any students enrolled in Detroit Public Schools may not attend class on Wednesday, a move that could impact the already struggling district financially as the state of Michigan is counting student attendance to determine state aid.
Wednesday is the second “Count Day” of the current school year, following one in the fall. Both days determine funding per pupil in public districts statewide, and parents are highly encouraged in advance to make sure their children are present in class.
But sources speaking to BLAC say students in DPS, which receives about $14,000 per pupil from the state, are planning not to be counted, the latest strike against failing conditions in the district.
The source of the flyer, which reads “let’s support our kids (sic) future” and “to send a message that our children matter and the conditions they are subject to is unacceptable,” is unknown.
A screenshot of an email sent to BLAC details not only tomorrow’s purported sickout, but also plans of an “I Can’t Speak” demonstration where DPS students will remain silent for 15 minutes on Thursday to protest “your voice being taken away from you.” The email also notes that students have a 10-day window to make up for Wednesday’s absence.
A message was left with Detroit Public Schools seeking comment. When asked for comment, the Detroit Federation of Teachers passed a BLAC reporter on to Richard Fowler, spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers, who said the organization hadn’t heard of a student sickout, “but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.”
Should tomorrow’s sickout come to fruition, it would be the second demonstration from students frustrated with the conditions of Detroit schools, which have ranged from poor building conditions to oversized classrooms. In January, several students walked out of classes at Cass Technical High School, one of the city’s premier high schools.
DPS, which has a $515 million deficit, also is facing the departure of its fourth emergency manager in a decade, Darnell Earley, who served as Flint’s emergency manager during the city’s controversial switch to using the Flint River as a water source. A transition manager, promised by Gov. Rick Snyder, has not been announced.
Detroit teachers have voiced their frustration with schools to BLAC; read more of their grievances here.