Thousands of Detroit students without books for months

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Prinnctopher's Belt, Oct 30, 2011.

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  1. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    By Jay Scott Smith
    3:09 PM on 10/28/2011

    DETROIT - The 2011-2012 Detroit Public School year started on Sept. 6, with thousands of homes and streets all over the city adorned with signs that had the two-word slogan "I'm In" everywhere. Nearly two months into the school year, the one thing that is not in a lot of Detroit Schools right now are books.

    "I know there is a shortage and there is an order and they are still sharing books," said Andrew Hayes, whose son is a third-grader at Fisher Magnet Elementary on the city's east side. "There are a lot of frustrated parents. They want the kids to have what they are supposed to have. At the beginning of the year, we were told that every student would have the textbooks. It's seven weeks into school."

    Teachers at Cass Technical High School -- the city's largest high school -- say that they are short nearly 2,400 textbooks in all grade levels. According to the Detroit Federation of Teachers, the deficiencies range across all subjects including English, chemistry, geometry, Spanish, and U.S. history.

    Teachers at Cass say they are missing 950 chemistry books and 250 history books, while teachers at Priest Elementary-Middle School on Detroit's southwest side say they are missing nearly 3,500 books. Priest has nearly 1,000 Kindergarten through eighth-grade students. The missing books are for K-6 English classes as well as science workbooks and workbooks with tear-out sheets.

    Textbooks are typically ordered for the coming school year in the spring so they arrive before teachers return in August. The district has been plagued for years by issues of students using outdated books and materials or having no books at all, leaving teachers to improvise lessons or hand out photocopies of the main text.

    "If we didn't share books in some advanced classes such as Calculus or Trigonometry, we had outdated history books," said Theo Nicolaidis, a 1994 graduate of Northwestern High School, back in August after MSNBC's Making the Grade Detroit special. "I remember my history book had no mention of the Berlin Wall falling in 1989."

    At Cass Tech, considered one of the "Big Three" schools in Detroit along with Renaissance and Martin Luther King High Schools, this problem has persisted for decades. As recently as 2009, the district had credit holds placed on it due to unpaid bills with book vendors.

    "I remember how the textbooks would always be outdated," said LaKaisha Hollingsworth, a 1997 Renaissance graduate who also attended Dossin Elementary. "What made up for it was having a teacher that knew how to instruct without a textbook. A teacher that could bring the real world into the classroom based on current events and real life experiences."

    Cass Tech's original building was vacated in 2005 in favor of the current multi-million dollar building, which sits some 30 feet away. It stood abandoned for six years with desks and old books left behind in the blighted building before finally being demolished in August.

    "I remember reading Beloved by Toni Morrison in my 11th grade AP English class for extra credit and my teacher having no idea of how to approach the text," said Anita Dalton, a 1999 Cass Tech graduate back in August. "We're so focused on emulating the understanding of European classics that we lose understanding of literature generated by those that look like us and their struggle."

    DFT representatives have said that 29 of the 127 DPS schools have reported more than 8,300 missing textbooks. Of the rest, 10 schools reported no missing books and the other 88 did not file a report, so the extend of the problem is still not completely clear.

    "With regard to the Cass Tech example, the students have a sufficient number of textbooks for class sets, as has been the case in the past," DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said to the Detroit News. "In addition, all students and teachers have access via their netbooks to the core subject area textbook content online, and content is available online.

    "With respect to other individual instances at schools, we are working with principals to resolve those issues. The vast majority of textbook concerns at schools are due to schools exceeding the population that was originally projected to attend."

    According to the 2011-2012 budget, DPS has slashed spending on textbooks and library books from $6.5 million last year to $3.5 million this year. Teachers who do have books are often forced to share them with other teachers in order to make due.

    Stacey Apap, a teacher at Holmes Elementary on Detroit's west side, shares 25 reading books with another teacher for 50 students. She said that her principal has asked for and ordered more books.

    "I have 12 and she has 13," Apap said to the News. "We learn to adapt. We know we will never get our supplies that we need."

    Union officials said they would give surveys with the lists of missing textbooks to Karen Ridgeway, DPS academics superintendent.

    "Why is the union collecting the data on the missing books and telling the district?" said DFT vice president Mark O'Keefe. "This is how things work at DPS. A lot of things are backwards"

    O'Keefe said that DPS needs to do a better job of tracking textbooks each year and getting them into the right hands.

    "I suspect that there are unused textbooks in cupboards or buildings where people haven't found them," O'Keefe said to the News. "You may have a teacher or classroom that was used to teach second grade. There is a change, now they are teaching third grade, and there are some second-grade books back in the cupboard."

    Meanwhile, the current teachers and students at Cass Tech and other schools continue to sit and wait for their books. The frustration has become a part of the DPS experience.

    "Someone tell me what to do to get these things in the classrooms," Apap said. "Sometimes teachers call each other and do trades. It's like the barter system of ancient times."

    "I don't know how many kids at Cass Tech have Internet access," said Edward Long, whose son is a sophomore at Cass. "I know my wife and I would do better helping him if we had the textbook, something we can open at the dining room table so we don't have to go on a laptop. But maybe that's old school."
  2. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    oh well, detroit has been run by liberals for years. time to give the students the chance to go to the same private schools the rich liberals kids go to.
  3. BeautifullyChaotic

    BeautifullyChaotic Well-Known Member

    The spending cuts are effecting education across the nation and making excuses for kids not having books is pathetic. It's a sad thing that these kids are required to have internet access at home because some families can't afford it, and this is one reason that some kids will be forced to fall behind. The internet was not meant to replace books and forcing kids to read their textbooks online can also cause vision problems, that amount of reading from a brightly contrasted computer screen has been proven to cause headaches as well. The government needs to put the money back in the schools, even in Texas education spending has been cut nearly in half, with more and more people moving to Texas each year creating the need for more schools and bigger classrooms, so why cut the budget? There is no reason any classroom should have only 13 text books, as most classrooms have 20+ students.
    Meanwhile we are spending billions on big business bail outs. Way to set your priorities in order, America.
  4. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    we spend too much on education with most of the money going into the pockets of the ultral left teachers unions.
  5. BeautifullyChaotic

    BeautifullyChaotic Well-Known Member

    But if we spend too little our kids have to do without textbooks and try to learn in over crowded classrooms, hindering their ability to learn and work to their potential.
    This is happening now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2011
  6. BrinkOfExistence

    BrinkOfExistence Well-Known Member

    Teachers should be able to teach without text books in my opinion, some of them have been teaching the same thing for 20 years surely by now they know it all by heart.
  7. BeautifullyChaotic

    BeautifullyChaotic Well-Known Member

    Yes, teachers should know the material well enough to teach it without a book, but the student needs the book to refer back to it when studying at home. I wound't have made it through school without my books, and often times the classroom lectures didn't include all information on the tests we had to take, you got that information from reading your text book. It's also important to instill a respect for the written word, if we didn't make our children read they would never think it necessary and the love of reading would die out. It's very sad that even English and Literature classes are doing without books lol
  8. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    There's no such thing as spending too much on education when students don't have the bare necessities such as textbooks and teachers; meanwhile another bulk of the US budget goes toward military and "defense" spending. We should be investing at least a quarter of the budget to education, and less than 10% on military an defense, imo.
  9. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    wrong. there is no correlation to spending and educational improvement. first thing, eliminate the dept of education.
  10. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    parents should be able to send their kids to the same unionless private schools obama sends his kids to.
  11. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    But you agree that students at schools without neither textbooks nor teachers cannot learn as adequately, nor at as high a level, as students in schools with more funding, and thus more access to the most effective educational resources? Students attending better schools with more funding continuously outperform students at poorer schools on, for example, standardized tests.

    Using my own city for an example, Washington DC has schools in poor areas of the city where greater than 80 percent of the student body score below average in reading and math, whereas schools in wealthier areas constantly exceed with greater than 80 percent of their school body scoring at or above average in reading and math at their grade level. That's a direct correlation if any. Note also that schools are not only funded by the government, but also by local taxes. Fact: In 2011, a quarter of the poorest DC ward's school children tested proficient in reading compared to over 80% of students in the wealthier ward's schools.

    Better funded schools attract a greater number of educators with the best credentials, which means not only thus turning out more students with higher academic achievement, but have space for smaller class sizes and student-to-teacher ratio, which studies have shown does greatly affect the level of achievement for students.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2011
  12. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    They can, if only they wouldn't have to pay unaffordable tuition.
  13. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Remember that miseducation is connected to prolonged poverty and unemployment, jx.
  14. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    you are wrong yet again:

    According to the census, with figures taken from the 2008-09 school year, D.C. spent $16,408 per student; second only to New York, which spent about $2,000 more. The national average is $10,499. By contrast, D.C. ranked last in the 2011 Education Week rankings.

    they spend 6k more per kid than the national average. spending has NOTHING to do with it.
  15. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    That article in the link you posted is about spending, not academic performance PER that spending, nor how that spending is distributed between different parts of the city. 225 million dollars was spent on facilities alone in just six schools in ward 3, for example, an upper middle class area of the city; whereas in ward 8, the poorest area of the city, 57 million dollars was spent for TWENTY schools. Can you guess which of these wards had students with the highest proficiency rates in reading and math? This is a huge indicator that funding in fact does play a significant role in rates of student performance in academics.

    Schools in a poverty-ridden city such as Detroit don't have enough books because of lack of funding. Lack of funding is an obvious hindrance to these students' abilities to exceed as highly as students in schools with adequate resources and access to them. We see examples of what miseducation in public schools produces in poor areas everyday in the unemployment, poverty, and crime rates.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 3, 2011
  16. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    I think there has to be a combination of education reform and increased funding for quality resources, such as highly credentialed teachers and updated textbooks, computers, labs, etc. regardless of socioeconomic gaps.
  17. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    they need to eliminate teachers unions.

    The truth is that spending on government education has increased 375% over the last four decades. Per pupil spending has gone from $5,671 in 1970 to $12,922 in 2007-2008. That’s a 128% increase in per pupil spending. And when it comes to hiring more people to staff government schools, employment has increased at 10 times the rate compared to student enrollment. The number of school administrators per pupil has doubled.
  18. jxdama

    jxdama Staff Member Safety & Support

    schools are nothing more than a democrat party slush fund. more union teachers means more money flowing to democrats.

    liberals have been in charge of all these cities you name for decades and the schools there are shit. get rid if the liberals.
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