everything from reams of paper, to crayons, to tissues, to refrigerators on their own dime. And yet they manage to make due, dig deep into their creative and financial reservoirs, and consistently turn out high quality educational experiences for these kids. I want to say for the record that we, as parents, have been largely shielded from these depressing conditions, by teachers who, against all odds, retain their own faith in public education and who want us to stay invested and hopeful. But perhaps its time for us to speak the truth: that the current power structure wants to destroy public education as we know it, and it counts on the silence and acquiescence of those of us who are either too tired or too dis-invested to do anything about it. They have created a seemingly “no-win” situation in which there appear to be no solutions other than liquidation, that is if you accept their logic (which many in the education industrial complex have done). But there is much to fight for in the public schools, especially when we start thinking beyond the classroom. Where else can our kids learn stuff, get breakfast and lunch, compete in a variety of team sports (from football to tennis) make art, music, theater, participate in civic activities (clubs, student council, etc), and engage with a broad cross-section of our community? The public schools are the beating heart of our local democracies, they are the training ground for our civic culture. Can they be better, more democratic spaces? for sure, but not if we write them off, and certainly not if we give up. This is why I believe that whether you have children in the system or not you should care about what happens to our public schools, because without them we are left with no communal experience, no way of forging connections in those early years, and an increasingly fractured and polarized community that knows very little about one another. This is the insular world that some on the right envision for us, a world in which those of us on the bottom cannot connect, coalesce, and form some kind of vision of collective resistance to their increasingly inevitable master plan.

      3. DL
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        Mark, how is Clementine affected by these proposals – does she go to Adams?

      4. mark k
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Edward if you don’t like whats happening stop voting democrat. Either way this is your Gov’t at work. I work a second job just so my kid doesn’t have to do public education, the weird thing is my kid gets a great education at a cost of $5500 per year per student which is far beblow what you’re crying about. Not that all public schools are bad, but the ones that are controlled by democrats are complete failures. Blaming the rich will only get you more of what you already got. And ED I’m no where near being rich, every friday I sit down with my paychecks and pray there will be a little left over for me. But let me know how well the finger pointing goes for you tho.

      5. Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        mark k

        Do you pay attention to anything that’s going on in our state? How can you possibly suggest that voting for Democrats is the cause of this? As soon as we had a completely red state government (governor and congress both) the effects on our schools was immediate and detrimental. There is nothing about this that is the fault of anyone except the state government which is actively taking money from our schools to fund tax cuts for corporations and high income individuals.

      6. Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        How does the “arrested for failing to adopt the DEP” bit work? I don’t so much doubt that it’s possible as wonder what the charge would be–something specific to school district deficits, or a more general “malfeasance of an elected official” sort of deal?

      7. Occupy Ypsilanti
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        If David Bates goes to jail, so will a lot of us with him.

      8. Knox
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        I’d contribute toward bail. Shall we start a fund?

      9. pseudo
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Maria, what do you propose they do?

      10. Mr. X
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        The solution is simple, pseudo. We make our state tax progressive, like most other states already do, and then we invest that money in education. The alternative, which is suicide.

      11. Maria
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        “Maria, what do you propose they do?”
        It’s an excellent question. I think what we have here is an “Iraq year zero” moment (see Naomi Klein); an attempt to utterly destroy something in order to rebuild it in a totally different format. In this case, I think the intention is to defund public education in order to rebuild it as a for-profit (with some non-profit), “right to work” enterprise. This vision does not include unions, nor does it necessarily involve responsibility to clients or democratic accountability (unless one believes that free market forces will create incentives for such things). We have seen large school systems spiral into oblivion (Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans) as a result of (non)benign neglect and intentional underfunding, and the functions of those systems have largely been (or will be) replaced with charters. In this state, the process begins with the state getting hard-nosed with districts that carry a negative fund balance (caused by systematic underfunding and decreasing cost-sharing of employee pensions), and then forcing them to close schools and/or consolidate with other chronically underfunded small districts, with the predictable result being decreasing enrollments and consequently less funding (funding is tagged to student enrollment). Decreasing enrollments create the “death spiral” we have seen in other districts, which have lost up to half of their students in just a few years. Then the EFM comes in, and even more drastic cuts result, which, predictably leads to more declining enrollments, until the struggling district is down to the bare minimum of functionality, at which point it is dissolved (read up on Philly and New Orleans).
        What to do in the face of inevitability? Well, given the examples of other districts who have gone along with the State’s agenda, and more importantly, the example of OUR OWN DISTRICT which has closed schools in the past with the intent of appearing conciliatory and “pragmatic” in the eyes of the State only to watch the outflow of students spike (we’ve lost close to 200 since Chapelle and East closed, that’s 1.3 million in revenue), it seems we must be “illogical” and “un-pragmatic”. Sound crazy? Well, to quote a physicist of some repute, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the DEFINITION of insanity. I think the question comes down to this: do we allow the State, which is run by free-market, tax-the-poor/spare the “job-creator” zealots, take over a public good that has functioned with relative ease for over a century until this particular historical moment of manufactured “CRISIS”, or do we resist? What form might resistance take? The traditional tools of political action in our democracy (writing letters, making phone calls, marching on Lansing) seem woefully ineffective at this point. Perhaps we should march to legislators neighborhoods, or to the private schools that their children and grandchildren attend. I’m not sure what we should do, but I do know that going quietly into that good night is no solution. Appearing “reasonable” to legislators and a political system that is fundamentally unreasonable and that wants only our destruction is suicide for the public schools. Reasonable or not, I’d rather go noisily than quietly.

