Skillman CEO: Michigan Legislators Negotiating Future of DPS are “Worst of the Worst”

“Right now we have the worst of the worst who are serving as our state legislators.”

“Right now we have the worst of the worst who are serving as our state legislators.”

Yesterday we caught the first glimpse of the probable future for Detroit Public Schools as it emerges from state control; more than $700-million from the state, a district split in two, and summer elections for a new school board.

This morning Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson discusses the future of Detroit Public Schools with Skillman Foundation CEO Tonya Allen and Bridge Magazine education reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey. Allen criticized the field of state lawmakers in Lansing who have proposed several controversial changes to the public school system in Detroit.

“Right now we have the worst of the worst who are serving as our state legislators,” she says. Allen says there are too many lawmakers from outside of southeast Michigan that think they know what’s best for Detroit and Detroit schools. “As a community…we’ve fought for [local] control, now if these bills go through the House we’ll have it.”

Allen says there are changes that need to happen at DPS as well as in Lansing. She says teachers in the school system deserve better treatment and more resources to do their jobs. 

“There needs to be a revolt from the inside out [at DPS],” Allen says. “There’s no way you put broken and abused adults in front of children and expect them to teach.”

Pratt Dawsey says many of the issues DPS faces are decades in the making and have little to do with the current school board, which has been rendered impotent by the emergency manager law. “Why is there even a discussion of having a new election?” she says. “When the city of Detroit went through bankruptcy…there was no discussion.”  Dawsey adds, “How do we reengage the public moving forward so that the best people get put in the school board?”   

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.