Skip to main content

The truth emerges...


Cross-posted from Eclectablog.

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts announced this morning that he's stepping down as EM when his contract expires later this month. He said, in his mind, the crisis is over and the DPS is on its way to being financially stable.

"I'm confident that what we have put together is meaningful ... if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t leave," Roberts said. "The deficit elimination plan says we’re going to get rid of the deficit at the end of the 2015-16 school year — and we’re on track for that — and get out of here and turn (DPS) back over to the local people to run it."
Roberts said something else, however, that shocked those who were present. He told them that his instructions when he took the job were to "blow up the district and dismantle it".
Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said he had expected Roberts to discuss Monday’s upcoming visit by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“When he said, ‘I’m stepping down,’ all of our mouths just dropped,” Johnson said. “I can’t say it’s a bad day. I can’t say it’s a good day, because we don’t know who’s coming next.”

Roberts also told those gathered more shocking news: His initial instructions when he arrived in Detroit were to “blow up the district and dismantle it,” Johnson said.

“He’s got nothing to lose by saying it now,” Johnson added.

Roberts said he spent the first several months of his tenure convincing state officials the district was worth saving, according to board members.

“Blow it up – those were his exact words,” Detroit School Board member Tawana Simpson confirmed.

Board member Reverend David Murray echoed disbelief at Roberts’ statements.

“He told us they wanted this district completely demolished,” Murray said. Roberts refused to do that, the board members said.

Whoa.

It's one thing have your school district taken over by the state. It's entirely another to know that those taking it over had plans to destroy it. Roberts' honesty about this calls the entire Emergency Manager program in Michigan into question. Does Governor Snyder and his administration feel the same way about the cities they have taken over? Are Emergency Managers across Michigan being instructed to "blow up and dismantle" the municipalities over which they have complete and utter control? What other secret directives have been given? The secrecy with which the Snyder administration has operated in, much of which is only now coming to light, make these entirely valid questions.

As for the DPS, they aren't out of the woods yet. There haven't been any formal announcements about the DPS being out of their emergency so it seems likely another EM will be appointed.

You have to wonder what instructions that person will receive.

UPDATE: Roberts appears to be walking back his comments or at least ensuring that they weren't taken to mean that Governor Snyder was the one who "instructed" him to "blow up the district and dismantle it". The section blockquoted above from the Detroit Free Press article has been edited and now reads like this:

Roberts also told those gathered that when he arrived at DPS, he was told to “blow up” the district and dismantle it, Johnson said.

“Blow it up — those were his exact words,” Detroit School Board member Tawanna Simpson confirmed.

At a news conference today, Roberts said the governor never instructed him to dismantle DPS, but factions from Lansing to Detroit, from community members to educators, had wanted him to make wholesale changes in DPS and “blow it up,” figuratively speaking.

“They had totally given up,” Roberts said. “But we can make it work.”

At the end of the day, I think we all know who the "factions" that Roberts speaks of are. They are the folks who have their hearts set on privatizing as much of Michigan's public school system as they possibly can. This includes a collection of Michigan Republican lawmakers and, very likely, the DeVos family or at least people aligned with them.

Also, there is a lot of news regarding Michigan schools this week and I encourage to you read these two pieces, one of which I put up this morning regarding "parent trigger" legislation (modeled on ALEC legislation, by the way.) The "parent trigger" would be applied only to Education Achievement Authority (EAA) schools which, by definition, are our lowest performing 5% schools. Currently only schools from Detroit are in the EAA but Republicans are working hard to expand it. The only thing holding it up right now is the fact that one of the Senators involved doesn't like the fact that the House put a  50-school cap on it.

Here are links to the two posts:

Why does Sen. Pavlov want even MORE schools in the Educ. Achievement Authority? Because it’s a cash cow?

and today's frightening piece:

Privatizing struggling schools: a cautionary tale of a corporate-backed, astroturf group strong-arming parents

Also, I don't discredit the successes the Roberts has had. However, the fact is, he has been lying on national television about his results and that raises BIG red flags for me. Read this:

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts boldly lies on national television about his “success”

UPDATE 2: I received this from DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts' office last evening around 5:45 p.m.:

It is unfortunate that comments I made this morning during a meeting with members of the Detroit School Board and DPS union presidents to inform them of my decision to retire are being completely mischaracterized.

At no point did I say that Gov. Snyder or his administration had instructed me to dismantle Detroit Public Schools. In fact, he and his team asked me to take on the role of emergency manager in order to save Detroit Public Schools and ensure that the children of Detroit would receive the education they so rightly deserve.

Over the last two years, Gov. Snyder and his administration have never wavered in their support of me, my team, this system and most importantly, the children of Detroit.

[CC photo credit: U.S. Navy | Wikimedia Commons]

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan, Your Government at Work, Motor City Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Teachers Lounge.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

a gilas girl, Bob Johnson, SME in Seattle, bink, Thumb, Alumbrados, Angie in WA State, JWC, Mimikatz, Sylv, DeminNewJ, vicki, KeithH, Bill in Portland Maine, filkertom, Brainwrap, glitterscale, Geenius at Wrok, Gooserock, Danno11, Powered Grace, PeterHug, Sprinkles, Debby, cotterperson, celdd, eeff, gecko, Matilda, silence, opinionated, concernedamerican, bronte17, TracieLynn, theRoaringGirl, cskendrick, boadicea, mrblifil, Aquarius40, chimpy, roses, Frederick Clarkson, itskevin, jalbert, Iberian, Cedwyn, hopeful, wader, revsue, Quege, Texknight, NMRed, SneakySnu, psnyder, cjfburke, TexDem, figbash, Eyesbright, LordMike, duncanidaho, yet another liberal, niteskolar, dwahzon, defluxion10, hazzcon, lcrp, riverlover, 313to212, dkmich, AllisonInSeattle, zerelda, marvyt, Steven D, Black Max, Emmy, solesse413, eztempo, rolet, Josiah Bartlett, Sassy, sebastianguy99, Hector Solon, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, rapala, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, tle, Ckntfld, ichibon, LakeSuperior, caul, chimene, democracy inaction, irate, sc kitty, sap, Alice Venturi, grimjc, Simplify, basquebob, dewtx, ChemBob, Brooke In Seattle, Dobber, Gary Norton, FutureNow, ratzo, eru, Beetwasher, cfk, SaraBeth, sallyfallschurch, Pam from Calif, Overseas, Sandino, kaliope, Isara, Tool, Ozzie, MindRayge, dsteffen, Brian B, peacestpete, JanL, bently, xaxnar, Jim R, Jim P, begone, Philpm, martini, Showman, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, cybersaur, edwardssl, bastrop, raptavio, seefleur, sleipner, KenBee, blueoasis, NBBooks, StrayCat, 4Freedom, DSPS owl, happy camper, Preston S, el cid, sceptical observer, Dinclusin, middleagedhousewife, Turbonerd, onionjim, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, blueoregon, Tom Anderson, Bernie68, bstotts, Little, OHdog, ZenTrainer, Aaa T Tudeattack, cpresley, krwheaton, Thinking Fella, pgm 01, asilomar, nipit, byDesign, tgypsy, camlbacker, ksp, Debs2, devis1, gloriana, aravir, karmsy, FishOutofWater, la urracca, terabytes, Dave in Northridge, MI Sooner, second gen, SeaTurtle, millwood, jhop7, hopi13, cececville, GeorgeXVIII, madgranny, JML9999, TomP, Empower Ink, JDWolverton, MKinTN, revm3up, also mom of 5, HappyinNM, ScottyUrb, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Tchrldy, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, skohayes, Old Lefty, Buckeye Nut Schell, KJG52, mikeconwell, moose67, Lujane, rssrai, royce, pamelabrown, Cassandra Waites, TokenLiberal, Jeff Y, catly, Gemina13, glendaw271, petulans, phrogge prince, BYw, suesue, billybam, humanunit, maxcat06, lostboyjim, legendmn, LaFeminista, maggiejean, pileta, J M F, OHeyeO, arendt, ARS, rudy23, cantelow, Norm in Chicago, Gorilla in the room, notrouble, Ohiodem1, earicicle, RageKage, papahaha, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, KenInCO, sfarkash, Tortmaster, jfromga, Livvy5, deviant24x, porchdog1961, Larsstephens, Railfan, Amber6541, Just Bob, commonmass, brentbent, confitesprit, NJpeach, serendipityisabitch, gramofsam1, Susan Grigsby, piers, stunzeed, Eddie L, DoReMI, cordgrass, samanthab, elginblt, Puddytat, DiegoUK, Betty Pinson, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, Oh Mary Oh, Actbriniel, slice, theKgirls, Onomastic, Barbara Marquardt, kerflooey, annominous, coquiero, slowbutsure, BlackQueen40, FarWestGirl, mikejay611, kevin k, deeproots, NormAl1792, trumpeter, boomerchick, Haf2Read, marleycat, Lorikeet, DruidQueen, floridablue, Sark Svemes, whoknu, enhydra lutris, peregrine kate, VTCC73, stevie avebury, Marihilda, cailloux, Vatexia, SteelerGrrl, stlsophos, Chitown Kev, Mentatmark, bassinduo, No one gets out alive, Monsieur Georges, livingthedream, quill, sow hat, leathersmith, Williston Barrett, greenbastard, We Won, ahumbleopinion, Joieau, 2thanks, Yonkers Boy, congenitalefty, Mr Robert, peachcreek, jan4insight, willrob, doroma, cassandracarolina, tytalus, etherealfire, jeannew, Glen The Plumber, George3, wasatch, peptabysmal, ShoshannaD, tn mountain girl, BobTheHappyDinosaur, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, Panacea Paola, Namaste1, countwebb, Thornrose, aresea, unfangus, howabout, lina, northerntier, Icicle68, Mannie, jplanner, Ishmaelbychoice, Halfton81, RUNDOWN, NT Toons, hamjudo, OldSoldier99, Capt Crunch

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site