Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January and February Calls to Action and Announcements

January 27th Call to Action: Press Conference:

Hello Again Colleagues and Friends,

Please note the slight change in the time for the "No Takeover of Detroit Water Department" to be held on this Thursday, at 3:30 PM instead of 2:00 PM.  Also, due to the anticipated weather we will hold the rally/meeting in the Erma Henderson Auditorium on the 13th of the Coleman A Young Municipal Center. See corrected flyer with the update time and location.

Make your voices heard by showing up!  See you there.
January 25, 2011

Removal of Item Pricing Law is Bad Business

    The elimination of the Item Pricing Law would lead to a
reduction in thousands of jobs. The projections can be from
a high of 100,000 jobs to a conservative number of 60,000
jobs. This is based on the retail industry’s projections of
the two billion dollars in cost caused by the regulation.
This is a labor intensive law. This law has a cause for
people to be hired to allow compliance with the law and then
to inspect and regulate the law. The projections above do
not include government jobs only private industry jobs.

    This law forces a physical encounter with every tag-able
item. Then forces a manual encounter with store shelves to
apply additional pricing information. More physical activity
occurs when repricing merchandise already located on store
shelves. Machines stamp bar-codes on the items themselves
and update store computers. This happens today. Removing the
law only removes the physical or manual efforts. This leads
to a reduction in the workforce. This existing workforce is
not an area of restructuring to serve in another capacity.
The retail association has stated that its a cost they wish
to do without which means a reduction in jobs in the state
of Michigan at a time when that would lead to a deeper
recession, a further reduction in taxes and increased

    This $2 Billion dollars will flow directly into the
executive bonus packages and executive salary compensation.
Neither the republicans or their business partners have said
that this money can be used elsewhere to meet other needs.
Also there have been no promises and more importantly no
projections of savings to consumers such as a percentage
drop in prices. There has also not been any promises or
projections of consumer benefits elsewhere such as better
customer service or newer services where the money can be
redirected. This matter is strictly a grab for profits to
place into executive pockets.

    This is in addition to the natural increase in problems
Michigan consumers would encounter when making purchases.
 Today the law demands compensation when consumers are hurt
by incorrect pricing. Scams such as Bait and Switch or
outright fraud are not common in Michigan thanks to this
law. The compensation serves as a deterrent that does not
harm the retailer and serves as a self regulating
punishment. Without the law, pricing errors would increase
unchecked and without recourse. Retailers would not have any
incentive to check for accuracy or ensure legal behavior.

Th suggestion to remove this law is anti-labor, anti-consumer, and against the best interest of the State of Michigan.
Upcoming Events

1) Next Monthly Meeting Saturday February 12th @ 2:00 PM

Join us at

Barton-McFarlane Neighborhood Association
8222 Joy Road

2) Black History Tour Saturday March12th
Battle Creek Michigan,
Ypsilanti Michigan
Tour Bus leaves from Detroit that morning

more Details to be announced
contact Hood Research
or stop by our next monthly meeting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ACLU Meeting: DPS Parents Report New Security Swipe Procedures

ACLU of Michigan Office, 2966 Woodward Ave, Detroit MI 48201  Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 3:30 PM
WHAT:   Gathering of concerned parents and citizens regarding the new DPS policy to swipe visitors ID cards and conduct background checks. The ACLU is extremely concerned about this policy and is interested in getting input from community members and speaking to folks about their personal experiences. We would like to have as much information as possible, so please feel free to invite as many friends/family members as can attend.
CONTACT: If folks have any questions, they should feel free to contact Jessie Rossman at 313 578 6823 (direct line) or jrossman@aclumich.org

Friday, January 14, 2011

Victory for Detroit Parents With Special Ed Students!

Jan 14th blog.  Writer: Aurora Harris

Dear Readers,


I was one of the parents that went to Lansing on January 11, 2010 to address violoations
with Special Education as a result of being under Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. This blog entry is an example of positive results that can happen when parents and concerned citizens work together to advocate for special needs children.  We had two victories within three days: 1. a lawsuit to stop the layoff of bus aides, 2. The layoffs were rescinded, and 3. Newspaper coverage of real issues with special education in Detroit as a result of being under EMF Robert Bobb.  My family and friends were excited that I was mentioned in the Michigan Citizen article below. Please help Detroit Parents with Special Ed Students get these stories out by sending them to your email lists, independent news sources, and other bloggers.

