Long time readers know that poor women and children are of particular interest to me. Also that I believe we provide social services in such a way as to cripple and trap recipients in cycles of poverty.
So it will come as no surprise that I loved the work of Catherine Ferguson High School in Detroit, MI.
What was so amazing about this school was its success. Ninety percent of those enrolled graduated. ONE HUNDRED percent of those who graduated went to college. In fact, it was a requirement of graduation that you be accepted into a college.
So, these poor teen mothers will now go on to earn degrees, have jobs, and pay taxes. And raise their children without government assistance beyond what they received in high school.
Isn't that what we want? To give someone a hand UP, not a hand out?
Well, not so fast says the newly appointed dictator.
See, this is what happened. A lot Detroit schools were in horrible shape. Failing students, failing teachers, a horrible mess. No one is denying this. (Remember Catherine Ferguson High School was NOT one of the failures). So the governor made a law that allowed one person he appointed to oversee the clean up of the schools.
But those darn pesky citizen ELECTED school board members were just annoying the appointed one and hampering his efforts to rehabilitate the schools.
So the governor wrote another law that just allowed him to terminate all elected officials from town governments and let his appointee have complete power.
Now, to be fair, perhaps this appointee will be able to drastically turn around the Detroit school system and make everything great.
(But if he is going to make the bad schools good, why is this successful school being closed? A school for the deaf and a school for learning disabled children, including programs for autistic children are also on the chopping block? Why?)
But the real problem is that we sort of live in, you know, AMERICA. Where we democratically elect people to represent us. For better or worse.
And now, in Michigan, the people watch their elected officials set aside and they can only hope that the dictator set over them will be benign.
Also in Michigan, this law was used to dismiss the elected town government of Benton Harbor, a predominantly poor black town with lots of lake shore property. One issue was the large park on the lake front. And it just so happened that some civic minded real estate developers from the neighboring predominately white, upper middle class town JUST HAPPENED to have some plans laying around for converting that public park in the poor black town into a private golf course.
And now that the pesky citizen ELECTED government has just been put aside and a dictator, I mean, overseer, I mean manager appointed, they can do whatever they want.