Five officials have been charged with multiple felonies for embezzling public education funds in a beleaguered U.S. city that recently saw a high-profile councilwoman plead guilty to bribery and its corrupt mayor go to jail.
The cash-strapped Detroit Public School employees operated a widespread corruption scheme over six years, openly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the system, taking illegal kickbacks and paying friends who never did any work for the district.
Fraud and mismanagement have long plagued the ailing school district, which has been the target of numerous investigations in the last few years, so the charges are hardly surprising. Regardless, the county prosecutor handling the case said she was caught off guard by “how rampant and overt” the corruption is.
The Cato Institute says, “Get Kids Out of the Detroit Public School System!“
From the Wall Street Journal, Detroit School Woes Deepen:
The charges come as the Detroit Public Schools is struggling with an estimated budget deficit of $259 million and weighing a potential bankruptcy filing.
The allegations include eight felony embezzlement charges against a district administrative staffer and a high-school teacher’s aide who together allegedly embezzled more than $50,000. Another clerical worker at an elementary school was charged with writing checks and withdrawing roughly $25,000 of the district’s money. The smallest alleged crime was related to a food-services employee accused of stealing more than $400 of lunch money at another elementary school.
The losses alleged in the charges represent only a fraction of the improper expenses uncovered since the state sent an emergency financial manager, Robert Bobb, to straighten out the city’s ailing school system.
A probe launched by Mr. Bobb uncovered paychecks going to 257 “ghost” employees who have yet to be accounted for. He said that approximately 500 illegal health-care dependents he uncovered have cost the district millions. A separate Federal Bureau of Investigation probe in May led to the indictment of a former payroll manager and another former employee on charges of bilking the district out of about $400,000 over four years.
Capital Research on Detroit’s Education Problem:
A recent report from the Manhattan Institute found that, using government numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2005 data), “The Detroit metropolitan area has the highest average public school teacher pay among metropolitan areas for which data are available, at $47.28 per hour.” Not only are Detroit public school teachers comparatively well compensated, but according to numbers compiled by the Center for Union Facts, they have superb job security. Only 1.88% of non-tenured (junior) public school teachers in Michigan are fired, and only .1% of tenured (senior) teachers are fired. This measure of job security far exceeds that of private school teachers; for which the national average is 9.8%.
The problem is Detroit public schools are utterly failing kids. The high school graduation rate is among the lowest in the country.
And let’s not forget … Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) and Governor Jennifer Granholm (D), turned down a $200 million gift!
Maybe they were confused by the uh, turbulence.
Thanks to the poisonous atmosphere created by a hostile Detroit public school establishment, philanthropist Robert Thompson has decided, with deep regret, that it is impossible for him to donate a $200 million gift to the city’s school children.
The gift would have come in the form of 15 new charter high schools that would have guaranteed a graduation rate of 90 percent. The city’s current graduation rate is 67.2 percent, according to the School Evaluation Services web site created by the financial ratings firm Standard and Poors (S&P). Many believe that even this low graduation rate is inflated by inaccurate reports filed by Detroit Public Schools.
After seeking legislative authorization for his schools for almost a year, Thompson threw in the towel after the Detroit teachers union threw what can only be described as a tantrum over the prospect of having to compete with charter schools.
Let Them Fail says John Stossel:
Detroit’s schools provide another reason why school choice is so important. The city’s schools are abysmal, but Paul Kersey and Michael Van Beek of Michigan’s Mackinac Institute report that the teachers’ union and education establishment fight any reform …
Give me a break … “like the auto companies, the city’s teachers need the shock of failure to force real reform.” Vouchers would allow parents to flee the worst schools. That would finally force those schools to start serving their customers.
Oh, and here’s a nice little addition to Detroit’s school problem, from “the One” … Obama Administration to Bribe States to Impose Liberal UN Agenda in Schools:
Yes, it was only a matter of time until Obama realized that he could use your money to brainwash children into buying his view of the world.
According to the Department of Education, the Obama White House will direct $4.35 billion in taxpayer money to be used as bribes to … make teachers and schools adopt an “internationally benchmarked education standard”- ie, schools will be forced to teach subjects in a way that the UN wants them taught.
Before you think this is just being hyper-sensitive, read the fine print. All 50 states will now be teaching that the UN is great- after all, the UDHR states that all “education shall . . . further the activities of the United Nations.”
The standards will also include the UN’s Earth Charter … the “promotion of the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations” … gay marriage … legalized abortion … and indoctrination in pantheism …
Yes, that’s right … teach [your children] communism, pacifism, anti-family values, and paganism.
With all of the above reports, what more could I add? It’s just one Progressive disaster after the next … Poorly educated kids, corruption, and bankruptcy … are the price “we the people” pay, for giving up our liberty.
God help us all!