Detroiters came out in masses, to protest the proposed changes to State Laws by Michigan’s newly elected Governor, Rick Snyder. Many of the proposed changes will have a substantial impact on the Detroit community and its residents.
There are measures in the budget proposed by Governor Snyder to tax the pensions of retired workers in the State of Michigan, eliminating tax breaks for seniors and low income workers. But the most disturbing are the proposed cuts to education. Governor Snyder is proposing to cut almost $960 million from the state’s K-12 budget, about 5.3 percent of the $18 billion spent to operate Michigan’s K-12 schools.
In total, the impact on schools would be about $715 per student. Cuts to public school’s budgets by 4 percent, or about $470 per student would have a major impact on students in Detroit. About 160,000 school-aged children attend K-12 public schools in Detroit. Each K-12 public school district receives from the State of Michigan at least $7,316.00 annually per enrolled student.
Detroit Public Schools are losing students at an alarming rate; in 2000 Detroit had 168,213 students. Detroit Public Schools has lost 83,336 students in the last decade. With the loss of so many students in the Detroit School District, funding from the state has decreased tremendously. With further proposed cuts in the offing, the young students of Detroit stand to suffer even more.
These schools, which are already under control by the state, with the assignment of financial manager Robert Bobb, have been under great distress and have suffered greatly in the last three years.
The district has 142 schools, including nine charters, down from 270 in 2000. Robert Bobb is proposing to close an additional 41 schools in the coming year.
With all that has happened in Detroit’s educational system, it brings a question to mind. Does the State of Michigan really have the best interest of our children in mind?
With an already high dropout rate, truancy issues and lack of parent involvement, how can the reduction in funding possibly be the answer? Young black men & women are already at a disadvantage in this country, it brings to mind the question, is there a consorted effort to dummy down our Black youth? In what way does the closing of schools or a cut in funding increase the chances of our young Black Men & Women succeeding in life? Although there are those that beat the odds no matter how much the deck is stacked against them, it is amazing that there is such a lack of sensitivity to the needs of the youth in the African American community.