Teachers whose organized sick-out shut down more than 60 Detroit schools today demanded that their voices be heard and that the district address what they've described as deplorable teaching conditions. Their pleas at a rally today received immediate responses. ---- Detroit Free PressDiane Ravitch posted the press release below from a group calling itself DPS Teachers Fight Back - noting they are a union within a union. What exactly does that say? Does it mean that the Randi manipulated Detroit Federation of Teachers is not willing to fight back. Is this a caucus of sorts that has led this sickout? Or is it something else?
DPS FB also notes:
We are not affiliated with BAMN, its' leadership, or any former DFT leadership. We are teachers united as it is time that we stand up and defend our students, our profession, and our rights!
I called them today asking about the role Steve Conn has played and they said he has not contacted them. Which is interesting given that previous reports talk mostly about the role Steve has played so far, as reported in previous ed notes posts:
- Detroit: Randi Sends in the Troops to Back Puppet ...
- The Wrath of Steve Conn: Wildcat Sickout in Detroi...
Teachers whose organized sick-out shut down more than 60 Detroit schools today demanded that their voices be heard and that the district address what they've described as deplorable teaching conditions.
Their pleas at a rally today received immediate responses.
Mayor Mike Duggan said he would tour schools Tuesday to assess the condition of the buildings. And State Superintendent Brian Whiston called for health and safety issues in the district to be immediately addressed.
Still, both men called on teachers to return to the classroom. And some lawmakers decried an action that had many students missing a day of learning.
The closures affected 64 schools and 31,000 students, DPS officials said. And there were indications that more sickouts could be coming this week.
The afternoon rally — organized by a group within the Detroit Federation of Teachers called DPS Teachers Fight Back — brought a crowd of teachers and supporters to the Fisher Building in Detroit.
"Detroit kids matter," they chanted. Many in the boisterous crowd carried signs that illustrated their displeasure with the district. "Thirty-five is the speed limit, not a class size," said one. "Students support DPS teachers," said another.
Theresa Williams, a first-grade teacher at Burton International Academy, held a sign that said, "I have 39 first-graders in my classroom."
"It's quite challenging," Williams said. "You want to meet the needs of all of the children. You have to do the best you can."
The rally featured state lawmakers, members of the City Council and members of the Detroit Board of Education. Many said the conditions in the district wouldn't be tolerated in suburban communities.
"I stand with you," Councilwoman Mary Sheffield told the crowd through a bullhorn. "We can no longer be silent."
The district closed the 64 schools because more than half of the teachers in those schools called in sick. The closures represented more than half the 97 buildings in the district.
While health care and salary cuts and large class sizes are big issues for teachers, much of the attention today was on health and safety problems.
Teachers —at the rally and during an earlier news conference — described problems such as mold, leaky ceilings, busted windows, rodents, roaches, lack of heat and standing water.
Duggan issued a statement hours after the rally saying he'll visit a number of schools Tuesday along with the heads of the city health department and the city department of buildings, safety, engineering and environment.
"Based on what we find, the City of Detroit will take whatever enforcement action is necessary to make sure all Detroit Public Schools are compliant with all health and building codes," Duggan said.