December 11, 2012

“Only 7% of Detroit Public-School 8th Graders Proficient in Reading”

Which naturally means the President of the United States should interfere with the state’s attempts at reforming a broken public sector union that is draining Michigan of resources and preventing any real reform to education.

Because he’s for the children.  And, as it happens, for those public sector employees who essentially hold the state hostage during each “collective bargaining” go round — vs those who wish to opt out of unions, and the dues that go to fund the money laundering and the quid pro quo that occurs between union leadership and the Democratic Party, all at the expense of the taxpayer.  CNS:

In the public schools in Detroit, Mich., according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 7 percent of the eighth graders are grade-level proficient or better in reading.

Some public school teachers in the City of Detroit and around the state of Michigan are reportedly taking a vacation or a sick day today to protest right-to-work legislation likely to be approved by the state legislature. Under current law, Michigan public school teachers must pay dues to the teachers’ union. If the right-to-work law is enacted, Michigan public-school teachers will be free to join the union and pay dues to it if they wish, but they will also be free not to join the union and not to pay it dues.


Statewide in Michigan, only 32 percent of public-school eighth graders scored grade-level proficient or better in reading, and only 31 percent scored grade-level proficient or better in math.

68 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders are not proficient in reading and 69 percent are not proficient in math.

Over the past decade, Michigan’s public school have shown no improvement at all in teaching children how to read. In 2002 just as in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education, only 32 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading.

The state’s public schools have made a slight improvement in teaching math. In 2000, only 28 percent of Michigan public-school eighth graders were proficient or better in math. By 2011, that had inched up to 31 percent.

We used to say that there are no bad students, only bad teachers. And while this adage clearly underestimates the likelihood of truly disruptive and disengaged kids, it remained — for a time — an ideal.

No more.

There are plenty of good teachers, but there are plenty of shit teachers as well, those just looking to put in their time so that they can collect their benefits and pensions and enter early retirement.  And public sector teacher’s unions, for instance — because they are based around seniority and tenure rather than performance — are in the business of protecting the mediocre and the poor at the expense, oftentimes, of promoting the excellent.

Now, I have nothing against self-interest and a desire to protect that self-interest. But at the same time, it’s perfectly fair to point out that what these clashes with public sector unions are often about are simply that:  the battle between taxpayers funding the inefficient, ineffective system promoted and guarded by, eg., the teacher’s unions, who don’t wish to be challenged; and taxpayers looking for another way to allow qualified teachers to teach their children without those qualified teachers having to answer to union bosses and contribute to the political agenda that keeps them as individual educators powerless to affect any real or broad change.

That is to say, it’s fair to point out that the public sector unions often put their own interests ahead of those they are claiming to champion — and yet then they turn around and try to claim some moral authority to an increase in pay and benefits, despite poor performance, because they are selflessly giving to the children.

And we all know that to be horseshit.  Otherwise the performance would be better, and these teachers wouldn’t be more heavily invested in p0litics and union fights than they are in elevating student performance.

Once again, Obama is on the wrong side of the issue. Regardless of whether or not an ill-informed public, spun by emotional appeals and shame tactics, back the public sector unions or not.

The truth exists outside of any faulty consensus declaration of said truth.  Which is why reality has so often and so demonstrably beaten back and crippled economically unsustainable economies.




Posted by Jeff G. @ 8:50am

Comments (20)

  1. Why does Obama hate the little black children?

  2. Hey, you know what Michigan teachers are doing today? Protesting!

    One can only hope…

  3. I know what will fix this: give the schools more money! Buy new books & a PC or iPad for each student, more nutritional food, fresh Obama murals at each school, etc. It just can’t be that the schools are run poorly & the teachers are inadequate (or inadequately incentivized/fearful of job lossl).
    Oh, and racism. Because it’s always racism.

  4. Detroit has been dubbed “the most liberal city in America” and each of these “progressive” policies is alive and well there. How have they worked out?

