Detroit Teachers’ Mass Protest Shuts Down Almost All Public Schools In The District
The Detroit teachers' mass protest on Monday shut down almost all schools in the district. The public school educators cried foul over news that the district does not have enough funds to pay for their salaries after June 30.
USA Today reports that over 1,500 Detroit teachers have participated in the mass sick-out after it was announced on Saturday that the district's public school system has insufficient funds for the teachers' salaries past June 30. The mass protest has resulted in the closure of 94 out of 97 Detroit public schools on Monday.
The Root Of Detroit Teachers' Mass Protest
On April 30, Judge Steven Rhodes, Detroit's emergency manager, informed Detroit Federation of Teachers that the public school system may not be able to pay its educators if the Michigan Legislature will not allocate more funds to the district. Aside from the insufficient funds for the Detroit teachers' pay, the district will also be canceling its summer school and extended special education services due to the lack of budget.
Rhodes also told the union that the $48.7 million budget allotted by the Michigan Legislature would already cover school year and summer pay. The salaries of Detroit teachers for the school year would also be decreased so that they can continue to receive paychecks after June 30.
The News Angered Detroit Teachers
On Monday morning, hundreds of Detroit teachers protested at the district's headquarters, chanting "Enough is enough" and "No pay, no work," while calling for a guarantee that they would be receiving salaries in the coming months. The Detroit teachers also demanded that the district should be audited.
"Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential," Nikhol Atkins, a staff member at the teachers' union, told CNN. "Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS (Detroit Public Schools) is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms."
In response to the Detroit teachers' mass protest, Rhodes said that he understands the frustration and anger of the public school educators. He, however, asserted that he is confident that the Michigan legislature will support the demands of the Detroit teachers.
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