The Insanity: Tighten Your Belts, Providence and Detroit and Rochester?.

NPR's Morning Edition had a couple of good stories this morning: one included an interview with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat, defending his decision to give all the city's teachers layoff notices. It's worth listening to; he doesn't hate teachers, he's trying to save his financially strapped city some money.? It surely makes Randi Weingarten's ?stop the insanity? speech on the City Hall steps sound ? well, insane.

The story from Detroit is simply heartbreaking. This is a city that doesn't seem to need a hurricane to destroy it (see Time magazine's yearlong series on the place).? The Motor City public school district* faces a $327 million deficit ? take that Rochester, which only has an $82 million budget gap ? and the district's Emergency Financial Manager, Robert Bob, is proposing closing half the ?district's schools, which could put up to 60 kids in a classroom.

Will Randi Weingarten denounce the insanity?

But listen to the voice of Lorena Craighhead, a Detroit?teacher, who says the school system has failed the children ?on so many levels.?? Her voice is hauntingly sad:

We continue to get thrown these leaders who don't show that they care, battle with our unions who are supposed to be on our side, and have to kind of motivate and invigorate parents who've gotten apathetic, teachers who feel beaten down and kids who hear all these things being said about them as if they don't matter.

--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow

*What is so sad about these stories is the glaring disconnect between the reality and the press release. Top story on the DPS home page is that Detroit Public Schools ?is creating Centers of Excellence in every school in every neighborhood. The district's primary mission is educating students to perform at high academic levels?.?

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