Summer is upon us. And moving back to Michigan after being in Texas for 6 years has made summer break feel like it is still so far away. Most Dallas area schools have already wrapped up for summer, or are doing so this week. I’m ready, sooo ready for summer break! There appears to be quite a bit of variety as far as the end of the school year for Detroit area campuses. I know a lot, if not all of the EAA schools go through July, getting a short break in August before school begins again after Labor Day. Whatever size summer break comes in, I am sure the teachers in Detroit are ready.
Media attention, I am sure for a number of reasons, surrounding numerous issues DPS is having seems to have died down a bit. Maybe I just haven’t been tuning in as frequently? I admit, I am really tired of listening to the arguments, scandals and the back and forth between charters, public and EAA. Even before I became a counselor, my mind gravitated towards problem solving and compromise. As I type this, I am realizing that perhaps the bigger picture of all of these issues are the failed attempts at compromise and the overwhelming number of “cooks” in the kitchen.
I drive through Midtown and Cass Corridor (slowly, avoiding the construction barrels, workmen and chopped up pavement) and am in awe of the construction and activity….literally everywhere. Crumbling buildings really stick out now, as new life chips away at knee high grass and decay. There are for sale signs everywhere, and people.... people, tons of them. This is the perfect opportunity for Detroit Schools (and I use this ALL INCLUSIVELY to mean ANY and ALL schools located INSIDE the roughly 140 square miles of Detroit) to recover, revamp and rebuild.
I’m sick of this us vs. them argument keeping everything at a standstill. If you’re running a brick and mortar or online program geared towards helping children grow and develop skills to be successful, well rounded, productive adults all decisions you make should be in line with the following question – Will this improve my ability, as an educator (or supporter of), to provide the best educational opportunities to the students I serve?
The big question on my mind right now is in what ways will Detroit use this opportunity to rebuild how education is supported and delivered? This is the time for Detroit Schools to begin to build a marketing campaign seeking educators and supporters that want reform and have ideas. This is the time for veteran teachers to be in charge of decision making (I find that they are best suited to answer my question above, and answer it in, what appear to me, the grayest of areas). This is the time to pull together not only local experts but experts in their respective fields – people from education systems that have been there done that – and made education in their classroom, school building, township, county, district, better for kids.
In Detroit right now, it’s possible to create like no other place in the country; bike’s, cars, store fronts, bakeries, buildings, watches, beer. Pick up a paper, or even better, just look around - Detroit makes things. Detroit can make education whatever it wants. …what do we want Education to be?