Yesterday, I received news that the layoff of DPS bus aides was rescinded by Robert Bobb after a parent filed a lawsuit in Federal court on behalf of her child with autism. According to the Dettoit News article, the family's lawyer stated the aids are on the buses because we receive federal funds. Click here to see the article: http://www.detnews.com/article/20110114/SCHOOLS/101140382/1026/schools/Layoff-of-DPS-bus-attendants-halted

Later in the afternoon, I received a recorded message from the Detroit Public Schools Chief of Police stating that a new security system was installed at the schools to run background checks on everyone entering the school. When I called other parents who went to Lansing on January 11, to see if they received the recorded mes sage, they said "No."  Since we stated in Lansing that we did not receive prior notification of the security system, the recorded message that I received at 5:38 p.m. from the Main DPS office, is a response from Bobb to address the issue.  Parents at the Board meeting had questions like:

1. If the security system is installed in Detroit as a result of a Homeland Security order, then why aren't the rest of the cities, school districts, counties, etcetera, in Michigan AND the UNITED STATES installing the "swipe your drivers license- run a criminal back ground check" system in the schools?

2. If Robert Bobb keeps telling the world that the District is broke, has no funds, where is he getting the money from to purchase the security system, employ the contractors and sub contractors to install them in the schools, and pay the people that are running the background checks, with police working overtime?  All of this without notifying the parents or the Board of this expenditure when we are supposed to be saving money.

He doesn't have money for new equipment for a refurbished school that is being turned into a vocational school for special education adults aged 20-26 or get rid of the rats at the existing school or repair doors and windows, but he can install a security system to criminalize parents.

3. What is the name of the company? Where are they located? Are they bonded? What security measures are in place to keep those workers from stealing our identities?

4. What other information is Bobb and Administration collecting from drivers license and State Id in addition to traffic and court records, that are being sold to other contractors? This is called "data mining"... they compile your data and profiles to determine what a target market they market to and any other purpose.

5. Are you going to make public the records that show that the information is scrubbed from the datafiles and computers once the info is scanned?

6. This is against our Constitutional and privacy rights.

At the Board meeting at Brenda Scott Middle School, the bus aides, the security system and the front page stories by Zenobia Jefferies in the Michigan Citizen were the top items of parent discussions. Click this link to see the front page stories on Detroit Public Schools:  http://michigancitizen.com/index1.htm  The front page article begins with this:

Citizens spark state probe of DPS
By Zenobia JeffriesThe Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Short of a formal investigation, Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan has begun looking into parents’ and community concerns about alleged special education violations in Detroit Public Schools.

Over 50 parents, bus attendants for special education students and community members, including state lawmakers from Detroit, attended the first State Board of Education meeting of the year held Jan. 11 in Lansing. During public comments Detroiters spoke to what they called the destruction and dismantling of DPS in general and special education in particular. "

Another article is in the Free Press: http://www.freep.com/article/20110114/NEWS01/101140431/1001/news/DPSs-Robert-Bobb-stops-layoffs-of-bus-attendants-for-special-education-studentshttp://www.freep.com/article/20110114/NEWS01/101140431/1001/news/DPSs-Robert-Bobb-stops-layoffs-of-bus-attendants-for-special-education-students

This is the statement that I read to Michigan Superintendent Michael P. Flanagan and members of the State Board of Education. It is also in yesterday's blog entry:

The report below is what I read to the members of the State Board of Education on January 11, 2010. Other parents and concerned citizens voiced their complaints and the State Board called for an investigation of IEP violations. 52 parents rode to Lansing to request that the special ed bus aid layoff / firings is rescinded.

Please see the following and the document attached to circulate to the public. The meeting was televised by Live Feed yesterday. Perhaps someone can find a copy of the feed at mich.gov/sbe

January 11, 2010 Report to the State Board by Aurora Harris-Member of DPS Special Ed Wayne-RESA PAC

To: All Members of the Michigan State Board of Education, Michigan Department of Education Superintendent Michael P. Flanagan

Re: Detroit Michigan’s Parent Concerns and Complaints About DPS Special Education

From: Concerned Parents of Special Ed students in Detroit Public Schools. Contact Carolyn Carter-LSCO Chair at 313 739-7647

1. TRANSPORTATION Safety issues: We are requesting that the layoffs and firings of special education bus attendants are rescinded immediately. We feel that this is a manipulation of the IEP, whereby many of us for up to 20 years have never been asked or told to write that we need a bus attendant for transportation. No notification was given to parents. Robert Bobb wants to save 2 million dollars by placing our children in harms way and treating 5000-7000 special needs students as if their lives are an expendable $400.00

2. There are no bilingual translators at the Welcome Center, in Administration, in schools for enrollment, or at the bus terminals to service non-English speaking students or parents when emergencies arise. We are requesting a bi-lingual emergency hotline and bi-lingual staff and resource persons be reinstated. There is no one to service the blind and hearing impaired. Resources like OT, PT and speech are eliminated. Many parents, principals, and teachers are not aware of the changes to the IEP and have not been trained on the removal of parental consent, the amendment form, and the revocation form. Parents are providing information to the principals and teachers. If we do not have a superintendent for Special Ed, are we to send our amendment forms to State Board of Ed members and Mike Flanagan to sign?

