Detroit Public Schools: Canary in the Coal Mine of Public Education

What was once a prospering manufacturing city has now been brought to its knees by the policies of neo-liberalism and late stage capitalism. In an article in Time Magazine, September 24, 2009 entitled “Detroit: The death – and possible life – of a great city”, the author, Daniel Okrent states the real problem succinctly: By any quantifiable standard, the city is on life support. Detroit’s treasury is $300 million short of the funds needed to provide the barest municipal services. The school system, which six years ago was compelled by the teachers’ union to reject a philanthropist’s offer of $200 million to build 15 small, independent charter high schools, is in receivership. The murder rate is soaring, and 7 out of 10 remain unsolved. Three years after Katrina devastated New Orleans, unemployment in that city hit a peak of 11%. In Detroit, the unemployment rate is 28.9%. That’s worth spelling out: twenty-eight point nine percent