Archive for March 12th, 2010

Here at the writerly offices of The Curmudgeon, we are well aware of the travails of the Detroit school system.  At the helm, the school board president Otis Mathis, fighting the good fight to drive the system on the right road; to provide an education to Detroit students. By the way, in terms of school achievement, Detroit is the worst big city district in the nation.  It’s a hard enough task, even harder since Otis Mathis can’t write.

“How bad can’t he write, Crusty?” you ask?   Here’s an example”

If you saw Sunday’s Free Press that shown Robert Bobb the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, move Mark Twain to Boynton which have three times the number seats then students and was one of the reason’s he gave for closing school to many empty seats.”

As one of his colleagues put it, “He has…communication issues.”  Oh, just say it:  Dude can’t write.  In his student years, he was kicked around from school to school, but always managed to graduate.  College too, but it took ten extra years because he couldn’t pass the English proficiency test.  Does it strike you as odd that the guy running the district can’t even do what every student should be required to do?

That’s the enigma of the nation’s education system.  It’s often so bad even the slightest improvement seems like a complete reversal.  And by all accounts, Mathis is an improvement.  In all other ways, people like his style—his honesty, his ability to lead, his knack to inspire—and view those qualities as enough to do the job.  He just can’t write, that’s all. If being a nice guy can get you an inappropriate career, I want to be an astronaut.  I’m coming, NASA.

“I’m a horrible writer. I know that,” says Mathis.  Horrible?  Some of his emails seem cryptic, like code, but its not:

Do DPS control the Foundation or outside group? If an outside group control the foundation, then what is DPS Board row with selection of is director? Our we mixing DPS and None DPS row’s, and who is the watch dog?”

Quickly, Robin, put that secret message into the Bat translator!

Mathis himself says that because of his own travails and educationally challenged life, he is a role model.  But the other side of that coin says, sure, you ‘re a role model to kids who don’t think they need to read or write.  Well, whichever side the coin lands on, the Detroit school system has been bleeding a long time.  I hope he truns out to be the band aid.

Thanks you, for talking this.  I preciate you times took.

(Information for this story came from the Detroit News.)

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