I regularly follow Michigan’s Eclectablog, because it is a place to learn about the very difficult and complex issues around Michigan’s public schools, now in many cases privatized. This morning Electablog referred me to a video clip from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC covering the story of the closing of a school she has been tracking for several years, Catherine Ferguson Academy, a school that will close on June 30.
To provide context for her story on Catherine Ferguson Academy, Maddow fills in much of the history of what has been happening in Michigan’s schools. The emergency managers. The fact that when the citizens of Michigan voted to overturn the state’s emergency manager law, the legislature came right back with another one that is referendum-proof. The charter management organizations running whole school districts—and the one that is giving up this June because it can’t make a profit. The only thing Maddow doesn’t cover is that Michigan has been closing whole school districts—by state fiat—when they are broke and unsuccessful.
The problem with covering school news in Michigan is that it’s hard to make it clear or believable. The school news in Michigan’s poorest communities of color is such a perversion of what tax supported public education is supposed to be that it cannot be normalized enough to make it seem real to most of us. And the details are tangled and murky.
Here is an extra blog post on this Friday morning. I urge you to watch Rachel Maddow’s coverage. Maddow is clear. She is concise. She is accurate. The story is tragic.