They broke it ...
I'm an educator with the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and I read with great interest the article, "What's Bobb up to?" (Oct. 13). Should the debt that Detroit Public Schools has amassed be forgiven? Unequivocally, yes! When former Gov. John Engler took over Detroit Public Schools in 1999, it had a surplus of $90 million-plus, and five years later, after the defeat of Proposal E, which ended the state-imposed takeover, DPS had a deficit of approximately $250 million. That's a $340 million deficit that was accumulated while under state control, under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Burnley who was the governor's representative — who had veto power over the other board members — chosen to run the beleaguered district. That's why the debt needs to be forgiven. With all respect to Mr. Bobb, DPS' emergency financial manager, whose job was to reduce the deficit: He has done the opposite, and the deficit has increased by approximately 30 percent. DPS was more than Mr. Bobb could handle, and he needs to honor his contract and leave in March when his contract expires. There does not need to be an increase of students in the elementary classrooms; the numbers need to stay where they are or be lowered. And as for 62 students in high school lecture classes, this is a recipe for disaster. It's more than an effort to engage and keep 30-plus students focused. There need not be the closing of another 100 schools by the 2012-2013 school year. All this will do is, especially on the high school level, cause more violence among students who belong to rival gangs who attend the same school. DPS' finances should not come under control of the mayor. The city has its own financial quagmire, a budget deficit that's growing by the day, that the city is having difficulty trying to reduce or eliminate. I strongly agree with Rep. Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe), a member of the education committee, "I don't think ... you should have a bunch of lame duck political leaders making decisions of this importance." —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit
Re: Jeff Meyers' review of Mao's Last Dancer (Aug. 25), I can't believe that you gave only a C+ to this movie! The only explanation that I have is that you should maybe be moved to the sports department, because your taste is not in tune with these kinds of movies. This movie was an exquisite show of art and it helps us to understand the pain and suffering of the people that put love and effort into giving us the gift of their talents.
You are lucky that I am not your boss. I would fire you in a second. —Carlos Santesteban, Houston, Texas
Insight to action
For the umpteenth time, the universal health care "accomplishment" of Barack Obama was a gift of 30 million new customers to the insurance industry. That's why it passed, not because of the astute salesmanship of Obama ("Obama's image crisis," Sept. 15). It's a nutshell example of our good cop-bad cop political system, in which one party pretends to be two as a way of convincing the gullible that moneyed interests aren't running everything. —Todd Steven Kindred, Livonia
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