Governor, tear down these schools
I applaud Mr. Finley’s suggestion (http://www.detnews.com/article/20110116/OPINION03/101160304/1271/OPINION0305) and do not believe it goes far enough.
I bring to this discussion a perspective formed from listening to my wife who is a school teacher over these many years. She taught in Detroit for many years and now in the suburbs. Also, my children have gone to a combination of Public, private and religious schools.
In my opinion, the decision of the State of Michigan to institutionalize education has run its’ course and it is time for a new model to emerge. If I remember my history correctly, the decision was initially taken to deliver on the promise that educating our children was an issue of the public good and since there were not enough private institutions, it was decided the state should step in and build the educational infrastructure. Well today, between private schools, charter schools, religious schools there are plenty of venues for education and many of them far exceed the quality delivered by the public institutions.
In my opinion, the communities should sell off their schools to private non-profit consortium and non-profit charter school corporations, something that would ease their budget problems, and get back to the original intent, the community for the public good ensuring that its young citizens get a good education.
The schools can differentiate themselves based on specialty, eg. music, location, or vocational programs. The community would then only have a variable cost tied to the number of young people it was supporting instead of a fixed cost tied to running a school that maybe over or under utilized.
The job of oversight should go to the state and regional boards that would break down the schools by type and publicize a grade card for each school giving parents the information they need to find the best music program or vocational program tied to rough carpentry etc.
I find this much more efficient in delivering the intent of a public financed education. The concept of if you need a car you fund a factory doesn’t make sense to me, I would rather buy the car I want.