It’s no secret public education has been under attack for years. As of late, America’s education system has become just another snatch and grab opportunity for corporate interests, and Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is the canary in the coal mine.
What used to be an industry unheard of for bearing the brunt of the financial crunches that plague the country now and then has seemingly become one of the go-to measures for “righting” the economy. We sacrifice our children’s education and tomorrow’s successful, world-competitive professionals for short-term gains in the private sector. We take away computer labs, music and art programs, fire teachers, even railroad them out of their careers under trumped up pretenses in order to make cuts and save money that can then be turned around as backdoor incentives for our buddies in business, for the private pockets of CEOs.
In short, we intentionally starve public education into desperation, take every chance it has for success away from it, and then point out audaciously how it’s “failing,” all the while aiming to replace it with corporate schools aimed to make profit, more so than teach children. There is nowhere in the country this is more evident than Detroit, Michigan, but fortunately, there are organizations such as Bold Blue Media and Go Left America working along with local citizens to dig us all back out of the coal mine before the whole system collapses.
In the words of Bold Blue Media co-founder and Go Left America spokesperson Madison Paige:
Bold Blue Media is a political services corporation that serves state and local candidates and progressive cause initiatives by making high-level campaign services and training available at low cost to candidates and organizations who otherwise could never afford them.
Go Left America is our citizen engagement, empowerment and organizing engine — a revolutionary new way to return democracy to the people and give citizens a voice in their own states and communities. We really believe that people have a lot more power than they realize, especially at the local and state level. Go Left America helps move citizens from just recognizing a problem, to actually being able to organize and do something about it. We also try to amplify issues as much as possible to bring the pressure that is needed to affect change.
The organization brings in support from Washington D.C.-based groups made up of experts sprinkled around the country who help provide tools, training and resources for self-empowerment in local communities in order to contend on a national level with a bigger voice.
Both Go Left America and Bold Blue Media are 100 percent grassroots supported through subscriptions to Bold Blue Magazine and membership at Go Left America.
Groups of citizens who organize in their community are never charged for the help we offer at Go Left America.
Bold Blue Media charges fees to state and local political candidates and to organizations pushing ballot or cause initiatives, but those costs are kept very low because the fees are offset by our subscribers’ and members’ contributions.
Subscriptions from Bold Blue Magazine help fund the organizational efforts at Go Left America, all under the umbrella of Bold Blue Media.
It was Go Left America that helped the DPS school board launch a fight against the Education Achievement Authority’s (EAA’s) attempt to privatize and profit from the deliberate dismantling of Detroit’s public schools.
The EAA’s effort, largely, was considered a testing ground for what it hoped would eventually be able to take hold in a great majority of the state of Michigan, if not the entire country – crash the schools, take over their authoritative bodies, and implement their own for-profit systems in place of them on taxpayers’ money. It’s a genius move from a business standpoint (quite an opportunity), but a deviant agenda at the costs of our children’s education and our taxpayers’ pocketbooks, too.
However, because the EAA is so unpopular, it has been hidden in several different state bills, recently, which together trigger expansion — and expansion of the EAA is the last thing local Detroit residents want to see for their schools. It has to go, and Go Left America has stepped up to the plate to help Detroit kick it in the lurch before it gets its grimy hands on the rest of Michigan’s school districts, if not beyond.
For those who prefer to take it straight from the horse’s mouth, listen to former president of the DPS school board, and current member of the school board, LaMar Lemmons.
Bold Blue Media first got involved with Lemmons during his run for the school board in 2014, when he was running against ruthless opposition that wished to dismantle Detroit’s public schools. Upon winning his seat on the board, he teamed up with Go Left America to sound an alarm on the numerous egregious issues plaguing Detroit public schools. He is a former state legislator, following in his father’s footsteps, and he knows the entire history of the intentional destruction of Detroit’s public school system.
What brought DPS to this situation is state intervention for corporate profit starting in 1999. In 1999, the school system had a $100 million dollar surplus and a $1.5 billion dollar bonding authority. Then Governor Engler and the reform CEO he appointed removed the elected Board and gave sweetheart deals, leaving the district in a deficit, forcing the newly returning Board to close 32 schools at once.
