Middle/working class families are the key to success for Detroit. Attracting them will not be solved overnight. It requires incentives and taking care of BLIGHT, CRIME, STREET LIGHTS and SCHOOLS now.
The first three are getting lip service with some plans in place, but Detroit is failing at even addressing its education deficit. Families with children are aware that education is a key to their children’s success. This problem does not get enough press and certainly action. The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) is not doing good enough and as it expands beyond Detroit they will be less focused on the city.
The EAA is using some new teaching techniques that are worth trying, but these are no substitute for an experienced hands on teacher to providing guidance and direction. Many teachers and their unions attack the EAA and call for its disbandment rather working with it to improve results.
Historically there is a short link between a child’s education and parental involvement and awareness. Parents are the ones electing the local School Board. If their child is having problems in school there is a good chance they know someone on the Board they can approach. If they don’t get answers they can vote the member out of office. The EAA is controlled at the state level and the only power of the vote available to the parent is the Governor. He is not an educator and he has many distractions and can afford to allocate only so much time to students who are being left behind. This problem will get worse as the EAA expands to other parts of the state.
Reorganizing the Education Achievement Authority, decentralizing its duties amongst the school districts, needs to be examined. Further, teacher unions need to go through a mental adjustment. Just like the United Auto Workers focused entirely on the betterment of its members even at the expense of the industry that it was part of, teacher unions first focus is improving the life of its members even if it means reducing the product produced by the institutions that they work for; the schools. This needs to change.
Detroit’s schools are under performing other school districts. It is going to take extra dollars to catch up. Some of the extra dollars could have come from better negotiations with the Detroit Red Wings regarding the new arena such as a $5 per ticket surcharge going to the betterment of the DPS. This applies to Ford Field and Comerica Park also. In this way there would have been a direct benefit to the city for having these facilities.
The city also needs to implement two incentives to attract new middle class residence. Give them a house for free, http://lstrn.us/1ixnt4T, and a free college education for their children, http://lstrn.us/14vQ3Ql.