Rachel Maddow has done a yoeman's job in trying to be the town crier on the violence against communities that is resulting from the Financial Martial Law Passed in Michigan.
Here is a piece on a school in Detroit, a school that sends its graduates - teenaged mothers - onto college.
Rachel said this towards the end of the story : "What is new here is that this state has decided that local elections, locally elected officials are a problem that has to be done away with, that democracy is in the way of fixing problems in the United States now, of making things more efficient, particularly in poor places. Not that democracy is the way we fix problems but that democracy is the problem and it therefore needs to be sidestepped for efficiency sake, for our own good. Governor knows best.
"The point here, what makes Benton Harbor a national story and Katherine Ferguson Academy a national story is that the whole idea of choice for them anymore is purely hypothetical. The state has chosen for them. And that they've got is, frankly, that aforementioned dictator. Their hope -- their one hope -- is the dictator is benevolent.
"Is that how we think problems should get solved in America now?"
Here's more background on this story:
from Daily Kos:
EFM Takeover Of Detroit Schools: Teen Mothers Arrested, Children taken Into Temporary Custody
Approximately a dozen teachers, teen mothers and their children were arrested and taken away by Detroit police while staging a peaceful sit-in protest at the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit on Friday April 15th. Eight students, along with their children and some faculty members of the Catherine Ferguson Academy of Detroit, MI began the sit-in at the end of the school day in protest to Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb’s announcement to close the school for pregnant and parenting teens. The decision to occupy was made after many other attempts by students, staff and supporters to have their voices heard by EFM Robert Bobb through letter writing and petition campaigns, to no avail.
The protestors were told by police that they were trespassing and the building needed to be closed. The peaceful occupiers refused to leave and many were brought out in handcuffs. It has been reported by local news that “Some struggled, some screamed, all were put in squad cars and hauled away", while many more protestors and supporters outside watched in shock. The students themselves say they did not resist arrest. One told local reporters, "We just stood there and they just arrested us one by one ."
One supporter recorded this video of a protestor who describes being “manhandled” by police after choosing to sit down and not leave the building:
The protesters were planning to occupy the school building for an unspecified amount of time and had arranged food and water and plenty of support from outside protestors to accommodate a possible extended sit-in. The protestors released a list of demands prior to the occupation:
No School Closings
Keep All Detroit Schools Public – No More Charters or Privatization
Reinstate all programs and services that have been eliminated, including art & music as well as counselors & social workers
Student Control of Curriculum and School Character to assure that every Detroit school provides equal, quality education for all
No discipline or retaliation against any of the participants in the occupation
On the heels of the shocking announcement last month by Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) Robert Bobb to close up to eight schools and sell up to 45 schools to charter companies, he slated the highly successful and unique Catherine Ferguson Academy for closure. The school, which has been featured in the film Grown In Detroit documenting the school’s urban farm and in O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, boasts a 90% graduation rate and 100% college and higher education acceptance upon graduation. The award winning school is specifically for pregnant and parenting teens and their children, offering a wide range of classes and child care. It is the only school of its kind in the nation.
Lastly, EFM Robert Bobb also plans to close the Detroit Day School for the Deaf.
More Information about this Robert Bobb:
Detroit EFM, Robert Bobb, Salary Paid in Part by Billionaire Conservative Foundation
So who is Robert Bobb?
It turns out, he’s a recent graduate of the Broad Foundation’s Superintendent Academy. The Broad Foundation, along with the Kellogg Foundation, pays Bobb $145,000 a year on top of his $280,000 government salary. For those of you not familiar with Broad, it is one of the leading foundations promoting school choice and privatization across the country. One might almost think that paying a public official hundreds of thousands of dollars a year might amount to nothing short of bribery, especially given the very specific agenda of a foundation like the Broad Foundation.
Now, Bobb is proposing to create charter schools for 16,000 students from 41 schools slated for closure. He argues that this will save millions of dollars. I have to wonder, however, at the conflict of interest.
And the money quote:
This is nothing short of a coordinated effort between the billionaire foundations pushing school reform and Tea Party conservatives intent on slashing benefits and ending collective bargaining rights. Public schools are under assault by the forces of privatization, and public school teachers face benefit and salary cuts while the very rich are promised tax cuts.