    In 1950, Detroit was the wealthiest city in America on a per capita income basis. Today, the Census Bureau reports that it is the nation’s 2nd poorest major city, just “edging out” Cleveland.

    Median compensation for a DPS teacher is $76,000 and Detroit spends the third highest amount of money per student among 76 large cities nationwide. Statewide, Detroit’s spending per pupil is in the 91st percentile and DPS teachers are paid at the 96th percentile.

    For example, in 2003 philanthropist Bob Thompson offered $200 million to build 15 charter public schools in the city in which he would guarantee a 90 percent graduation rate. In response, the DFT balked because charter schools are not unionized.


  5. Good summary and analysis. I’ve been reading several online articles on the union issue in Michigan and almost more telling then the article themselves, are the comments on the articles. The lefties seem to be either willfully ignorant or very confused about what the right to work law actually does. I see them arguing about “free speech” and “choice” when it is apparent to any person with half a functioning brain that unions are the antithesis of free speech and choice. When confronted with the fact that without the right to work law, employees at a company will have no choice in a union shop to pay a substantial portion of their paycheck to the union, to be used as it wants, the Left’s response seems to be for those employees to go find another job.

    Yep, in this economy, its just that easy. Just go find another job. In Detroit.

  6. Also didn’t a vast portion of these teachers call in “sick” today to support the Unions? Yep, they do it all for “the children,” those idiotic, underachieving, illiterate children.


  7. Then and Now.

    Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus. Or, you know, not.

  8. Clearly reading is racisss

  9. Do you know why Chrysler had to film “Halftime in America” completely outside of Detroit? Because Chevy was using it.

  10. The truth exists outside of any faulty consensus declaration of said truth. Which is why reality has so often and so demonstrably beaten back and crippled economically unsustainable economies.

    “Winston,” O’Brien said with an exasperated sigh. “I’ve explained to you how the Party makes its own reality, is its own truth. Don’t make me explain it to you a second time.”

  11. On the plus side for Detroit, there are lots of great locations for filming episodes of “Revolution”.

  12. This is also why Proggtard elites aren’t worried about their relatively low birth rates.

    They don’t have to have children, we give them ours to indoctrinate every day.

  13. Greetings:

    As the beneficiary of 13 years of Catholic education in the Bronx of the ’50s and ’60s, I feel almost compelled to share what comes to my mind every time I come across one of these articles announcing the failures of our public school systems. How does the Catholic parochial school system do what it does in terms of educating our young people, and why is that of so little interest to those who look at these things?

    And subsequently what comes to what’s left of my mind, is a bit of education I received in my teenage years from a heroin addict with whom I had a passing basketball acquaintance. “I don’t have a drug problem,” he said, “I have a money problem.”

  14. 7% is obviously the number of the children who refuse to stop learning. Shut it down and invest in sending free breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to the homes of people who have children, along with text books and pencils, just in case.

    I remember the time when I would still somehow dismiss these articles with a “It’ll still somehow all turn out all right” mindset. Now in Obama 2.0, I’m getting used to going, “Whelp, there goes the Country.”

  15. Obvious solutions to the problem:

    The per pupil money the state dumps into the school system goes instead to the parents to use as they see fit: tutors, private schools, charter schools, booze & cigarettes & teach your (own) children well; If the kids fail to meet certain benchmarks (probably assessed via standardized testing), the state comes after you for the money plus interest.

    Do away with the false notion of a “free” education: Everybody pays tuition. The state pays for the contruction and maintainence of the infrastructure.

  16. And subsequently what comes to what’s left of my mind, is a bit of education I received in my teenage years from a heroin addict with whom I had a passing basketball acquaintance. “I don’t have a drug problem,” he said, “I have a money problem.”

    Wicked Gravity.

  17. Pingback: Tyranny of the Bureaucratic Schoolhouse | Daily Pundit

  18. Apparently, the teachers in Detroit are wicked smaht!

  19. If you recall, Detroit’s School Board President was functionally illiterate, among his other problems, before they fired him for all the in-meeting masturbation… why should the teachers be any better?