      12. pseudo
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        again, what are you asking the school board members to do tonight?

      13. Dan
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        I think what mark k mentioned is interesting. I know there are special needs kids and kids with learning disabilities that cost public schools a lot, but it’s crazy that it only costs him $5500 per year to send his kid to a private school, yet Ypsi Schools have a per pupil operating expense of about $15,000?

      14. Brainless
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Dan, private schools get their pick of the litter of students. They can kick out anybody they want or deny enrollment. They also have highly-motivated parents who do things like take second jobs and prioritize education. All of these things serve to drive down costs like nobody’s business. I also believe that Ypsi spends less than $12,000 per student.

        (So as not to let the public school advocates off the hook here: I bet their expenses for direct education are a MUCH higher percentage than public school who spend far too much money on administration.)

        I’m guessing also, based on the price, that mark k sends his kids to a highly subsidized religious school. If not, perhaps he would be so kind as to reveal the name of this educational bargain bin or at least give us some hint.

        If Superintendent Dedrick Martin is reading this, I can break this all down again with smaller words and maybe some sock puppets. Gotta tell ya, I’m not very impressed with this hire by the Board. His main claim to fame so far is hiring a financial manager who couldn’t tell the difference between $4 million and $9 million. Maybe it’s just a case that no qualified person wanted the job?

        I think Maria has made very clear that there is nothing that can be done here by the Ypsi Board. (I’m not trying to insult her. I mean this conclusion is clear because of all the research she has done and presented here.) Zero. Zip. Nada. They have no money and no options. How many times can we say this was caused at the state level and then rip our hair out at local meetings? Makes no sense. Fix the problem at the source.

      15. EOS
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        If the State is the cause of the problem, why aren’t all the public schools failing to the same extent that Ypsilanti is? Why haven’t concerned parents stormed the school board when MEAP test results have been abysmal for years and no adequate yearly progress has been made? Why are we spending record amounts of money per pupil and yet still have a 9 million plus deficit?

      16. missypsi
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        EOS, I hesitate to engage because I know where it will lead, but you state a number of false arguments that should be corrected. First of all, MEAP scores have not been abysmal for years. They have been good at some places not so good at others. AYP is another matter entirely as State “standards” have been a shifting bar (always shifting higher). Could this be another way to undermine the schools? Perhaps…
        We, like other districts, spend more on average per pupil because we have a responsibility to educate more special needs students than privates or charters. Special education is VERY costly because it requires much lower teacher student ratios (more staff for fewer students) among other things. The Federal reimbursement rate for Special Ed has been steadily declining and individual districts have taken on a greater and greater share of this burden.
        And for your information, many smaller districts throughout Michigan have been experiencing similar difficulties, we are definitely not alone, and these include supposedly “solid” (read white, middle to upper income) districts. Our deficit problems, like their financial woes, are due to a combination of factors: nearly yearly decreases in our per-pupil funding from the state, declining enrollments due to falling population numbers and school closures, and a decrease in Federal revenues. If the State truly valued education, they would step in to shore up struggling districts, but in this era of “No Child Left Behind” it is the struggling districts that are punished (despite the fact that they are educating much more challenged populations). As someone implied earlier, we have descended into a Swiftian reality in which the public schools threaten to become pipelines to prison instead of college. Did you know that Michigan’s prison population projections are based on our third grade reading levels? Shame on our governor (who claims to value education, but apparently only values the kind of private education that only big money like his can buy), and shame on our president who has not even begun to deal with this huge problem.

      17. EOS
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        MEAP scores are not abysmal?

        Science 2010
        5th grade 5.4% proficient
        8th grade 7.9% proficient

        Science 2011
        5th grade 5.5%
        8th grade 8.5%

        Social Studies 2010
        6th 13.5%
        9th 12.7%

        Social Studies 2011
        6th 6.9%
        9th 14.6%

        Ypsilanti spends more per pupil than the average PUBLIC school. The declining enrollments in Ypsi include large numbers of students who transfer to other PUBLIC schools. YPSD spends too much of their budget on administration and overhead.

