I try to speak straight from the shoulder, and to be as clear as I can.
I am not a fan of much that has gone on for the past 20 years on school reform whether in the schools, in the media, or in absurd expectations in the community.
Good schools take intense collaboration at each school between parents, teachers and students who respect one another, and who stay with one another for the long haul. That can only happen from the bottom-up, and the inside-out. It takes time, patience and a long-term dedication on all sides. There are NO easy answers. More money might help a little, but more money is economically and politically improbable. Meanwhile, we can not afford to keep sitting on our hands.
The public has been angry about our schools for the past fifty years, mainly because the focus upon maintaining that relationship has been lost in a fog of other issues and distractions. When people are angry, they fall easy victim to all kinds of opportunists who propose some top-down solution. After 20 years of such top-down efforts, things are worse, not better. And we should all have known better….
Even now, there is a strident public drumbeat calling for greater accountability, which is just a popular code word for more top-down demands. This will just draw more opportunists out of the woodwork. Be very wary when you hear school board candidates make easy promises that all will be well in their hands. In most cases, they will just sit on their hands, because there is very little that a good school board can do administratively other than select the right Superintendent, and then mainly get out of the way. But there is a lot that they need to do in reaching-out and galvanizing community support for the schools and to put an end to the notion that education is just another consumer good, in which all you have to do is complain, or jerk your child out and take them to a different school. This mindset undermines any serious effort which can be made at a local school, and it has to stop.
I have a lot to say, and I will say it in my ongoing blogs. I was on the Board for 13 years (1989 to 2003); in 10 of them, I was very involved, until Governor Engler shoved us aside in April 1999. I put-in at least 1,000 uncompensated hours each year. That’s 20 hours a week for 50 weeks a year. I chaired committees on the Physical Plant, Finance , Audit, and the Superintendent’s Evaluation, and have an extensive and detailed understanding of these maladies.
For the past thirty years, I have also worked with a metropolitan coalition of churches, which addresses a variety of social justice issues, including education, mass transit, health care, healthy eating, real criminal justice, civic engagement, foreclosure relief, elder care, and a sliding-scale access of impoverished persons to minimal levels of water and heat. The organization is called MOSES (Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength. I am currently the Treasurer of MOSES. In this blog, I will mainly address educational issues on which we all need to better inform ourselves and to take collective action. But, I am also hoping that you too will become a part of MOSES.
So, if you keep-up with my blogs, I will try to keep you informed about educational issues which arise along the way, and I will try to raise issues about which no one else seems interested, or about which they seem to be clueless. BUT DO BE AWARE THAT THE LIST OF RECENT BLOGS ON THE RIGHT SIDE ONLY INCLUDES 4 OR 5 OF THE MOST RECENT ONES. TO GO BACK FARTHER TO MY CONCERNS ABOUT THE DISTRICT, CLICK ON THE ARCHIVES, BEGINNING WITH AUGUST 2016. AND PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT MY WEBSITE TO ALL OF YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
Paid for by Plunk for Ben Washburn, 14600 Glastonbury, Detroit, MI 48223.