Sometimes I think Detroit should adopt a new motto, something like: “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it."
This time, the focus is on the Detroit Public Schools, which for years have been famous for incompetence, corruption, and the squandering of money. There were almost two hundred thousand kids in the schools at the turn of the century, a dozen years ago.
This fall, there may be fewer than fifty thousand left. In recent years, the schools have been under state control much of the time. Most recently, they’ve been run by an Emergency Financial Manager with sweeping powers over the system’s finances and academics. But this week, the Emergency Manager law was suspended until after a referendum in November that may repeal it.
In the meantime, the state believes that means that the old Emergency Financial Manager law is back in place. According to a judge’s ruling, when Emergency Financial Managers were named to run school districts, they had power over finances - but not academics. The stronger Emergency Manager law gave them both.
But with that gone, at least temporarily, the Detroit School Board moved to reassert itself. You might think they would move slowly and sensibly, reviewing Emergency Manager Roy Roberts’ academic plan and keeping it, as far as possible.
But instead, the board is acting as if they were terribly afraid someone might accuse them of common sense.