Darnell Earley, emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, has announced that he will be stepping down amid widespread calls for his resignation.
Governor Snyder issued a news release praising the work Earley had done under what he termed “very difficult circumstances.”
Darnell has done a very good job under some very difficult circumstances. I want to thank him for his professionalism and his service to the people of Michigan. He restructured a heavily bureaucratic central office, set in place operating and cost-containment measures, and has taken steps to stabilize enrollment. These factors should all set the course for a sustainable, new Detroit Community Schools, as I have proposed.
In the news release announcing his resignation, Earley himself boasted of his accomplishments, but said nothing of the students, or the deplorable conditions of the classrooms.
When I was appointed to this position, Gov. Snyder and I agreed that our goal was for me to be the last emergency manager appointed to DPS. I have completed the comprehensive restructuring necessary to downsizing the central office, and the development of a network structure that empowers the educational leadership of our schools to direct more resources toward classroom instruction. This and other initiatives implemented over the past year were completed ahead of my 18-month schedule…
Earley has come under fire in recent months because he was the emergency manager in Flint when the city made the fateful decision to change their water source to the Flint River instead of Lake Huron.
He has also drawn strong criticism for the dilapidated conditions of the schools. Teachers have been staging “sick outs” to protest the unhealthy and downright dangerous state of disrepair in their classrooms. Pictures of substantial mold problems and even mushrooms growing out of a classroom wall have circulated on social media, drawing national attention to the problem.
Many are pleased that Earley has decided to resign. Phil Fisher, a Detroit Public Schools teacher for 24 years, is one of them.
I think it’s the right thing to do, honestly,” he said. “If we want to get this problem fixed, the Detroit Public Schools problem, we’ve got to start with some leadership. It’s taken a year to open up dialogue with teachers — that’s way too long. I believe we need a leadership change but also a lot more transparency.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich issued a news release Tuesday morning saying that Earley’s resignation was a necessity “for the sake of the kids.” He also urged Gov. Snyder to have Earley testify at the congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis that is set to begin on Wednesday. Earley has been invited to testify, but has not agreed to take part.
For the sake of the kids, Earley needed to go, but this move should in no way allow him to dodge his responsibility to fully comply with every investigation about his role in the Flint water crisis. The governor must demand that he testify before Congress tomorrow and be completely transparent in turning over every document related to what happened.
The public also has a right to know all the details about his severance package, contract terms and any nondisclosure agreement. Make no mistake, this announcement today was not motivated by what is best for the children — it was about saving face for the politicians who are worried about what he might reveal under oath.
Earley will be leaving his position on Feb. 29. By the end of the month Gov. Snyder will be appointing a transition leader.
Watch more on the deplorable conditions of Detroit Public Schools here:
Featured image via Twitter screen capture