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Detroit teacher Shalon Miller wonders why separate and unequal is okay in Michigan in 2016. She describes the horrendous conditions in the schools. How can children learn in such conditions?
“Since I have been at Cody, I have taught in horrible conditions. Classrooms have old, drafty windows that are poorly insulated. In some rooms, we have to wear winter coats in class until lunch time. In other rooms, it can be ridiculously hot. Both temperature conditions are extremely distracting to the educational process. It’s hard for kids to concentrate when their hands are freezing or they’re sweating profusely. When it rains, water leaks into the classrooms from the roof. We have had to place buckets under the leaks and pray for dry weather. Unfixed structural damage causes water-soaked tiles to frequently fall from the ceiling of classrooms. The carpet has an ever-present moldy smell.
“These conditions are a slap to each and every student, teacher and other school employee. Combined with the other dilapidated school buildings and inferior learning conditions, they are a slap to the entire city of Detroit.”
Last year, community partners stepped in to ameliorate the worst of the problems. Yet there is high teach her turnover as teachers leave for suburban schools with greater resources and stability.
“Sometimes I feel hopeless. I wonder why people who have the power over our schools don’t care about my students. I wonder why my students are left in the worst conditions possible. I wonder why it’s the same problem in urban communities across America. Why is separate and unequal okay in 2016?
“Gov. Rick Snyder and the governor-appointed emergency manager for Detroit schools can say they understand our frustration, but simply saying they understand and then throwing their hands up in air isn’t good enough.
“I say, enough is enough. It’s not okay to tell 47,000 kids that they’re not important enough to warrant decent educational environments. It’s not okay to have beautiful suburban schools in the state of Michigan and let Detroit schools rot. It’s not okay to ignore the community’s plea for help. It’s not okay to disrespect teachers by refusing to give them a pay raise in over a decade. It’s not okay to take control of Detroit schools and let things go from bad to worse.”
Governor Snyder controls the public schools of Detroit. He likes accountability. When will he be held accountable?