"A National Disgrace" Dan Rather's report on the Detroit Public Schools

Apr 29, 2011

Dan Rather will air a special two-hour program on the Detroit Public School system titled "A National Disgrace."

It will air on HDNet Tuesday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m. eastern as part of their "Dan Rather Reports" program, and will be re-broadcast at 11:00 p.m. on the same night.

This from HDNet's press release:

The special takes its title from a controversial comment by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and presents an unflinching look at corruption, mismanagement and failure. Tens of millions of dollars have been stolen from the district. And a school board bickers over trivialities, while their students score at the bottom on national tests.

The report is full of heartbreaking images: children sitting in class for days without a teacher; a principal addressing graduating seniors with stories of the violence they’ve seen; and abandoned schools left to rot in an increasingly empty city.

“While we instinctively know that both Detroit and our nation’s public schools are struggling mightily, we cannot afford to avert our eyes any longer,” said Dan Rather, host and managing editor of “Dan Rather Reports.” “Before we can tackle what ails us as a country, we need an honest accounting of the problems.  What we found in Detroit is that it’s easy to point fingers, but the difficulty of the task of healing our country’s injustices should not be underestimated.”

In order to paint a complete and unflinching picture of Detroit and its schools, “A National Disgrace” is part historical documentary, part investigative report, and part personal profile detailing the political strife, corruption, and systemic breakdown during the tumultuous 2009-2010 school year when the state of Michigan imposed new leadership on the school district.

The result is a searing portrait of a local tragedy that asks big questions. Does the situation in Detroit demonstrate how we view public education? And is the national disgrace the fact that something like this could happen?

Here's a clip from the program: