Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Detroit Schools Squeezed: Is EFM Bobb Effective?
5,466 layoff notices were received by Detroit teachers. 45 "academically struggling" schools will be bid out to private contractors for charter schools. The single most successful school in Detroit will be closed. Catherine Ferguson Academy is a school where pregnant teenagers can get an education. Ferguson has a 90% graduation rate, and a 100% acceptance rate for 2- and 4-year colleges. Ferguson also is a successful program in the urban agriculture arena. Academically struggling? Day School for the Deaf, opened in 1898, is also to be closed. DPS EFM Robert C. Bobb was appointed by Gov. Granholm in 2009 to a city with a $200 million school deficit. Michigan's Public Act 4 now expands his powers to dismantle union contracts, dismiss the school board, fire all the teachers. City of Detroit two pension boards filed suit Monday charging MI Public Act 4 is unconstitutional. After two years of Robert Bobb, the school district deficit is $363 million. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called Detroit "Ground Zero" in the administration's education reform plan. So far so good, hey? Michigan School Superintendent Michael Flanagan said the plans must be implemented immediately. In addition to closing approximately half of Detroit's public schools, outsourcing charters, and laying off teachers, Bobb has a new contract with serial workers' rights abuser Sodexo, a multinational food services and maintenance company with a troublesome international record. Bobb will also replace Safeway Transportation, owned by black entrepreneurs providing 35 years of school bus support to Detroit schools with another multinational - First Student has safety issues. First Student was paid $85,000 to analyze the Detroit School District's transportation system, make recommendations and then allowed to bid on the contract, which Bobb awarded to First Student. Bobb added $90,000 to the deficit with consulting fees. Is Robert C. Bobb a problem solver? Does Robert C. Bobb's job performance allow for expanded powers, more authority? Can we see a more successful Detroit Public Schools in our near future? A school district with a prime directive around students and their safety and success? Short term solutions implemented by EFMs in the past have not worked. We need long term thinkers, right thinking doers. Is Public Act 4 the way we find them?