3. Robert Bobb did not inform the parents, the public, or the DPS Board that he has installed a new security system in the schools that scans drivers license and personal information is given to company to run criminal background checks. Two parents have been arrested since January 3, 2010. Parents feel this is a violation of our Constitutional rights and privacy. We are requesting that the State Board of Education provide the parents of the copy of the order or mandate from Homeland Security that Robert Bobb referred to at the January 8, 2010 DPS Board meeting. Parents that refuse to give there license or ID to strangers for scanning are not allowed to enter the building.

4. Why is the Detroit Public schools district targeted as a proving ground for blatant discrimination against special needs students and used to test how many IEP’s can be violated without parents knowledge; how many Federal Laws and IDEA Law can be broken, including the destruction or elimination of Special Education?

5. Who is running our Special Ed department? Several requests for an organizational flow chart are ignored. The DPS website is an example of discrimination under Civil Rights, 504, ADA, and IDEA. Virtually everything on the website concerning special ed is either nonworking, nonexistent, or obsolete.

6. We have requested an accounting of special ed funds that the district received and who is spending it, and what it is spent on, and have been ignored. We want to know who is controlling special ed funds for parent involvement. What is the policy and process for parents to utilize the funds?

7. We would like a full investigation by the Department of Justice, The IRS, and the FBI of all persons, consultants, and companies receiving and spending federal funds for Special Education and Title 1. We request a full audit, and full public report of all Federal funds coming to the District, how the funds were spent, the names of the consultants and companies that were paid.

8. The DTC East vocational school is infested with rats, has 16 doors that need repair, has ADA violations. Parents have not been given any description of the curriculums. Why do we have a Michigan Rehab office in our school that is allowed to hold our students back to age 25, then send them out for training?

9. Why did Robert Bobb cancel the liability insurance on the vocational special needs adults that prevents them from getting vocational training and skills in the community? Why are our children forced to remain in ADA violated and unsafe buildings until the other school is refurbished. We need someone to talk to immediately about this and other concerns.

10. When parents report issues, they are targeted or threatened. If they try to assist, they are told ‘its causing problems.”

Aurora Harris, M.A. Social Foundations of Education, B.A. Sociology
Published Poet, Educator, Lecturer, Advocate, Independent Scholar and Researcher
313 673-6313

Friday, January 7, 2011

Robert Bobb Laid Off DPS Special Ed Bus Attendants Today

Message From A Concerned Parent to We The People of Detoit:

The Cost of My Child's Life

At 2:42 PM...  I just received notice from another parent who is at a school that the bus driver reported that bus attendants for DPS special education students received pink slips today.

By endangering our childrens' lives, he saves 2 million dollars. Divide 2 million dollars by 5000 - 7000 Special ed students and you will find out what your special needs child's life is worth to Robert Bobb.  at 5000 students, my child's life is worth $400.00 to Robert Bobb.
We the People of Detroit
Committed to Make a Difference!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011




AH concerned Parents, Citizens, and Employees. The School District of the City of Detroit thru its Financial Manager, Robert Bobb has decided to eliminate Bus Attendant Service
for the 5000 Special Needs Students of the School District. The District is stating that out of the 5000 medically Wheel Chair Bound, Autistic, Severely Mentally Impaired, Severely
Physically Impaired, Emotionally Mentally Impaired, Hearing Impaired, Visually Impaired and Learning Disabled only 93 out of 5000 Special Needs Students are eligible to receive a Bus Attendant. This is an absolute outrage to put over 5000 Special Needs
Students and Staff in danger because of a budget deficit. We call on all Concerned Parents, Citizens and Employees to contact the following People and request Bus Attendants be placed in the IEP reports for all Special Needs Students that require Bus
Attendant assistance and that Bus Attendants Service be restored immediately for the safe transportation of the Detroit Public School Special Needs Students.

Governor Rick Snyder
Kathleen Strauss, President
Michigan Board of Education
Mayor Dave Bing
313-224-3400 -
Terry Burgess, Consultant
Chasity Pratt,
Detroit Free Press
Steve Wasko
Detroit Public Schools Media
Angela Joyner, Deputy Chief Financial Officer
Phone: 313-873-4044
Fax: 313-870-3661
Lieutenant Brian Galley
Mr. Robert Bobb, Financial Manager
DPS 313- 873-4149
Sherrie Ulerly, Deputy
Chief of Academic 313-873-6478
Felicia Baker, Supervisor
Jennifer Mokowski,
Detroit Public Schools Media
Marisa Shultz
Detroit News
1. Why would you take away a direct service to Special Needs Students.
2. I will file a lawsuit against Detroit Public School if the Bus Attendants are laid-off and my child is injured on the bus.
3. Bus drivers are refusing to take Special Education Routes oift without a Bus Attendant.
4. If Bus Attendants are laid-off Parent Groups will file lawsuits on behalf of thestudents due to safety concerns and large numbers of Special Education Students that are transported on a daily basis (over 7000 Special Education Students).