News Release

“Detroit Teachers Strike: Local Education Experts”

dpsCNN reports: “All but three of Detroit’s 97 schools stayed closed again Tuesday, the second day of teacher protests over pay concerns in the city’s financially ailing school district.”

ALYSSA HADLEY DUNN, ahdunn at msu.edu, @alyssadunn618
Assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University, Alyssa Hadley Dunn is author of Urban Teaching in America and Teachers Without Borders?: The Hidden Consequences of International Teachers in U.S. Schools. She is available for a limited number of interviews.

She said today: “Ironically, in the midst of ‘Teacher Appreciation Week,’ teachers in Detroit are fighting for basic rights for themselves and their students. While the media often highlight individual teachers who ‘make a difference,’ they simultaneously neglect to address and raise awareness about the systemic issues that urban teachers deal with every day, including, like in Detroit, failing infrastructure, a deskilling of the profession in the face of high-stakes testing and scripted curriculum, and budget and salary cuts. It’s much easier to ‘appreciate’ our teachers with mugs and chocolates and ‘feel good’ stories than to address these underlying and long-term challenges, but short-term recognition does little to make the types of changes that are honestly needed in urban schools today.”

TOM PEDRONI, pedroni at wayne.edu
Pedroni is associate professor of curriculum studies and policy sociology at Wayne State University and director of the Detroit Data and Democracy Project. He is author of Market Movements: African American Involvement in School Voucher Reform and said today: “One of the most remarkable things I see in our teachers in Detroit this week is their steadfastness in defense of black lives, black neighborhoods, and black schools.

“Detroit schools have been devastated financially and programmatically after nearly two decades of state control. The same unchecked emergency management through which Gov. Rick Snyder poisoned the drinking water of Flint’s children has run like a wrecking ball through Detroit’s educational landscape, closing down 200 schools, chasing over 100,000 students from the district, and unconscionably widening the gap between the educational experiences of Detroit’s children and those in most other parts of Michigan. Market ideology and white supremacist belief in the inability of people of color to govern their own schools and communities has finally, as of Monday, pushed our underappreciated and underpaid DPS [Detroit Public Schools] teachers into the street, ending the school day and demanding the full restoration of the city’s elected school board, reparations for the financial damage caused by the state, and a complete audit of fiscal malfeasance and corruption during the years of state control. Today I am thankful for the teachers who are always on stage in defense of attacked urban communities, their democratic rights, and the sanctity and power of the teaching profession.”