      18. EOS
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Shame on the parents.

      19. mark k
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        And shame on anyone who thinks more money will solve this.

      20. Demetrius
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Step 1 – Set up funding system that rewards rich districts, and punishes poorer ones.
        Step 2 – Undermine less-wealthy public schools by cutting their budgets year-after-year.
        Step 3 – Spread false propaganda about the benefits of charter/private schools.
        Step 4 – Once public schools have been undermined, tout “schools of choice” as a solution.
        Step 5 – Once students begin to bleed out to wealthier (and mostly “white”) districts, along with private and “charter” schools, cut budgets even more.
        Step 6 – As enrollments continue dropping, cut even more funding.
        Step 7 – Once the inevitable budget “crisis” occurs — threaten shutdown, or an Emergency Manager.
        Step 8 – Blame parents.

      21. Dan
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Demetrius

        A few things:

        #1, what is the false propaganda being spread about private and charter schools?

        #2, the fact that a reduction in students means a less efficient school district just illustrates how much money is wasted in admin costs.

        #3, why should a student be forced to attend a school they don’t want to? Why do you think so many kids flee? If it’s “false” propaganda that charter schools are spreading, then why do they continue to attract students and build more of them?

      22. Anon
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        The DEP passed 5-2.

      23. smellytongues
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Is anyone able to provide a summary of tonight’s meeting? I was not able to attend and would like to know how it went.

      24. Lane
        Posted May 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Maybe a sidebar, but I’m a little weary of the ignorant “more money won’t solve this” statements.

        Why is it that the people who are so suspicious of money as a solution are so protective of their money?

        But, okay, let’s go there. More money for big business or small business won’t solve unemployment. More money for citizens won’t solve the personal debt crisis. More money for defense won’t protect us. More money for fire and police don’t put out fires or crime.

        Money doesn’t buy food, shoes, bullets, or books.

        Money, contrary to popular wisdom, doesn’t buy anything. Money is useless.

        I get it now, mark k, thank you for this moment of enlightenment, this emerging from shame.

        I’ve been working hard all my life for money thinking it solved my problem of having food, shelter, clothing, premium cable and other amenities.

        I’ve collected a lot of money, and I thought it was what allowed me to purchase a lot of things.

        I’m now embarrassed to say it, but the only reason I’ve worked at all was for money. (I’ve been a fool!)

        You’ve helped me realize that I can have all those things without the fictitious power of money. Just like we can have teachers and schools, even police and air craft carriers, without money.

        Just like our public schools.

        Wisdom.

      25. mark k
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Really Lane, thats your point? I work hard for my money and more then anything I hate to see my labors wasted. If the schools were doing good I would have no problem with them doubling my taxes. Now waste my money and not only will I not give you more, I’m going to try and get back what I’ve already given you. Like the city income tax, NO F’ing WAY! It has nothing to do with hating kids as you’d want people to believe, it’s not about me feeling I’m better and want my kid to go to a different school. It pisses me off to no fucking end for me to have to pay out of my pocket for something I’m already paying taxes for. I know without question my kid would be better off in a public school if only they could do their job to the most basic level. But thats not happening and I’ll do whatever I can to stop rewarding failure.

      26. Thom Elliott
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        “I work hard for my money and I hate to see my labors wasted”. Wasted in this case on special education. “Ill do whatever I can to stop rewarding failure”. Which in this case the failure you’re seeking to stop rewarding is special education? Because the “schools aren’t doing good”? So let’s flush them down the toilet, along with disabled children? Because you probably won’t see a return on your precious scheckels for special education, ever, we should just not have it, is that what you mean?

      27. Thom Elliott
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        “Now I will try to get back what I’ve given to you”. I mean really, its no wonder our society is going to die, not just in Ypsilanti, but modernity & capitalism itself. It is peopled by scoundrels like mark k, who care about/believe in nothing, who are willing to live amongst ruins to stand by their cringing antisocial creedo. I hope when Ypsilanti is like Flint, you can gloat over your supposedly hard earned hoard of pennies, while watching someone get knifed and know there won’t be an ambulance coming.

