Education is a fundamental building block for Michigan’s future. Investing in a quality k-12 education for our children is a moral imperative. The investment we make today will be the dividends we gain tomorrow.
Literacy is important to both our democracy and freedom as a nation. From all that I’ve read, one of the most important aspects of the slave trade was denying slaves the ability to read and write to maintain servitude. While slavery has ended, even to enjoy Freedom of the Press, we must be able to read what our journalists print.
Without literacy, we can’t study our nation’s history, to understand why our nation granted the freedoms we now enjoy. Without literacy, what remains is a dumbed down society plagued by the virus of cognitive dissonance eating away one by one, at our critical thinking, our attention span, and our very moral fiber. And here we are. Trump.
Today’s bondage may not be physical, but it is even more insidious. Children are being deprived of basic literacy both in our schools and in the home.
In educational policy, we are being drawn into the trap of privatization by “school of choice” marketing. This marketing is not for our benefit. Listen closely when a Governor says he is taking over academic control of your school, but he is not accountable for a quality education!
A Governor that would rather spend $35,000 to imprison an illiterate juvenile, than $10,000 to teach a child, has another agenda. Governor Snyder has been deaf to our cries, and out of touch with the components of good Governance.
Literacy is all the more difficult to achieve when the average charter school teacher has only one year of experience.
There are four steps to this immoral and unethical scheme to profit from the destabilization of our neighborhoods:
- Defunding neighborhood schools so they lack books, staff, and proper maintenance
- Labeling public schools which lack critical resources as “failing” to drive students away
- Closing the schools lacking critical resources
- Privatizing by giving away publicly funded community assets to for-profit charters
There was a time that brothers and sisters went to the same school, knew the same teachers, and were proud to root for the home team at high school football games. The viability of every neighborhood and its cultural institutions is important to literacy. When neighborhoods have safe, clean schools, people desire to put down roots and property values rise.
Conversely, destroying our neighborhood institutions creates crime and instability. It has been shown that closing schools and making children cross into unknown territories increased gang activity and gang membership in Detroit. Poor areas are easy victims because more families are renters, and these families have fewer connections to the neighborhood. Therefore, children who attend charters may have an even more difficult time forming stable positive relationships.
Yet, the opportunity to send our child to a charter school across town with a fancier name is so tempting; we may forget momentarily the impact on our property values when our neighborhood school is boarded up. Let’s remember, we are in this together. Destabilizing neighborhood institutions to benefit a business is counter-intuitive to government efficiency, transparency, and accountability. It also creates segregation by dividing children into two classes:
- Children who will be accepted at a charter and have transportation
- Children who are not accepted at a charter and do not have transportation
As I meet people across the state, I am amazed how similar we are. They say our nation is divided, but from barbershops to coffee shops, Michiganders I meet share many concerns.
Citizens express their concern for our future, for our infrastructure, for the people of Flint, for our Great Lakes, and for our schools. I have heard stories of citizens’ triumph over adversity, speaking up in the face of retaliation by Emergency Managers, and teachers standing up for students who have no one else. I am encouraged and strengthened by you. We can take back our state.
If you’d like me to speak to your circle of friends, community or political group, service club, civic organization or county Democrats chapter feel free to send an email to my scheduler, Jeffrey Salisbury at JeffreyLSalisbury@gmail.com .
No group is too large or too small. I hope to meet you soon.
- Bill Cobbs