Detroit Swag-o-mania

Some of nature's more beautiful moments in Detroit are created by the spring and autumn fogs that rise over the city. The autumn fog season arrived in Detroit today, rolling in around 7 AM and with burn-off, shown here, starting around 10 AM. Ship horns are calling out to each other all over the Straits of the Detroit.

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  1. #1
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    Default ACLU sues State of Michigan over quality of Highland Park schools

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...y.html?hpid=z2

    n the first case of its kind, the American Civil Liberties Union is charging that the state of Michigan and a Detroit area school district have failed to adequately educate children, violating their “right to learn to read” under an obscure state law.

    The ACLU class-action lawsuit, to be filed Thursday, says hundreds of students in the Highland Park School District are functionally illiterate.

    “None of those adults charged with the care of these children . . . have done their jobs,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “The Highland Park School District is among the lowest-performing districts in the nation, graduating class after class of children who are not literate. Our lawsuit . . . says that if education is to mean anything, it means that children have a right to learn to read.”

  2. #2
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    Sue the parents too.

  3. #3

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    Highland Park and its public schools need our sympathy and support.

    Highland Park is severely disadvantaged, even more than Detroit in terms of having an unsustainable portion of its population being poor or disabled. With that comes added expenses for their care and increased crime which leads to high insurance rates, lower valuations, lower revenues, decreasing services and a resultant middle class flight. Pile on to that broken camel's back the burden of millions in pension fund outlays generously granted to a large workforce, back when the population was three times larger and three times wealthier, none of whom live in HP.

    This spills over into the school system where the children of the disadvantaged comprise the student bodies. Many children need, through no fault of their own, things beyond education, like food and secure passage to school and home. Thing that never cross the radar in some districts.

    There's a saying that good schools are derived from involved parents and a quality principal. But what about those school districts where the involved parents have gone elsewhere?

    There is a small middle class citizenry in Highland Park primarily in its two historic homes districts. I was one of them. We placed our child in the Barber School Head Start program. It was outstanding, required on-site alternating parental involvement and had a teacher and an assistant for 15 kids.

    The next step would be Kindergarten with one teacher for 30 kids in a windowless room, almost entirely non-Head Start-ed kids. One peek in there and it off to St. Benedict's School in Highland Park to pay the tuition for an orderly and quality education by liberation nuns and lay staff.

    Almost no one in HP who had enough income sent their kids to the public schools. Many with even lower incomes scuffled and figured out how to get alternate educations for their kids. Today, the charter schools have to have bled off even more involved parentage.

    My solution? Head Start forever. Carry over the Head Start model of one teacher and one assistant for 15 kids for all grades. Provide Highland Park with the public safety proportionate not to its population, but its needs. Don't scold the parents who remain or are stuck there. Help them out.

    We can pay a little more now or a lot more later.

  4. #4
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    Whomever is raising the children is to blame.

    It's one thing if you can't explain to your child how to FOIL multiplication variables in algebra or the inner workings of an atom - but if a child cannot read or write - it is the fault of the person raising the child.

    I'm curious as to what argument can be made to state it isn't a parent's responsiblity. If I saw my child wasn't learning multiplication tables fast enough - i'd buy flashcards at at Walmart/dollar store and assist at home.

    The travesty is that an adult in the house knowingly and willingly watched a child grow up without spending 30 minutes a day to help teach the child to read or write. The ultimate child abuse!

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    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    Whomever is raising the children is to blame.

    It's one thing if you can't explain to your child how to FOIL multiplication variables in algebra or the inner workings of an atom - but if a child cannot read or write - it is the fault of the person raising the child.

    I'm curious as to what argument can be made to state it isn't a parent's responsiblity. If I saw my child wasn't learning multiplication tables fast enough - i'd buy flashcards at at Walmart/dollar store and assist at home.

    The travesty is that an adult in the house knowingly and willingly watched a child grow up without spending 30 minutes a day to help teach the child to read or write. The ultimate child abuse!
    It is the parents responsibility too. That doesn't absolve the state of its responsibility.

    The state's true guilt is that it is allowing kids to be pushed through the system without being adequately prepared according to its own standards. Yeah, it's partly the parents fault that the kid can't read, but the parents are not the ones passing those kids on to the next grade level while knowing they can't read.

