So Mike Duggan agrees with me, or does he?
By Sherry Gay-Dagnogo
On Sept. 10, I attended the Education Pioneers 10 Year Anniversary in San Francisco. As a 2008 Bay area alum, this is significant to me as was this phenomenal fellowship which served as the catalyst for my education advocacy to ensure a quality education for all children throughout the city of Detroit.
While this five-year voluntary commitment proves challenging, I strongly believe I made the right decision to forgo my 2008 Obama Fellowship to research education reform with 48 other Ivy League master’s, Ph.D and J.D. level cohort members.
Gaining the respect of my fellows, I was selected unanimously to give the commencement speech, and with tears in my eyes, I grappled with how I could come home and advance the political will needed to ignite positive change in our schools. While in the Bay, I reached out to Carol Goss, Shirley Stancato, and former Detroit School Superintendent Deborah McGriff. I spent countless hours studying the national landscape and realized how the trend to dismantle our schools was set in motion in the early 90s.
I have endeavored to work with almost every education stakeholder throughout our metropolis to ensure meaningful academic outcomes for our children, including the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). However, far too often, those advancing the corporate privatization agenda are not as inclusive or inviting to those advocating for the rights of children or labor.
Last year, I went personally to speak with Mike Duggan, as I knew of his political genius and desire to run for mayor. I shared with him that his role on the EAA would be his greatest challenge, yet he persisted he believed in the model. I insisted that he’d better take a closer look.
After much media debate well into his campaign, he resigned his role with this separate and unequal school district. My only question is — was it political expediency or the fact that he realized the damage that is being done to our students? Has he read the Freedom of Information Act documents from Michigan State Rep. Ellen Lipton, State Sen. Hun-Yung Hopgood, and the reports by State Sen. Bert Johnson, or did he just acquiesce out of political convenience? Does he believe that Detroit taxpayers have the right to a representative democracy?
I don’t have a personal ax to grind with anyone. Duggan’s vibrant and brilliant campaign manager and I served on a Detroit Public School Education Taskforce to find solutions for our educational system. However, I do question the motives of people who are unwilling to stand for democracy, while Detroit is under such enormous attack, yet believe they are entitled to our vote. It is reported that Mike Duggan recently shared on NewsTalk 1200 AM with Dr. John Telford that “The EAA is wrong and the schools should and will be returned to DPS.” Does he believe that or is he simply saying what Detroit taxpayers paying for those schools want to hear?