Howww nowww browwwn cowww

Emergency Financial Manager’s salary? Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools, $450K or thereabouts. No, these people do not work for free. I am not trying to say that an EFM is always a bad idea. I don’t even think (I don’t think) that $450K or thereabouts is an inappropriate salary for an EFM. In the city of Daytwa, anyway. Kalkaska or Rudyard or Helmer, I am not so sure. (Disclaimer: Those are all small, beautiful Michigan cities/villages that my memory happened to dredge up in a pinch. I have no knowledge of their school systems and I mean no offense to any of them.)

The thing that has me worried is that I’m not sure the EFM legislation has been thought through. I have more questions than answers. Who decides which school districts (and municipalities too) are failing to the point that an EFM is needed and by what criteria? What criteria is are used to select the EFM? I admit that I have not read the legislation. Is there an app for the State of Michigan’s government? Because I do not get a decent local newspaper any more… But that would be… Oh, you know, a whole ‘nother entry…

I have had a lot of issues with the public schools over the years. Can you say bureaucracy? I don’t get along with bureaucracy very well, although I am pretty dern good at figuring out rules if I absolutely have to… This business of hiring an expensive superhero to swoop in and fix things is not new. Like when we hired an expensive district administrator to close the long-standing so-called racial achievement gap going on here on The Planet Ann Arbor. This is a medium-sized (?) city with a large university right smack in the middle of it. People who haven’t visited the Landfill Dungeon use words like “upscale” and “progressive” to describe our city. And yet, we have a sizable population of folks who live in poverty or just on the edge of it and their children *generally* struggle in our schools. (Other kids do too but they have helicopter parents and that would be a whole ‘nother entry…). I don’t know what this administrator did exactly. I never heard that she did much of anything. She left after a couple years. Maybe she parlayed that job into something bigger and better for her. Good for her but maybe not for whoever she’s working for. Yes, I was annoyed by that whole thing.

Guess what? We still have an achievement gap. The achievement gap (in my not-so-humble opinion) is an economic problem, not a racial problem. One of the sad facts of this matter is that a higher percentage of our African-American kids are likely to live in poverty. But other kids do too and many of them have trouble with school. They change schools frequently as their families move or are homeless or whatever. They are tired because they don’t get to sleep until late because people (their parents?) are partying in their house or wherever they are living. And then they wake up the next morning and there is no food in the house and no one to feed it to them. Or maybe they don’t wake up on time because their parents didn’t wake up either.

I dunno. We have a lot of problems going on in our beautiful Great Lake State. I do not think that EFM’s can solve all of them. There has to be a better way…

Today? It felt like spring. Ice is finally melting on the ponds near my work. Waterbirds are staking out their nesting territory. I saw two swans flying as I drove in this morning. Don’t take me toooo seriously. I’m struggling to figure life/politics out. I sure don’t know it all.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

4 Responses to “Howww nowww browwwn cowww”

  1. Margaret Says:

    It seems like no matter how hard we work, we can never close that achievement gap(even when we improve it a lot, it’s NEVER enough) nor can we meet our AYP, especially in the special ed area. $400K? Could I have that job? I’ve had a lot of experience in actual education, seen a lot of bad decisions(felt their effects too) and talked to many parents and colleagues. Oh, WAIT, I’m not a business person with connections to all sorts of politicians. I guess I don’t qualify–dang!! Seriously, I make about 1/7 of that salary…and have to pay $770 PER month out of pocket for medical insurance. Hook me up with that gig.

  2. Uncly Uncle Says:

    We need an EMF in Washington DC.

    The issues is not the EMF, their salary or unions. The issue is the failure of local governments and school districts to balance their budgets for all kinds of reasons. The local politics are often at the heart of the problem so you need the perspective of an outsider to make decisions local politicians are unable to make.

    Demonizing the need for EFM’s is like shooting the messenger.

    Companies in trouble hire turn around experts. Look at Ford Motor Company.

  3. kayak woman Says:

    It’s true that our school board and administration make some ridiculous decisions*. Still, who picks the EMF? The governor**? What does he know about the public schools? What are the EMF’s credentials? How do we know the EMF is going to do any better at balancing the budget. And why does the EMF get so much power?

    We’re talking about communities, with teachers and students, not a car company. An EMF could make some bad decisions, not knowing the community. Like close Community High School, just for example.

    *Our local school district is NOT, as far as I know, in bad enough shape to be considered for EMF management.

    **This is really neither here nor there but the governor’s daughter attends Greenhills School, an elite private school. Just sayin’.

  4. gene Says:

    It’s criteria are used. Singular is criterion. No offense meant.