Saturday, January 03, 2009

By Any Means Necessary ?

Members of the grass-roots activist group BAMN have decided to target Ferndale and our schools in their effort to force the creation of one massive regional school district that would cross county borders and include students from Detroit and all the surrounding suburbs. Their issues and concerns are very understandable. The Detroit Public School System is almost completely dysfunctional with multiple school closings, a sky-high drop-out rate, and financial irresponsibility. Their school system is broken, and has been such for many years. But instead of demanding reform and insisting on accountability within their own system, BAMN members are targeting a tiny school district known for its progressive ideas in Oakland County, and are using any means necessary, including boycott threats and aggressive rhetoric, to try and guilt this town to support their plans.

BAMN evidently wants Ferndale High School to open its doors to students from Detroit.
We already are a school of choice district, allowing students to attend from Oakland County.
Obviously, opening up our main high school to the tens of thousands of Detroit students is impossible. And even if every high school in Oakland County did so, that would not solve the problems systemic in the Detroit Public Schools.

Ferndale is trying to help. Our University High School is an excellent college-prep high school partnered with Lawrence Tech. that provides a great choice for an education for students planning on further college education or possible careers in the automotive industry. The special school has attracted students from all over, including Detroit. It is a success, is very popular and its effective.

But rather than appreciate that we can help an additional 400 hundred students get a quality education there, without the costs of a private school, BAMN claims the school is segregated and inferior. Such bizarre and convoluted thinking is not only false and inflammatory, but it does nothing to help solve the problem or bring us closer to solutions. Without University High School, these 400 young people would lose this valuable choice.

Ferndale High School is fullly integrated, and has been for decades. Students there represent many cultures and backrounds and ethnic nationalities. Students choosing to attend University High School do so in order to get a good education. That it attracts mostly Black students from Detroit is proof that it is a good school, and students and parents are voting with their feet.

BAMN has suggested closing University High School. Thus we would go backwards by denying several hundred youth the chance for a better education and career.

BAMN also has decided to threaten local Ferndale businesses and shops with a boycott unless the stores post a flyer from BAMN promoting their cause. Apart from the ugliness of that kind of blackmailed threat, this activity will further doom their prospects for change and reform.
Rather than lobbying state officials and their own local school board, using logic and reason and proposing solutions with real possibilities, BAMN will further drive yet another wedge between our cities on either side of 8 Mile Road.

Ferndale is known now as a progressive and open community. BAMN's rhetoric ironically attempts to leverage such feelings into liberal guilt. They have even tried to tie the town's
open and supportive attitudes toward Gay people into their strategy to force our public schools to open enrollment to tens of thousands of Wayne County students. Such cynical and twisted logic leads only to head-scratching disbelief.

We in Ferndale totally support the goal of every young person to get a solid education. It is a right that our country must deliver on for every generation. We sympathize with parents and students in Detroit and in other districts that are failing. And we join the chorus to demand accountability and solutions to achieve quality education for all students. But closing a successful school in Ferndale or threatening Ferndale businesses with boycotts will not help the problem, and will ultimately not be successful.

Craig Covey, Mayor
City of Ferndale


At 6:51 AM, Blogger Vicki Brennan said...

Craig - thank you for your thoughtful and rational approach to the recent BAMN activity in Ferndale. You make me proud to be a life long member of this community.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger tabrian.joe said...

I support BAMN. has done anything wrong, so I diss agree with vicki. Because i am a detroit student that attend the mess up school that BAMN is talking about. I think what they are doing a good fight to be fightin on. I first hand-witness the bull crapp every day. so dont tell me whats good about my school, cause aint nothin good with my school. IT NEEDS HELP!!!I beleve FHS will graduate more Barack Obamas than UHS, flatout.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Sunny said...

Very well put, Craig. UHS is a great alternative to DPS. I understand the frustration of BAMN, but threats will solve nothing. It is not the responsibility of Ferndale to pick up the slack of DPS. No offense, Joe, but your english and grammar are horrible. If you are a product of DPS, be thankful that your parents thought enough of your education to send you somewhere else. You DO have a choice - you can always keep attending DPS.

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Tiffani Gagne said...

I do not support BAMN - at all! Their attacks, threats and logic are just plain nuts. The parents of these students (let's remember we're dealing with minors here) CHOSE to send their kids to this school - key word - CHOICE. There is a solution - let Lawrence Tech run the school and get the Ferndale School Board out of it. Problem solved.

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Jason said...

BAMN chooses to ignore how the DPS continues to let down the children they are responsible for educating. I have not heard BAMN's take on issues such as this party that DPS officials threw, and intended to pay for with money meant for the children, until Steve Wilson showed up:

This is one example of many. I am certainly concerned about the education of children, however, if a populace continues to elect the same criminals to the same positions on their school board and city council, they can expect the same results. Just throwing grapes has thus far not yielded the desired results.

If BAMN truly cares about anything other than making a name for themselves, perhaps they could consider these issues. However, their response to an email from me was the same old rhetoric.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger jarred said...

The BAMN situation has gotten out of hand. They have become an embarrassment to civil rights movements everywhere. Their rhetoric is offensive and deeply flawed: they accuse anybody that doesn't agree with them of being a racist (and then deny that this is situation is a racial one) and pro-segregation, as though anybody not supporting BAMN must be fighting for the other side (reminds me of our last president...). There are relevant questions to be asked about the finances of UHS and FHS, but BAMN has done a good job of hiding that in a mess of insults and false allegations.

As for Tabrian Joe, do you really think going to FHS is going to magically solve your problems? In this forum for public discourse, you can't be bothered to use complete sentences or spell words correctly? How about taking a little initiative to pick up a book and learn to read and write instead of wasting your time yelling at strangers? Additionally, if nothing is good about your school, maybe you need to think about being thankful that you have a school to go to, and that you're not laboring away in a factory like in many other countries. If you want to be respected and have people acknowledge the valid parts of your arguments, why not show a little respect to the public and take the time write at least somewhat properly, and if you can't, ask your UHS teachers for help!


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