Board meeting set for 6 p.m. Tues. Dec. 7 at New Center One, Welcome Center, W. Grand Blvd. at Second
Ruling comes on the eve of crucial election in Detroit Federation of Teachers
The Wayne County Circuit Court held today that Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb has violated the law for the last 20 months by illegally taking control over the academic affairs of the Detroit Public Schools.
The Court held that Bobb had no legal authority to seize that power. It also declared that he had no educational expertise or experience — that “all [Bobb’s] study in education has emanated from unvetted sources, who may stand to benefit financially should his academic plans come to fruition and who have supplemented his pay.”
Finally, it held that his educational plan was a “fix” that was “short on teaching and learning wisdom,” an opportunity where some “stand to profit shielded …from the eye of public oversight of competitive bids” because of Bobb’s one-man rule.
In the words of the ruling, [Bobb] “was empowered to figure out how to pay for education fashioned by the Board. Instead he created education products he proposed to implement. His business paradigm envisions competitive marketplace schools where parents shop like consumers for the best schools with best being dictated by survival of the fittest principles of caveat emptor [buyer beware]. …Schools will compete for the best students, leaving less gifted children or those that come from households that somehow fail to present their children to school in the optimal ready-to-learn state, [to] fall by the wayside. Only schools with the best teachers will thrive and without encouragement to foster cooperation among and between teachers and schools, the weak perish.”
George Washington, an attorney who represented the Detroit school board, said “This decision is the beginning of the end of Bobb’s illegal dictatorship and of the pro-charter and anti-education policies that he has attempted to force down the throats of Detroit’s students and citizens. We will do everything necessary to enforce this decision.”
The decision comes on the eve of a crucial runoff election in the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Steve Conn, a long-time BAMN member who is a candidate for President on the Defend Public Education/Save Our Students slate, supported the lawsuit and hailed the decision. Keith Johnson, the current President of the DFT, has supported Bobb from the day he was appointed.
Shanta Driver, the National Chair of BAMN and one of the attorneys on the case, said “This decision rejects the educational program and the political methods that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and plutocrats like Bill Gates and Eli Broad have used in their attempt to destroy public education. The decision and Steve Conn’s election as President of the DFT will vastly strengthen the national fight against Duncan’s pro-charter, market-based competitive education model and will make it possible for us to repair the enormous damage that Duncan, through enforcers like Michelle Rhee and Robert Bobb, has already done to our children’s futures.”
Contacts: George B. Washington (attorney) 313-963-1921; 313-715-4886
Steve Conn 313-645-9340
Joyce Schon (attorney) 313-434-7075
Link to Baxter opinion and order exceeds limits for this site; link available in Detroit Free Press article at: