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Listen to this Detroit teacher explain what they want in exactly two minutes

May 2, 2016

Detroit teachers protesting downtown on May 2, 2016.
Credit Sarah Jardine

Nearly all Detroit schools closed today due to a massive sick-out conducted by the city's teachers.

Earlier this year, there were a series of sick-outs aimed at bringing attention to both the poor physical and financial state of Detroit Public Schools.

Today's protest is different from previous events because the teacher's union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, is encouraging teachers to take part. 

Sarah Jardine, a DPS teacher and union member, joined Stateside to explain how the DFT and the teachers are not exactly on the same page about their demands.

The Senate passed a $720 million bankruptcy-style restructuring bill that would divide the district into two entities: an “Old Co.” and a “New Co.” - similar to the GM-style restructuring.

The "Old Detroit Public Schools" would use millage revenue to pay off the district's debt of more than $500 million, and the "New Detroit Public Schools" would focus solely on educating students.

According to Jardine, DPS emergency manager Judge Steven Rhodes has said the only way teachers can be paid is if the state Senate packages are passed.

But Jardine says many within the rank and file (regular union members) are against the Senate bill.

She explains all of that in two minutes below.

In the audio above, Jardine lists the following demands:

  • An audit of the financial records of Detroit Public Schools ("What's happening with the money?")
  • They want the state to pay for the portion of the debt they ran up while in control of the district.
  • The teachers want to be paid for their work.
  • And they want the school district to have a fully-empowered school board.

You can hear our entire interview with Jardine below.