      28. maria
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        First, I want to thank all of the people who showed up to be “witnesses” at last night’s meeting. There’s really not much to report, except to say that the board passed the new Deficit Elimination Plan (which calls for closing one elementary school and other unpleasant cuts) in a 5-2 vote (with Berman and Fanta as our conscientious objectors). A number of parents stayed for about an hour afterward, talking to Dedrick Martin the superintendent about the big challenge we face as a district.
        Conclusion: I think its very important that parents and the larger Ypsilanti community step in to the process at this point. It seems that the administration is at a total loss, having been put in an impossible situation by the State and by forces that want to see the end of Public Education as we know it. Superintendent Martin described it as a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, and that just about sums it up.
        I was very depressed last night, but woke up feeling a little better about things. I think parents, caregivers, and community can come together to rethink what the schools are doing and what they should be doing. We may be able to bring some “outside the box” thinking to the matter, and in the process, learn a little more about ourselves as a community.
        I feel strongly that this process must include as broad a vision of “community” as possible. I really don’t want to be part of a process that doesn’t substantively engage with the all segments of our community, and, more importantly, I want to be part of a process that supports and nurtures leadership amongst the best and brightest from the Southside, Eastside, Normal Park, Willow Run etc, etc. That way, even if we aren’t able to accomplish our goals (crafting an innovative, liberatory educational experience for our children), then at least our work might catalyze the great talent that I know exists in our community.
        To that end, we will begin a series of meetings that will involve brainstorming, visiting schools to look at successful models (things that are working), finding out what resources exist in our community, looking at successful educational models elsewhere (charters and public schools), meeting with folks at UM, EMU, and beyond. I would love to document this process of coming together, so if there are filmmakers out there who want to help me with this I’d greatly appreciate it.

      29. mark k
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        Thom Elliott I’m glad I was clear, you read that right. I dont want 1 penny of my hard earned money going to a failed school district. Fix it I’ll get another job to help pay for a district that is doing good. Until then let them wallow in their own stink.

      30. Tommy
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Maria, bless you for your caring, passionate and worthy endeavour. Unfortunately creating a vision is hard when time is not on your side and the money is not there to buy you some time if nothing else. No real difference than with the city tax and the vision of the city’s future.

        More money isn’t always the answer – I sincerely believe that – but less money combined with a legislature that really doesn’t give a shit about the troubles of the every day Joe is a disaster waiting to happen.

        Take, for example, the Governor Nerd’s thoughts on county wide/regional cooperation and collaboration. Great idea. Now how is any governmental entity that is slashed to the bone and in survival mode going to plan for let alone implement such a scheme? Or is it more reasonable to expect failures so that some private and for profit entity can be ‘given’ the job instead and save the day (at a healthy profit)? Shock Doctrine anyone?

      31. Thom Elliott
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        “You read that right”. That you’re a hollow amoral and fundamentally cruel man, who cares about nothing except for what’s in it for you. What is it you spend those hard earned pennies on that is so essential? Beer? Sausage? Gettin shitty with yer bros? “Fix it I’ll get another job to help pay for a school district that is doing good.” Like HELL, you’ll sit on your dimpeled ass and watch this one die, along with the city, and then move. The mendacious nature of your phoney “working class” indignation is rank, you don’t care about Ypsilanti, or its children.

      32. mark k
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        You seem so angry Thom, why is that? Why would you be mad at me for wanting better for the city of Ypsi? Why would you be mad at me for wanting better for the kids? Why do you insult me because I don’t want to keep throwing down a rat hole? Thom have a smoke and calm down, all that anger is bad for your heart.

      33. kjc
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        “Until then let them wallow in their own stink.”

        you seem so angry mark k. how come? why would you be mad at people for wanting the public schools not to fail? for trying to support them while you take your kid elsewhere? why do you insult the school system and call it a rat hole when others are pouring themselves into caring for it?

      34. pseudo
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Why are parents pulling their kids?

        What can change that?

      35. InCognito this time
        Posted May 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        To follow up on what Brainless said, I’d like to offer some insight. As part of my job, I go to true public schools, charter schools and private schools. (I am a teacher consultant). The two things that make a difference, in my view, are these: parental involvement and small class sizes. Because charters and private schools can cherry pick their kids, they will end up with kids whose parents are very involved, work with them on a nightly basis, hire tutoring companies, etc. Also, because the pay scale is less and because administration costs seem to be lower, they can have smaller classes. In the charter school case, they can also cherry pick their kids, these kids will do better on standardized tests, the school will look awesome, etc. (Although, to the never-ending credit of the charter school I consult with, they are a last resort and will take all kinds of kids. Props.)

        Kids who are SXI (severely multiply impaired), severaly cognitively impaired or any other impaired (except learning disabled, who can often get over in a regular classroom with some ISD support) usually have to find a home at a public school. There are kids who need a PT, an OT, Speech Language Pathologist, nurse, teacher consultant, one-to-one aide…or all of the above! (I do know of a private school who is accept a child w/ a physical impairment, but her parents’ insurance will provide a full time nurse).

        Public schools also get kids who are not identified with any special needs, but who are what I call “childhood impaired”–chaotic households, no parents around, born drug addicted, etc. Discipline problems, kids with parents who are too overwhelmed to be of much help, homeless kids…they land at their public schools.

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