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    This is another case of having too many societal issues at the same time that effect the school situation. It is NOT all the school's fault. Maybe they could have done more, but with dwindling tax dollars and rising costs for almost everything, school buildings that need major repairs, and all the other issues, I don't feel they are totally to blame.

    And putting this through litigation only adds to their costs! Now they have to pay attorney fees etc, just to defend themselves. Whether they win the case or not, they lose time and money.

    I agree that parents need to take some responsibility for their child's education, whether it be teaching them at home or putting them in another school.

    Yes...there's been a failure to educate...but to blame a school district that is literally struggling to survive seems a little over the top to me. Doesn't the ACLU have anything better to do?

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    the solution is more government involvement, it has nothing to do with the parents, the federal government hasn't done enough to make sure they have the resources available to teach these kids....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueidone View Post
    Yes...there's been a failure to educate...but to blame a school district that is literally struggling to survive seems a little over the top to me. Doesn't the ACLU have anything better to do?
    Isn't the Highland Park School System under state management? I thought that's why the ACLU is suing the state.

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    All the money in the world will find its way to the lawyers or to the crooks in administration. Thats the way it works around here

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    It must be the parents' fault. If they had only had the good sense to not be born poor and/or black in a shitty neighborhood in a poor town, they'd be fine. Hey, it's their choice to be poor, right? And it's not bad enough that their children are born illiterate, they can't even speak English when they're born!

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    DN, I know you're trying to be a smart-@$$ but in some cases it is the parents fault. There are lots of educated children growing up in similar environments whose parents realize the only shot this kid has of getting out is to learn the things they were either to lazy to, or were not given the opportunity to learn. It certainly does not help that the school system they rely on it disfunctional. I say sue em both and let the courts decide who is guilty and of what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    DN, I know you're trying to be a smart-@$$ but in some cases it is the parents fault. There are lots of educated children growing up in similar environments whose parents realize the only shot this kid has of getting out is to learn the things they were either to lazy to, or were not given the opportunity to learn. It certainly does not help that the school system they rely on it disfunctional. I say sue em both and let the courts decide who is guilty and of what.
    I KNOW! What is it with the poor people? It's like, all society did was turn its back on them for, like, forever, give them shitty educations, trap them in ghettoes, deny them opportunities, give them shitty services -- and they have the temerity to not push their kids' scholastic skills? I mean, WTF? You're damn right it's the parents at fault! Just because you're a member of a permanent underclass in the worst possible situation doesn't mean you shouldn't force your child to hit those books!

    I mean, it's not like, somehow, we're all at fault for abdicating any social duty to our collective common welfare. Lies!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    Highland Park and its public schools need our sympathy and support.

    ...<snip>...Provide Highland Park with the public safety proportionate not to its population, but its needs. Don't scold the parents who remain or are stuck there. Help them out.

    We can pay a little more now or a lot more later.
    Sympathy and support come with dissolution of the dysfunctional government in place. It should become the 'opportunity' for either county, state, or federal government. Existing labor agreements and contracts and pensions all get torn up and replaced with a generic public pension reserved for those who don't manage their affairs well enough. I know many will say that there's not enough money -- but if failure of pensions is in the future, then money that has gone to corruption and waste in HP will instead find its way to better places -- because those in charge will realize their future is wrapped up not just in their ability to get good agreements today -- but 'sustainable' financial success for their city.

    Or it just goes away along with the failure.

    So I agree 100% with you on our obligations to step in and helpl with HP.

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    Being poor is a red herring.

    Every child could learn to read and write using nothing more than a Bible (or any book), pen and paper.

    I agree 100% about the lack of quality public schools, bad enviroment etc at the HP facilities - my point was merely - the reasons cited (i.e. inability to read and write) should be child abuse for the parents. You don't need to rely on any government/school to teach that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    Being poor is a red herring.

    Every child could learn to read and write using nothing more than a Bible (or any book), pen and paper.

    I agree 100% about the lack of quality public schools, bad enviroment etc at the HP facilities - my point was merely - the reasons cited (i.e. inability to read and write) should be child abuse for the parents. You don't need to rely on any government/school to teach that.
    I honestly don't get this line of thought. Of course, any child could theoretically learn to read and write using the Bible. Hell, American slaves did it! But why are kids in Highland Park "bad" for not doing what we wouldn't ever expect of kids in any rich district? You're expecting the most from the kids who have the least and when they don't give that then you say it's their own fault.

