Thursday, April 9, 2009

School Closures

In yet another disturbing and shocking turn of events, as a direct result of The Great Recession 23 schools in the Detroit area will be closed and nearly 600 teachers will be laid off in order to trim enough money from this year's budget to eliminate the deficit.

While this is hurtful, appalling and nauseating for teachers and administrators, it is nothing compared to what an independent report concluded based on the results of closing 21 schools in the district (5 of which were schools that will remain open and are not included on the city's list for slated closure). The independent report, not discussed by the city's board and not included in most news reports, shows a projected increased dropout rate next year of more than 4,000 students as a result of longer school commutes, larger class sizes, and fewer school and after school programs, clubs, and sports. That depicts a nearly 5% increase in the drop out rate from last year, which was already a record high. Altogether, the graduation rate of area high schoolers is projected at an abysmal 60% for the next four years. Not all schools are high schools, of course, many are elementary schools, meaning that a significant percentage of children will drop out before they finish elementary school as a result of having (projected...) 90+ minute bus rides each way to and from school.

Similarly, Tucson, Arizona, will also cut more than 600 teachers this year, though they hope will stimulus money and additional petition funding from the government, they can retain more than 400 of those laid off. A bit brighter, but still bleak.

While I agree with the stimulus package, it seems the provisions were too small for many school districts, and as a result, many are continuing with closures, layoffs and cut programs.

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