Speaking on where DPS stands today, Lemmons states:
The current situation is the elected Board is still in exile, without power, as it has been for six consecutive years. It is under the control of an Emergency Manager who makes all decisions unilaterally. This one person has the powers of a superintendent and an elected Board combined. The Board is now $321 million dollars in debt. The test scores are lower than when the Emergency Manager started.
It’s no secret that Governor Rick Snyder brought in Paul Pastorek to create a for-profit school system in Michigan.
Pastorek developed the same model for New Orleans: students compete to be accepted to the best schools, and those who are not accepted will have the EAA, where so far, they apparently sit in front of a computer with an adult who has a mere five weeks of training and who does not actually teach. It’s virtual school, but in a classroom with a pseudo-teacher – and you can bet those class sizes are bigger than your average pic-a-nic basket, BooBoo.
Conversely, Lemmons continues:
The ideal for DPS would be quality schools with parent, teacher and community involvement, and oversight. We want schools that families want their children to attend. That is not what we have with Snyder.
When asked what can be done to save Detroit’s public schools, Lemmons simply replies:
If the elected Board was returned to it. . . returned to its authority – then we could right the ship.
But what has the ship about to tip in the first place?
You guessed it – Republicans, for the most part — tricky Ricky Snyder and his fascist methods for allegedly taking the economic reigns and leading us all back into the black. Unfortunately though, “us,” in this case, refers to Snyder’s business friends and cronies, not average citizens or their schools.
After several years under the economic Gestapo, cities like Detroit have been through so many corporate snatch and grabs it can’t even see straight anymore, but Go Left America is offering a prescription.
Paige states on that subject:
The thing about Detroit is that it’s sort of a ‘test lab’ for ALEC-inspired legislation and fiscal policy. So when Mr. Lemmons asked that we amplify that issue, we realized that there’s more at stake than the schools in Detroit. This is already happening in multiple states across the country. Republicans know that if they can be successful in Detroit, they have a working template to use across the country. We can’t let that happen.
And that’s why this issue is important to all Americans, not just those living in Detroit. Lemmons states:
The EAA, which is operating side by side with DPS, siphoning off DPS monetary, structural and other resources from the most vulnerable students, is only a template. The Governor would like to expand this EAA model to more districts, which requires those districts to fail. So, I believe we should stop the train before it ruins more lives. As EAA expands under different names, other school districts will have to become sacrificial lambs.
How many school districts need be sacrificed before enough people care and raise their voices in one massive chorus of solidarity to put a stop to this intentional shredding of our once hallowed institution – free and equal public education? How long until enough of us see the light and get active?
To learn more about this issue, check out the short video below put together by Go Left America with members of the Detroit community. The voices heard come from real citizens of Detroit and actual members of the school board fighting to keep DPS alive and working for the people. It is authentic, and it is the truth as the people live it, not as the corporate profiteers spin it.
As Go Left America moves forward, the website will act as a progressive hub for those who wish to take action. According to Madison Paige:
There will be ACTIONS listed on the website that people can get involved in. There will be online, on-demand training sessions that will be useful to concerned citizens on topics that will help them organize better. There will be a way for members to organize amongst themselves based on geography, or issues. The site will feature some actions and promote them to the front page so the issue can be amplified. We’ll take updates from citizens around the country about what kind of progress they’re making and any challenges they might be experiencing. There will be question and answer livestreams, and other informative broadcasts and podcasts on a variety of issues. There will be letter writing campaigns and activities for people who can’t ‘take to the streets.’
Go Left America is really the 21st century solution to finding solutions.
In the end, the politicians must work for the people. If they want to keep their jobs, they must know that their constituents are paying attention. That’s why we believe that what Go Left America is doing — working with citizens in their communities — is the missing element that is so vitally needed. . . .
Some local and state issues are so important, so impactful, that they have to be amplified.