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    I grew up in Northern Macomb County - and that's how we learned - and I learned to read/write in the 80's - so it's not that archaic.

    No need to make excuses for people's bad behavior.

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    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    I grew up in Northern Macomb County - and that's how we learned - and I learned to read/write in the 80's - so it's not that archaic.

    No need to make excuses for people's bad behavior.
    Well, I hope the ACLU sues your school district too.

  18. #18
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    The only people who win in suing are the lawyers. Did you see what happened to Mammoth Lakes, CA earlier this month - rich ski resort town in CA lost a frivolus $40 million lawsuit. So they filed for bakruptcy. Reduced payments and life goes on. The ACLU can sue HP/Mich all it wants - it won't collect. The city will just file bankuptcy/the liability will be adjusted accordingly. http://www.inquisitr.com/268353/mamm...12-california/

    And PS - The 14 year old still won't know how to read or write.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    But why are kids in Highland Park "bad" for not doing what we wouldn't ever expect of kids in any rich district? You're expecting the most from the kids who have the least and when they don't give that then you say it's their own fault.
    My son is 4 and he's learning to read and write with a couple of $2 workbooks from Target, flashcards we made from 3x5 cards, some blank paper and crayons. Total cost about $10.

    Short of a clinical condition, there is NO damn reason to be illiterate. Even in flat-broke districts, there are after-school programs, clinics run by non-profits and churches, free workbooks from libraries, etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMcB View Post
    My son is 4 and he's learning to read and write with a couple of $2 workbooks from Target, flashcards we made from 3x5 cards, some blank paper and crayons. Total cost about $10.

    Short of a clinical condition, there is NO damn reason to be illiterate. Even in flat-broke districts, there are after-school programs, clinics run by non-profits and churches, free workbooks from libraries, etc...
    Clearly, there is a reason to be illiterate... Otherwise, we wouldn't have illiterate people.

    But I know where you're going with this one. Places like Highland Park have such low literacy rates because of the people who choose to live there. If the people cared about being literate then they wouldn't live in places like Highland Park. Except... I'm sure that 14 year old kid did not choose to live in Highland Park or to even be born for that matter.

    But really, that's not even my problem with Highland Park schools, and by extension, the state. My problem with the school system is that they are rubber stamping these kids through the system and ignoring the problem. How does a kid get to 7th grade writing like that?! If someone can give me a legitimate answer to that then they should represent the state in court.

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    I think we're splitting hairs. Your argument is that the state shouldn't have passed kids to higher grades without meeting a certain metric/hurdle. I don't think anyone would disagree with you on that.

    My point is that the lack of ability to read/write is the parent's fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    Isn't the Highland Park School System under state management? I thought that's why the ACLU is suing the state.
    My apologies. I didn't read the whole article and did not realize that they were under State management, and that the ACLU is suing the State as well.

    Perhaps this is the right move.

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    Yeah, it's the parents fault. They could have raised those children any way they wanted.

    And homosexuality is a lifestyle choice...

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    Quote Originally Posted by belleislerunner View Post
    I think we're splitting hairs. Your argument is that the state shouldn't have passed kids to higher grades without meeting a certain metric/hurdle. I don't think anyone would disagree with you on that.

    My point is that the lack of ability to read/write is the parent's fault.
    I would not assume all parents are capable of teaching their kids to read. I would not assume all parents have much time with their kids. I do think a lot of underprepared people become parents. In any case, as numerous other people have said, whether it is the parents' fault or not makes little difference to the uneducated children. If the purpose of this lawsuit is to draw attention to the problem, I'm OK with that, but there is no likelihood that there will be any significant improvement as a result of any legal remedy, so if that's what the ACLU is after they are wasting their time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Yeah, it's the parents fault. They could have raised those children any way they wanted.
    The parents do shoulder some blame here. My family didn't have much money when I was growing up so my mom made a point to read to me at a very young age. We would go to the Detroit Public Library and pick out a couple books.

    As far as the folks here not wanting to help the kids, what is your solution, keep passing them until they graduate? Then when they have no skills to hold down a job, what do we do? Toss them in prison?
    Last edited by Detroitej72; July-12-12 at 04:35 PM.

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