When I read this Michigan Radio report on the current state of affairs in Muskegon Heights I was reminded of the Vietnam-era strategy of destroying a village to save it.
The report begins:
“At least one in four teachers at the new Muskegon Heights school district have already quit the charter school this year. That’s after an emergency manager laid off all the former public school teachers in Muskegon Heights because he didn’t have enough money to open school in the fall. That means there have been a lot of new, adult faces in the district.
“Students say the high teacher turnover has affected them and top school administrators say it has held back academic achievement this school year.”
A minimal standard for reform efforts is that they do no harm to students. Non-maleficence, as they call it in the medical profession.
Sadly, that is clearly not the case in Muskegon Heights.
The reasonable part of me wants to say, “But on the other hand…” I want to believe that these are well-intentioned people, to acknowledge that this is a complex undertaking and that success will take time, perhaps even years, if it is to occur at all.
But there can be no “other hand” when it comes to the well-being of children who pass through our classrooms only once. They deserve far better than what the public school privatizers are giving them through Mosaica Education Incorporated.
Mosaica, first do no harm.