Education Opinion

‘This Isn’t Normal': On Detroit Public Schools

By Christina Torres — September 16, 2016 1 min read
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This week, I highly recommend reading Alexandria Neason’s piece “Held Back,” for Harper’s Magazine.

Alexandria went to Detroit to hear from residents about trying to stabilize a school district that’s been struggling for generations. Not only is the piece eloquent and nuanced, but showcases how adult struggles can very much affect the lives of our students:

Demarcus Taylor, a seventeen-year-old junior at King, had had enough. He was tall and slender, with broad shoulders, and as he spoke, he shook his hands in exasperation: I'm not here to put the blame on anybody. I'm here just to reflect. Just imagine being at a school where you sit down, get your education, you get back up, go home, next thing you know you brought bedbugs from school to your home. Now you have an infestation at your house. Just imagine being at a school where your teachers are all sick and tired, and they're acting like they're not able to teach because they're not getting paid for what they do. Just imagine when your teachers say, "I don't know what's going to happen to me next year, I don't know if I can afford my car loan. How can I afford to pay rent, how can I afford to even live with the wage I'm getting?" He went on, 'There should not be any division. So for me, as a student, to see all our adults act a fool at a public meeting -- it really hurts.'"

The piece provides the important historical context needed to understand the situation, as well as a window into what so many American families face today.

It also acts as a mirror for us to look at our own communities ask ourselves: how did we get here? Are we doing what’s best for our students? If not, how do we get out?

The opinions expressed in The Intersection: Culture and Race in Schools are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.