Schooling much like everything else in Detroit has been a mess for decades. Years of horribly misguided Democratic leadership and a crumbling automotive industry that was the backbone of the entire city. When these corporations sold out their workers in favor of higher profit margins, the school system is where the biggest prices were paid. The factory workers couldn’t relocate to China or Indonesia, so they were left jobless.
This jobless state created the poverty and crime that Detroit has become infamous for. It wasn’t exactly a beautiful utopia before this, but the departure of so many jobs didn’t help any. So, for the kids, growing up in poverty became a way of life. Going to school didn’t matter but making money to survive did. So instead of passing along stories of high school, and knowledge about the lessons, parents are passing down more hopelessness and disparity to their kids.
Now with a massive influx of cash, the city is trying new and different things to get the kids motivated to learn and get their lessons down. When the pandemic hit and kids were forced to go through schooling from home, some students saw an uptick in their scores. Many attributed this to softer scoring practices, but as many were getting more one-on-one time, the scores made sense.
Another thing that helped was the massive financing to make remote schooling an option. As the federal government prioritized lower-income schools, Detroit receives a whopping $25,000 per student. This money paid for laptops, programs to teach the lessons and to get these kids the help they needed in navigating the new minefield of largely learning on their own.
Detroit-area nonprofit Beyond Basics has been running a literacy program thanks to the help from that aid money. This program has been able to take kids like 15-year-old Quandallis Perry-Fisher and help him develop into a better student. Before their help, he despised reading and had a difficult time making the sudden change to virtual schooling. “I was doing very, very bad…Now, with the vocabulary words … I read it myself without asking for help.” This kind of change from teenagers is not easy.
The Detroit school district has always felt like money was one of the biggest problems for them being able to reach the kids. From a lack of funding for supplies in their buildings to the poverty and despair, these kids are being raised in, the ability to see a way out or a way up was foreign to them. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti was interviewed about this and saw a lot of flaws in the system that are finally getting fixed.
“This is the first time…I actually feel we have equitable funding. Unfortunately, it had to come during a pandemic… Right now, for 10th-12th graders, 60% are off-track on graduating in four years. We are rebuilding schedules to make sure course recovery is happening. We’re paying teachers more to give up a prep period to offer more course recovery. It’s highly daunting and troubling, but we will get students back on track.”
This kind of hope is something the city and its residents should have had for ages. Then again with Democrats running the city since 1962, it shouldn’t be a huge shock to anyone that they have had so many problems. The party of all promises with no delivery finally had someone to come in and fix all their funding mistakes. If only Donald Trump had brought his foresight to the table sooner maybe Detroit’s school system along with other districts wouldn’t be so messed up. God knows the Democrats wouldn’t have done anything if he hadn’t started it.