As we've previously reported Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Darnell Earley (ya, ya, old news now, the same guy in charge of Flint) is displeased with the teacher "sick-outs" taking place within the district he is currently running.
Why the sick-outs are occurring — because of a lack of public accountability, a lack of fiscal solvency (despite men like Earley running the show) and deplorable working conditions (all of which are documented in open letters from teacher
s and student
s and seen in these photographs
) — is none of Earley's concern.
He has made clear he wants the sick-outs over and the hubbub brushed under the rug. Earlier this month he asked
a judge to issue a restraining order against 23 of the striking teachers and a preliminary injunction ordering the educators back to work (the judge shut him down).
We thought that was bad. Well, it looks like court is not the only vehicle by which Earley has tried to go after the protestors.
Last week a number of teachers became aware of a new document
, with a number of new ordinances, that had been quietly uploaded to the Detroit Public Schools website this month. It is a list of new school rules signed by Earley on January 14, 2016, two days after the massive Monday sick-out
that closed over half of the district's schools.
So what does the ordinance, that nobody seemed to know about, say? In short it reiterates that nobody is allowed to protest, but it also says that anybody who KNOWS about someone planning to protest must send a written report to the Emergency Manager (aka Earley) documenting the treason. If someone fails to report on their fellow colleagues (we believe the word of choice here is snitch) they too face "discipline up to and including termination."
At a Monday meeting
hosted by "DPS leadership," teachers concerned with the new ordinance planned to press Earley for more context. This did not happen. After a soliloquy on why no more sick-outs could occur, Earley peaced. Questions about the ordinance were not answered; he was gone.
"The man, I don't even like to call him a gentleman, got up and walked out on us," says Ann Turner a pre-K teacher who has worked at Palmer Park Preparatory, a DPS school, since 2010. "He's asking us to trust him and doesn't even have the curteousy to stick around and try to answer questions."
Turner found out about the new rules last Friday when she was sent an article on "World Socialist Web Site" that detailed the new rules; typically, she says, new ordinances are sent out as mass e-mails to the educators. This one was not, which raised a lot questions for Turner. She planned to ask Earley about the "snitch order" and his motivations for signing it. He left before she could.
"We're at a crossroads, we're trying to communicate. Obviously we have to take drastic measures to have our voices heard, and not just our voices but the children's voices," says Turner.
Once Earley left the educators asked his staff about the new rules — they said they were unaware of them.
"It's just disrespectful. If his intent is truly to move forward he needs us on his team and we need him on our team," says Turner, who believes the lack of dialogue and Earley's cavalier attitude are signs that not all is at it appears. "It leads us to believe that the goal is not in fact about saving DPS, the same way Flint was not actually about saving money."
Below is the whole document. What do you think?