Home > Uncategorized > Sickouts in Michigan, Sick Children in Flint Michigan Have Common Link

Sickouts in Michigan, Sick Children in Flint Michigan Have Common Link

January 12, 2016

Over the past several days several articles have been written about the water crisis in Flint, MI where the Governor has seized the power in many desperately poor cities and towns and slashed expenses in order to balance budgets. More than any other state in the nation, MI has suffered from the 2008 recession due to the collapse of the auto industry…. and when the assembly lines crashed the promised pensions for autoworkers and the benefits and salaries they bargained for all disappeared…. and when they disappeared the city’s bank budgets dwindled and eventually fell to deficit levels.

As I’ve written in other posts, contrary to the media’s portrayal the public sector unions were not greedy. At the same time auto workers received high wages, rich benefits, and secure pensions public sector employees bargained for the same and the public willingly paid for them since the city coffers were full and it only seemed fair to treat maintenance workers, teachers, and police to the same level of compensation as the assembly line workers. Alas, the cities were managed no better than the auto industry with one major difference… when the assembly lines were threatened with closure the Federal government stepped in and provided sufficient funds for them to operate again. The government saved the day. Cities, on theater hand, have been turned over TO the government instead of being bailed out BY the government, and the results have been nothing short of disastrous as two recent posts indicate.

Yesterday Diane Ravitch wrote a post about an ongoing “sick out” involving the teachers in Detroit while Cathy O’Neill, the Mathbabe, blogged about the demographics of the municipal governments that collapsed. O’Neill’s article provided a concise description of how the States’s operate:

…instead of having elected officials, some specially chosen towns have instead ‘Emergency Managers,’ who do things like save money by pumping in poisonous water.”

Ravitch’s post notes the bitter irony that Darnell Earley, the current city manager in Detroit who is criticizing teachers for staging a walkout because the schools are in deplorable condition is the same individual who poisoned the water in Flint MI… and the Governor who appointed him is takings side in both cases.

If Ravitch’s post notes a bitter irony, O’Neill’s reveals a sickening example of how race, poverty, and State seizure of local governments overlap. She provides a series of maps of MI that illustrate clearly and concisely that racism is alive and well in that state. Ravitch’s post concludes with three questions that could just as easily appeared at the end of O’Neill’s:

Who should parents trust? Their children’s teachers or Earley?

Who has the best interests of Detroit’s children at heart?

Would children in Detroit’s tony suburbs be subjected to the same overcrowded classes and rat-infested buildings?



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