>Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 01:28:28 -0700
>To: Detroit News
>From: Richard Gibson <rgibson@pipeline.com>
>Subject: letter to editor re
>Bcc: Michigan Citizen
>As a Detroit resident most of my life, I remain surprised that the city
has not bottomed out, but continues to sink physically, fiscally, and
intellectually; a continuing crisis and failure of leadership for which the
local press bears considerable burden.
>Now comes News columnist Bill Johnson suggesting that the takeover of the
Detroit Public Schools has gone fairly well, urging the state legislature
to continue the effort initiated by the former Democratic Mayor and the
Republican Governor. For support, Johnson says the citizens of Detroit have
abdicated their right to vote, since most of them did not vote in the last
election. Applied to the nation, that logic would abolish the right to vote
for everyone, a maneuver that may have some support in the White House, but
which would bode ill for the mass of people. In Detroit, voters who noticed
that their voting rights were stripped by the school takeover, and who then
chose not to vote in another Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum election, are not
abdicating their right to vote. They are voting with their feet, in the
>The takeover of the Detroit Public Schools has been a disaster from the
day of the first board meeting, held behind armed police who were unleashed
on students and citizens in the audience. Behind the takeover is violence.
What followed, the debacle of the hiring process in which candidates could
not be found, the resulting hiring of Kenneth Burnley who was utterly
unprepared, the crony-hiring process that led to nearly 90 administrators
winning salaries over 100,000 dollars, up from two people paid at that
level just five years ago (and destroying the limited success of the
previous CEO who sought to shrink the bureaucracy) , the bogus construction
projects let out with no bidding, the complete failure to respond to
desperate needs of children in poverty and teachers denied time and
resources---all that adds up to the most complete failure at school reform
in the nation---and the steady withdrawal of students from the Detroit
Public Schools....a method of voting that seems beyond Johnson's capacities. 
>The last hope that can be held out to Detroit citizens is the notion that
what they do counts, that their vote counts, and that because their actions
may count, their schools may offer a better future for their kids. None of
that is true now, and Johnson wants more of it. Citizens should reject his
idea, and the takeover. 
>Dr Rich Gibson
>College Of Education
>San Diego State University


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