Detroit Teachers Sue District Over Horrible Conditions

Detroit Teachers Sue District Over Horrible Conditions

The teachers say the district is putting kids' health at risk.

01/29/2016 12:03 pm ET
Protesters stand outside Cadillac Place, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 in Detroit, where a judge is hearing arguments in a case that could force teachers to stop skipping school.

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit teachers' union filed a lawsuit against the district Thursday calling for repairing "deplorable" conditions and removing the state-appointed emergency manager that they hold responsible.

The suit the Detroit Federation of Teachers filed in Wayne County Circuit Court seeks "an appropriately funded capital plan" to fix districtwide problems and calls for removing Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, also named in the lawsuit, and returning to local control.

It alleges that the district under Earley's control "has not performed its duty to its students, parents, teachers, and community to provide a minimally adequate education and to properly maintain the schools."

"Instead, defendants have allowed the physical condition of Detroit's schools to deteriorate to the point of crisis and have forced Detroit's school-age children to spend their young lives in deplorable surroundings risking their health and safety in the process and imposing on students and their teachers an atmosphere that interferes with their securing a minimally sufficient education," the lawsuit reads.

Earley said in a statement Thursday the district is "committed to ensuring ... students and staff have a safe working and learning environment." He said many issues raised in the lawsuit would be handled in Gov. Rick Snyder's 10-year, $715 million plan that seeks to help the district emerge from debt. However, Snyder's plan has yet to receive support in the Legislature - even from fellow Republicans.

Rolling teacher sick-outs in the Detroit Public Schools have forced the closing of dozens of schools some days. A judge this week denied the district's second attempt at a temporary restraining order against the sick-outs over poor pay, crowded classrooms, unsafe buildings and other issues, including mold and rodent infestations.

The union previously said it doesn't condone educators' actions involved in the sick-outs, but the lawsuit says the actions and others taken by teachers came after "internal complaints and reports were ignored."

The union's suit calls for the district to fix numerous code violations. It says city inspectors visited 11 schools and found an average of 14 violations per building.

Earlier this month, Mayor Mike Duggan toured some schools and said he saw a dead mouse, children wearing coats in cold classrooms and a gym floor too warped for play. Although he is not in charge of the schools, Duggan pledged to quickly come up with a plan to improve the condition of the buildings.

"Our children need our teachers in the classroom. ... But there's no question about the legitimacy of the issues that they're raising," he said.

An audit filed Nov. 2 with the state put Detroit Schools' annual budget deficit at $46.5 million. Snyder has said that the district's debt will reach about $515 million by this summer.

District revenues are tied to per-pupil funding from the state, and Detroit receives about $7,400 for each student. The problem is that the district's enrollment has decreased by more than 100,000 during the past dozen years.

In 2003-04, the Detroit Public Schools had 150,415 students. Enrollment now stands at about 46,000. The drop reflects the city's population loss - more than 950,000 people lived in Detroit in 2000, compared to the current population of about 690,000.

Competition from charter schools inside Detroit and from neighboring districts also has cut into the district's enrollment numbers.

Detroit's schools have been under state oversight since 2009. Earley is the district's fourth emergency manager over that time. His predecessors have closed aging buildings and academically underperforming schools, but many others are in poor physical condition and the school district is too short of money for major fixes.

Among those joining the Detroit union in the lawsuit is its parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers. AFT President Randi Weingarten said Thursday that "there's always money to be found" to make necessary fixes. She also defended the call to oust Earley.

"It's always excuse, excuse, excuse, as opposed to rolling up your sleeves and trying to fix the problem," she said.

Original Post

Republican Gov Snyder is trying to run Black people and poor people out of the state of Michigan. Because he is not delivering proper services to the citizens of Michigan unless they are white and wealthy. He is using austerity programs which means starving funding to public services until its turned over to his crony private owners, this is about white people owning everything, this is about white supremacy making all citizens depend on white aristocrats. Michigan have a surplus of money yet Snyder will not properly fund public schools.

In another thread I talked about this. 

sunnubian posted:

Charter schools were around long before President Obama was elected, and since the funds allotted to Charter Schools/Private Schools is "statutory",  ANY administration is obligated [by law] to allocate funding to Charter and Private Schools by mandate of Congress, and with little or no discretion left to the present administration or any other administration.


This is what the Republicans do. Charter schools is a Republican right wing idea they push strongly because its another way to PRIVATIZE a government common. They do the same things to every government common for PROFIT. They been working on the US Post Office, Congress is forcing US Postal to pre-pay health and retirement benefits decades ahead of time in the billions to starve it of money. Its a manufactured crisis with the goal of privatizing postal service.

Its what Republicans do, starve the government common or service of money to make it inefficient and tardy to turn public opinion against it, to push the narrative that government is bad and can't do things right. And then present privatizing as the solution while bragging running it like a business for profit is better and they are almost there with the US Post Office.

They are doing the same with our public schools. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, an Obama appointment, is a big advocate of charter schools, he believes reducing funding for schools by 18 to 20% right off the top for profit is good, wtf! 

This is all about siphoning tax money to wealthy investors and part of the game is starving funding to schools to make them perform poorly to cause the public to turn to charter schools to siphon tax money into private pockets. 

The US public school funding is about $550 billion a year, greedy bastards are going to find a why to get a chunk of that money by directing less toward education itself by taking profit through charter schools. Here where I live there is a chain of for profit charter schools owned by a Turkish billionaire. And that is what charter schools are set up to do, siphon tax money into private pockets. I know many charter schools are non profit but the fact remains, when a charter school is created it reduces funding to public schools. Its an inherently poor way to direct money toward public education but what charter process is meant to do is STARVE public schools of funding to the point of dysfunction to make privatizing appear to be a better option on the way to privatize the whole public education system FOR PROFIT, this is evil. 

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