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Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey on the sporadic closing of schools, and on statements made by Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley:
“Really, blaming the teachers—the glue that holds this system together? While we don’t condone the action taken by a small number of our members, we understand the utter frustration underlying it. It’s the frustration of educators who are trying to teach children in schools where black mold is spreading, in classrooms crammed with twice the number of students they should have, in schools where special needs students lack learning materials, and in high schools that no longer offer art, music or other electives. This is an emergency. And the emergency manager has failed to act. Pointing fingers at educators rather than acting to help them help kids is enough to make anyone sick.”
DFT Administrator Ann Mitchell added, ”Perhaps the emergency manager is engaged in this deflection because he knows that the DFT has ramped up its efforts to address the many urgent concerns that educators and members of our community have about the deplorable conditions in schools around this city. Detroit’s public schools bear the scars of the city’s struggles and challenges. We can’t do this job alone, and we urge all Detroiters to call on officials to make high-quality public education a top priority.”
Surrounded by enlarged photos of health and safety hazards in Detroit public schools, Detroit Federation of Teachers leaders and the faith community today called the toxic conditions a “travesty” that is being ignored and causing understandable angst among educators, parents and the community.
The news conference was held in front of A.L. Holmes Elementary School, which has mice running around, wet and peeling ceilings, and broken and cracked entry steps that have been mended with wood.
Statement by Detroit Federation of Teachers Interim President Ivy Bailey on continuing crisis in Detroit Public Schools:
"As frustrations by educators, parents and the community continue to mount over deep concerns about Detroit Public Schools' deplorable health, safety and learning conditions, we need real answers from Emergency Manager Darnell Earley and Gov. Rick Snyder. The community is crying out for help over what is clearly a crisis in our schools. The DFT has called for public hearings to fully reveal all of the problems in every school and for Earley to announce how he intends to mitigate the issues. Our students and their families deserve real answers."
Dear DFT Member,
As the national media shined a spotlight on Detroit Public Schools, people all around the country got a glimpse into the appalling conditions in our city’s schools and began to hear the voices of Detroit teachers who are fed up. What started as a local story with the familiar “blame the teachers” pitch is turning into a national call about educators fighting for safe, welcoming learning environments for Detroit students. We have begun to capture the hearts and minds of people nationwide who believe Detroit students and teachers deserve better.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This is what happens when we stand together to say, “Enough is enough.”