A Lesson from Detroit… and Jan

I hope you will forgive the erratic posting schedule (and there absence of clever graphics). For the past month we’ve been immersed in the process of moving. Having been raised and educated in the Catholic tradition, I am no stranger to guilt, but even guilt hasn’t added more hours to days filled with sorting, packing, unpacking, re-sorting, etc. (wondering why the hell I thought I should keep all the stuff I’m throwing out now).

To prove I haven’t given up all hope for our mission, I’m including a piece from Jan Resseger’s blog . In it she revisits the importance of the connection between strong, vibrant system of public education and the threats to such a system posed by the direction of the current federal administration.

In today’s piece, Jan highlights a beautifully crafted vision statement shared by The superintendent of Detroit. Here is an excerpt her post:

Nikolai Vitti became Detroit’s public school superintendent last April. Last week in the Detroit News, Superintendent Vitti published what sounds radically counter cultural: a school district vision statement that leaves out charter schools, school choice, blaming and firing teachers, and any mention of test scores (though the Every Student Succeeds Act will require that Detroit keep on testing its students). Here is some of what Superintendent Vitti says:

“We now have an empowered and elected school board for the first time in years….” “Detroit will not reach its full potential without a stronger traditional public education system. Children need to feel safe, empowered and supported when attending school. Students will make mistakes but learn from them through a more progressive code of conduct focused on positive behavior support, restorative practices, not exclusionary strategies.” “(P)riorities are rooted in developing a child-centric organization that ensures college-and career/technical-ready programing exists across the district in every school; retaining, developing and recruiting the strongest teachers and leaders, and being more strategic and aligned with our resources. Our other priority to focus on the whole child will expand access to enrichment activities such as art, music, athletics, chess, cultural field trips and electives… This spring we will launch a Parent Academy to empower our parents to play a more active role in their child’s education. Teachers will visit students’ home to create stronger relationships with parents… While our schools must own the challenge and opportunity poverty presents, we must recognize that public schools cannot lift children out of poverty alone. We must face the truth that although poverty affects all people, historical and institutional racism exacerbates poverty based on race.”  Vitti also describes schools as centers with wraparound services like health, mental health and dental services for students and families.

Vitti’s vision cannot be realized without nurturing collaboration, building trust, and honoring the professionals who will work with children every day.  It is also grounded in Vitti’s belief in public responsibility.

I’m somewhere near the end of a piece on our role as educators in forming the public perception of public responsibility. As the number of boxes remaining to be unpacked dwindles, I’m getting closer to putting this up. Stay tuned and be well.

One thought on “A Lesson from Detroit… and Jan

  1. Vitti’s comments are refreshing and on target with what so many of us believe is right for our public schools in helping our students achieve in all aspects of their development. It’s one small step in trying to break the bureaucratic and political stranglehold we are suffering from at an escalating pace….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s