Detroit Teachers #1 Goal: Themselves (part 2)

This article blasts"tax-supported public schools independent of the city school district," which, we learn, also includes the local school board. We learn here that employees of the Detroit Public School District (DPS) are fighting to keep student enrollment from dropping from the current paltry 116,000 below the 100,000 threshold that would eliminate any cap on the number of charter schools in Detroit. Above that threshold, individuals and organizations hoping to open independent charter schools face a cap.

DPS employees -- overpaid and overly numerous administrators, plus teachers and members of the school board -- are taking extreme measures to keep their jobs. No, I don't mean eliminating useless and counter productive levels of bureaucracy, slashing administrative salaries and perks, cleaning up rampant money corruption, or overhauling the curricula to focus on the basics. No, instead they are going door-to-door to explain to parents why they should stick with DPS, and holding abandoned, vacant DPS schools unavailable to charter schools for purchase or leasing.

The article doesn't mention that charter schools get less per pupil govt dollars than do DPS schools, that they have to pay for facilities which DPS gets free from the city, and that DPS is failing despite receiving more per pupil bucks than most metro suburban districts (to which DPS students flee!).

As always I must state my view that charter schools can only truly work if they use their relative freedom from govt regulations to institute back-to-basics education taught by truly qualified academicians.

(Part 1)


Tom Philpott said...

At private schools, are teachers' number-one priorities themselves--or the students? At Ford, are workers' number-one priority themselves--or making great cars? Can you name a profession in which workers place others' interests above their own?

Paul Hue said...

Tom, I concede the point, and certainly hope that teachers and all professionals place themselves as their primary priority. The difference, which my missive missed, is that public school teachers operate a defacto cartel, which shields them from competition against rival peers also committed to their own advancement.

In the case of automitive engineers, the US public today drives every better cars at ever lower prices, even as Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota engineers strive merely to advance themselves. However, because they compete for the same customers, and all customers are free to choose them, these engineers can advance themselves only by pleasing their customers.

In the case of government school teachers, they have managed to accomplish what I am sure that many automotive engineers wish they could: to limit most potential customers to purchasing only their own product.

I should perhaps rewrite my missive to incorporate this concept. However, since teachers (especially government teachers) -- unlike engineers -- pose as do-gooders, I enjoy taking a shot at this preposterous claim.