Clearly money and/or racism cannot explain the continuing implosion of Detroit's public school system. For 30 or so years blacks have run the system and all city government. The fleeing of students from the system for at least 20 years has been all "black flight", as the district is 90% black, and has lost about 60,000 students between 2001 (160k students) and today in 2006 (about 100k). According to this article, DPS "enrollment dropped 23 percent between 1994 and 2005 but its per-pupil revenue increased 94 percent." In absolute terms, "Detroit received $11,631 per full-time student in state, federal and local cash -- more than several suburban districts."
I am attempting to verify that figure, and identify the "several suburban districts" that receive less per-pupil funds than does DPS (the Detroit News article's reference is vague). Many appolgists for failing public school systems claim that the failing systems get unfairly starved of funds, and that this at least partially explains their failure.
If these figures are accurate, they present more evidence that the failure of TODAY's black-majority public schools do not result from racism or lack of funding. As presented before on this blog, one of the nation's worst public schools is DS's, which also is the highest-funded and tied for most dominated by black municipal and school officials and teachers.
RL readers know that I believe US schools in general, including private schools, are slipping into medicrity, as are its students in general. But black students in particular, and the schools where they dominate, are on average performing much worse than average. Those school, and those students, more than any others need the reforms that I have articulated for solving all academic problems:
1. Require teachers to have BS and BA degrees in academic fields; eliminate "Education" as an accepted field.
2. Eliminate electives and all non-academic classes from the curricula.
3. Require non-english seconary language for all students every day K-12. As a practical matter, we won't fire all the Education teachers. But we will stop hiring them. And we'll stop increasing salaries for teachers who get advanced degrees in Education, but instead for scholarly degrees.
4. Require musical instrument every day K-12 for all students.
5. Eliminate inter-scholastic athletics from schools; shift those to local Parks and Recreation departments.
6. Transform some high schools to trade schools for students who prefer learning trades to earning a High School diploma. Take these facilities seriously, so that graduates with a "Trade Certificate" have something of value. Include some mandatory classes in reading, writing, and math, the sort of watered-down classes that dominate most of the current failing schools.
7. Declare some factilities as daycare holding pens for students who refuse to participate at either High Schools or Trade Schools.
8. Eliminate all non-academic activities from the school day: No AIDS Awareness or Career Awareness assemblies; no visits from local professional sports teams; no Just Say No rallies; no field trips.
9. Extend the school day, and reduce homework. When kids leave at 4:30pm, they should be ready to have fun and participate in sports. With all the above reforms, students will spend more time on scholarly matters, under the tutalidge of subject matter experts. Eight hours of serious scholarly work should be enough!
10. Eliminate junk food, and replace cafeteria foods with nurishing foods.
11. Eliminate mandatory attendance. Students who refuse to participate productively will get shifted over to the Daycare Holding Pens, where they will have options to earn their way back to schools. We cannot let refractory children ruin the sacred teacher-student efforts! Preachers and coaches would not tolerate such behavior, and teachers must not either!
12. Vouchers! And not just partial vouchers, or only vouchers for peopel below a special income level. Full vouchers... for everyone! Let Detroit parents have the full $11, 000 to spend were ever they like. The market will demonstrate who makes the better schools.
Black schools and black students need these reforms, on average, more than anybody else.