Some Detroit Public School teachers planned a sick day to protest “unequal and unjust conditions.”
Enough teachers participated that Mason and Mackenzie Elementary-Middle Schools and West Side Academy were closed. While DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley argues the sick day puts students at a disadvantage, critics say the district is already suffering due to mismanagement. Nicole Conaway is a member of the Detroit Federation of Teachers and a teacher at East English Village. Standing near a crowd of shouting students and teachers outside the Detroit School of Arts, Conaway says the sick day brings awareness of problems in Detroit schools that are hurting teachers and students.
“Understaffing, underfunding under-resourcing the schools. Our students are overcrowded over-tested, don’t get the art, P.E., extracurriculars they need, and there’s not a parent or student in Detroit that doesn’t understand that that’s what we’re fighting for,” says Conaway.
Statement from DPS EM Darnell Earley on closure of three DPS schools due to teacher absences:
“Detroit Public Schools’ sole focus and goal is the education of its more than 46,000 students. That focus should be shared by all DPS employees. While we can agree to disagree on matters of policy, those disagreements should never impact our students and the instructional time they are entitled to as it has today. This unfortunate turn of events, orchestrated by a very small minority of the good and dedicated employees of DPS, is seriously misguided and directly harms our students – taking away a day in the classroom that they cannot afford to miss. While the majority of our teachers are focused on their students today and every day, it is truly unfortunate that so many of that same minority, who profess to be dedicated educators, have decided to participate in this action given its unjustifiable and inexcusable consequence. This does absolutely nothing to further our collective efforts, nor to meet our goals over the next six months of improving academic achievement and becoming a solvent and sustainable school district governed under any form of local control.”