Every Child Deserves a Great Education

Archive for June, 2011

Detroits Catherine Ferguson Survives But, Should We Be Celebrating 0

Posted on June 18, 2011 by dmayer

From The Detroit News

Just hours before the school was scheduled to close for good, Detroit Public Schools officials announced Ferguson’s building and its students would be turned over to Evans Solutions, a private charter operator that owns Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy in Detroit.

Rachel Maddow reports:

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Evan Solutions is a education consulting firm according to results from a cursory internet search. The company doesn’t have a website. That alone sends up a red flag. Why would an education consulting firm not have a website? Who manages the organization? Is it a for-profit company? What is its mission? Who funds it? Ferguson school will apparently be chartered under the auspices of the Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy, which operates programs for troubled kids out of eight other facilities around Detroit. How are Evan Solutions and Blance Kelso Bruce Academy connected? Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy also has no web site.

From The Detroit News:

Detroit school board member Elena Herrada, who went to Ferguson to hear the news of the school’s chartering, said it never should have come to that.

“”This could have been left a public school if they hadn’t let so much money go out over the years, Herrada said. The fact is we shouldn’t be celebrating this.”"

Susan Ohanian has done extensive research on the extraordinary spending of Robert Bobb on consultants for Detroit Public Schools — over $40 million recently. Are the same consulting firms that were instrumental in making decisions to close schools the same ones that are benefitting from those closures? It’s difficult to tell if they don’t have a web site or any other public presence.

While I’m delighted that CFA is not closing, I’m curious to know about Evan Solutions and what kind of future is in store for the school. If anyone has any links to information about Evans Solutions, please forward it to me here.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Why closing Catherine Ferguson affects us all 0

Posted on June 09, 2011 by dmayer

‘One of our members (GSA) is in China visiting her children because that”s where they could find work. For the past few months she has volunteered at a school in Shanghai that her grandchildren attend. She tutors children who struggle with reading in much the same way I do as an OASIS tutor here.

We are in touch regularly and she shares details about education in her Shanghai school. It is an urban school. It is beautifully constructed and immaculately clean. Teachers are treated with the utmost respect. The children attend from eight o”clock in the morning to three in the afternoon, much the same as American children. In that time every child studies regular core subjects and is required to learn English and Chinese. Every child also learns play to violin beginning in year one.

As our phone conversation drew to a close the other day, she said, “Little One (her granddaughter) has three parts in the school play. The tailors are coming to school tomorrow to fit the children for their costumes.”

I ended by telling her of yet another American education tragedy — the closing of Catherine Ferguson School in Detroit — we wept.

Question: What is the single greatest factor that impacts a child”s learning?

The teacher? No. Poverty? No. A charter school? NO. Vouchers? NO!

The single most important factor that has the greatest impact on a child”s learning is the education level of the mother. Knowing that bit of information, what remedies might you choose to make sure that kids get the best chance at a great education? One might be to consider investing in girls. This is exactly what the Catherine Ferguson School does. Now the school will close June 17th. Not because the students, teachers, or community want the school to close. It is an highly effective, award winning school. It is being shutdown because the Emergency Financial Manager is closing it. He has full dictatorial power to do exactly as he wants. He answers to know one. From Rachel Maddow:

The citizens of Detroit get it. They know exactly what is happening to their schools and their city. There is nothing they can do about it. Literally. They are living in a dictatorship. Try teaching those students the value of the Constitution. Pure hypocrisy.

When I told my friend in China what”s happening in Detroit, she couldn”t believe it. She complains that some of the news is blacked-out in China. I tell her it”s not much different here. The MSM just doesn”t report the news in the first place. I tell her she now knows more about Detroit than most Americans.

We should pay attention to Catherine Ferguson and Detroit. Republican governors across the country can”t wait to form their own nefarious dictatorships. Detroit needs our help. If we let them down, we”re next.

Save our Schools. Save our cities. Save ourselves.