Rough times continue for the Detroit School District. The new great hope for the district has come in the form of their new superintendent, Nicolai Vitti. He comes with impressive credentials, but he's taken on quite a task. This is a district that is and has been plagued by poverty, corruption, lack of fathers in the home, corruption, student truancy, corruption, poorly maintained buildings, corruption, lack of supplies, corruption, a teacher shortage, and . . . um . . . one more minor issue . . . oh yeah, corruption.
If he can turn this district around, I for one, will be in awe of this man. Right now though, all the district seems to have is Mr. Vitti and hope. They've had bouts of hope previously, but that hope has always been dashed.
Right now, according to this Chalkbeat article, Mr. Vitti and the district are working on hiring teachers. That is not going to be easy. Conditions for teachers in Detroit are not so great. And they've lost thousands of students. Of course, that means they don't need as many teachers as they would if so many parents had not abandoned Detroit for suburban districts. In fact, it's those Detroit students who have kept at least one suburban district afloat that would have otherwise disappeared. By taking in so many Detroit students who have brought various negative behaviors and pathologies with them, this suburban district regularly loses some of their best students to other districts further on up the road.
From the article:
On the one hand, Detroit is desperate enough to seek teachers from "non-traditional" programs that may or may not be slightly shady. On the other hand, traditional teacher training programs from the big-time universities don't adequately prepare teachers.Explicit phonics being ignored, teachers are not taught effective strategies to teach literacy. Add to this the fact that because so many teachers don't want to work in Detroit, Detroit has to take whom they can get. While Detroit does have some excellent teachers . . . um . . . let's just say . . . there are others.Also, I'm not sure that the offer to work with "a diverse student population" is such a great selling point. Diverse? Diverse how? In what way are the students "diverse?"
Personally, I hope Mr. Vitti succeeds. Many before him have failed, but who knows, maybe he is up to this impossible job. My advice though, would be - once you get those new teachers in the door, have them trained in a good solid Orton-based language arts program.Of course, that's always my advice.