Democracy In Action!?
Approximately a dozen teachers, teen mothers and their children were arrested and taken away by Detroit police while staging a peaceful sit-in protest at the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit on Friday April 15th. Eight students, along with their children and some faculty members of the Catherine Ferguson Academy of Detroit, MI began the sit-in at the end of the school day in protest to Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb’s announcement to close the school for pregnant and parenting teens. The decision to occupy was made after many other attempts by students, staff and supporters to have their voices heard by EFM Robert Bobb through letter writing and petition campaigns, to no avail.
Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Robert Bobb today announced plans to close at least eight schools this year and next, with 18 other classroom buildings slated to become charters or close as well.
Altogether, 45 classroom buildings in the district could be converted to charter schools under Bobb’s plan, which he calls “Renaissance 2012.” Bobb said the changes are aimed at reducing the district’s $327 million legacy deficit, stemming enrollment declines and improving student achievement.
From My Fox Detroit:
“Police came and they’re like, ‘You’ve got to go. You’ve got to go,’ said [student] Tiffany Baldwin. “We just stood there and they just arrested us one by one.”
…Baldwin’s three-year-old daughter was there, and she says she would do it all again if it meant saving the school that helped save her.
“I’m glad I took part in this. I’d do it a hundred times more to help the cause,” she said.
From Labor Notes:
Bobb dropped another bomb last Friday, issuing 5,466 layoff notices—one for every teacher and staff member in the district. The notices do not constitute final layoff decisions, and many teachers may ultimately keep their jobs.
…Some 70 charter operators interested in opening schools in Detroit met with Bobb on Thursday—the same day the teacher layoffs were announced.
…”There’s no question that when the charter movement started, a big piece of it was to try to avoid unionization,” [AFT Michigan’s David] Hecker said. “It isn’t just the financial piece of it,” he added, “a big part of the movement was always to try to avoid having to work with staff in a collaborative way through collective bargaining.”