Voter Voices on Education

In advance of Detroit’s Nov. 7 general election for mayor, city clerk and city council, WDET is checking in with people who live and work in the city to find out about the issues important to them.

Education is top of mind for many voters.

Click here for all WDET’s 2017 election coverage.

Bre’Anna Tinsley/WDET

Nina Rodriguez

Nina Rodriguez:

Southwest Detroit resident Nina Rodriguez says she worries Detroit teachers aren’t getting paid enough.

If we are not paying teachers a just wage, what teacher wants to come and teach in the heart of Detroit? So I would like to see a big improvement. And I would like to see money put into salaries for our teachers so that our children get quality education, not teachers that can’t get a job that go to Detroit,” says Rodriguez.

WDET/Ziad Buchh

Christian Harrison

Christian Harrison

Christian Harrison is an 11th grade student at the Communications & Media Arts High School in Detroit. She says she wants to see changes implemented immediately.

Right now, our students are not as stable as other students are in other districts… There are very intelligent students in this district. We have to take this opportunity to gain our respect back, to gain our recognition back, because we are a great city. We have to rebuild our educational system and it starts with us now.”

Ziad Buchh

Doreen Odom

Doreen Odom

Cody Rouge resident Doreen Odom thinks the city provides a good variety of schools for parents and their children to choose from.

DPS has some great high schools, K-8 and then we still have some high performing charter schools as well as the private schools such as U of D Jesuit, Detroit Cristo Rey, Loyola, etc. So, there are still a lot of options but the bottom line is the parents have to do the work and find the best fit for their child.”

Ziad Buchh

Ora Williams

Ora Williams

Last spring, the school board chose Superintendent Nikolai Vitti to lead the Detroit district. Brightmoor resident Ora Williams feels that choice has put Detroit’s public schools back on track.

I think that with the new superintendent, with the new teachers and so forth, I think that they’re going to start a whole new round of working with the students and the parents. I think they’re on a comeback.”

WDET/D’Ante Whitney

Moses Edwards

Moses Edwards

The responsibility for education in Detroit belongs to the superintendent and the school board, not the mayor. But 23-year-old Moses Edwards says Coleman Young II will get his vote because he thinks he will do a better job than Mayor Mike Duggan at addressing education issues.

I feel like Coleman is going to make a better change for the youth. Because I feel like the youth is misguided… They don’t have a direction. So I feel like if Coleman wants to put a little bit more effort into the schools and get our youth up here, I think it” be great.”


To listen to all of these voters, click on the audio player at the top of this post.

WDET’s Bre’Anna Tinsley, D’Ante Whitney, Lauren Santucci and Ziad Buchh contributed to this report. 

Image credit: WDET/Ziad Buchh

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



This post is a part of 2017 Local Elections: How’s metro Detroit doing?.

This series includes WDET's coverage of candidates' in local elections -- including Detroit's mayoral, clerk and council races.

This post is a part of How's Detroit Doing?.

With voices, data, news, and experiences, WDET is answering the question "How's Detroit Doing?" Find a collection of responses at If you have a question about how Detroit's doing, ask it here.

Support for WDET's work with The Detroit Journalism Cooperative comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



About the Author

Laura Herberg

Community Reporter

Through sound-rich storytelling, Herberg covers stories about the people inhabiting the metro Detroit region and the issues that affect them. Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter 2018 and 2017.

Follow @HerbergRadio

Ziad Buchh

Special Projects Intern

Senior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, pursuing a double major in Journalism and Political Science.

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