Last week in Detroit, many teachers arranged a “sickout” where they called off from work in protest or as a strike for higher pay, better facilities, and better educational tools. It is well known that Detroit is a struggling city and is trying to come back and find its new success. When the mills and factory jobs were sent overseas or consolidated to other parts of the country, the population was decreased to the few hard working people that were fortunate to have an industrial job and those who are not well off enough to leave the city. Although many of the less fortunate are good and hardworking citizens, there is always evident crime and struggle.
Many of these students have grown up in the city of Detroit, and that is all they have ever known or the only schools that they have ever attended. Many come from broken or single parent homes and live in neighborhoods full of crime. Going to school, graduating, or moving onto college or military has been known to be their only way out. Despite what someone does after high school, their diploma will be important and may make a difference in how far one can move up or even determining future employment.
It is not reasonable to expect these kids to be successful with the schools in such a poor state. The schools themselves have loose floorboards and ceiling tiles, bug infestations, poor lighting, and poor sanitation. Most of the textbooks are ripped, missing pages, or have been in the school for over thirty years. The schools typically lack money, so they try to keep spending at a minimum. The desperate need for reconstruction and remodeling is evident, but the issue of the lack of money is evident again.
The main reason for the sickout was for an increase in pay. Although the teachers are aware of the money problems, they still believe that they should deserve more. All teachers work hard for their money; often times do schoolwork outside of the job, and spend their own money on supplies. Detroit or any school district in a rough area can sympathize and understand why these teachers feel underpaid. These teachers start out at a disadvantage because they have to buy school supplies out of their own money more than the average teacher, do not have the same facilities, and do not have the same access to the most recent teaching tools like textbooks or technology. Teachers also may have an extra impact on these students’ lives that have single or uninvolved parents. They not only teach them the four core subjects but also manners, etiquette, and other life skills; they do their best to teach students proper behavior and how to do well when they are young with hope that when they get older, they will not fall into the criminal activities of some of those around them.
In all, ninety-four of the ninety-seven public schools in the city were closed. 1,500 of the 3,000 called out sick. This was a necessary and successful way to shed light on the fact that they are underpaid. The teachers got the deserved pay and were urged to return to work because of how many students missed out on school due to this event. Parents and people in general are now further aware of the challenges faced by Detroit teachers and also relieved that the students can now return to schools. Schools are some of these students’ way out of poverty and ticket to success. All teachers deserve to be recognized, appreciated, and paid well, but it is unfortunately reflected in cities like Detroit.