Monday, January 24, 2011

Is there any good news in Detroit?

From the auto industry meltdown in the recent years, to their former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's incessant corruption accusations/convictions/ embarrassments to the current tales of the city's school system dancing with bankruptcy--- little good has been told about Detroit lately. Once the fifth largest city in the nation, Detroit is currently number 11 and continues to shrink. The decline of the motor industry has dramatically changed the state of Michigan as a whole. The famous documentary Roger & Me by Michael Moore chronicles the degradation of Flint Michigan due to the closure of a GM plant. It was really sad actually.

(Main office of a closed Detroit school littered with decades of students' records)
As I hear news of Detroit I picture the sad ghost town Flint that was portrayed in the movie. I mean, I know that coverage of Detroit on First 48 on A&E is not generalizable to the entire city--though its tempting. The city has plans to close schools over a 3 year period to help close their $300 million dollar deficit. My stomach hurts thinking of such as staggering amount. It's not just public schools, one private school is in danger of closing for failure to pay its $100,000 light bill. The school only has 138 students.


(A computer lab in a recently closed Detroit school that has been vandalized and striped of all metals
that could be used for resale)
With this said, I am unsure about how I feel about the school district spending $49 Million on technology development including the distribution of 40,000 laptops to students. The average class size is soon to grow to 64 students per teacher. 64 little hellions. Even the teenagers from the most affluent families are monsters at number! I will withhold judgement as that money may have been a technology specific grant and they were lucky to be awarded. Ain't that good news?

Photos by James Griffioen
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