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The dark underside of the public school system January 9, 2009

Filed under: Education — Ms.M @ 9:21 am

Chalk it up to bad management or to the current economic crisis, but there is definitely something wrong when a school is asking the community for essential supplies such as toilet paper and light bulbs, especially when it is only half way through the school year. A DPS Academy has made national news coverage-probably the last thing the Detroit Public School System wanted-by sending out letters to parents, and asking students, to bring in necessary supplies that it cannot afford to provide at this time.  I’m not sure what the conversation was amongst administrators before this decision was made, but I find it hard to believe that they did not consider contacting central office about the problem first. What I can more clearly imagine and believe is that they have, through past experience, realized that a quick response from central office was unlikely-full of bureaucratic red tape- and decided turning to parents would probably bring a quicker response.

Of course it is not really a surprise that a large school system, such as Detroit’s, would be having financial difficulties. And outside of the PR bubble, this is not something new and unique to these economic times. There have always been schools that have lacked supplies of one sort or another, including books; desks; and other educational and building supplies. The national news making a big deal about this particular situation, and during these economic times, seems to belittle, and confirm as hidden, what has been a struggle for many urban and rural schools for quite awhile now.

This is not news; this is reality. This is not one school’s problem; this is a systemic problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have a great deal of respect for our President elect. But there is a reason why he decided not to send his children to DC’s public schools and it wasn’t only due to privacy or logistics. Every parent wants what’s best for their children. Every parent doesn’t have the choice he was fortunate enough to make. I wish he would be honest and vocal about why he chose private over public for his children.

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