Are you a Detroit Public Schools teacher? We want to hear from you

DETROIT – On Monday, Local 4 solicited statements from Detroit Public Schools parents (view here). 

We asked for their opinions about the district-wide teacher sick-out being staged after it was announced DPS would not have enough money to pay teachers beyond June 30. 

Tuesday is the second-straight day of the district-wide teacher sick-out. Teachers gathered again to protest outside Cadillac Place in Detroit's New Center while lawmakers in Lansing discussed funding for DPS. 

We want to hear from real DPS teachers. Please take a moment to fill out this form (you can remain anonymous). We will share select statements (see below form).

What DPS teachers have to say:


"I am tired of not knowing from day to day if I have a job or, if I do work, will I get paid. I want to work, but I have bills to pay, too, and it seems that the press feels that we are asking for something that we are not due." -- Rose

"There seems to be a great amount of disrespect for public servants, DPS teachers in particular. If we can afford to and are forced to pay for legal fees for the malfeasance or ignorance of public officials who knew or should've known better, then certainly we should have set aside money to pay those who actually do their work. I'm so tired of it. Lackluster public officials who get away with what seems like 'murder'. We need a change." -- Anonymous

"We want transparency. The state has made all of the key money spending decisions. Loans, building costs, repair and maintenance. DeVos want to use our kids with charter schools to make a profit. We need gym, art, music, school support (psychologists, social workers, language teachers just like other school districts). The for profit prisons are full of uneducated, bright young citizens. This is sinful. Black, White,Hispanic, Asian,Indian we are all human beings. When is the injustice going to stop. I hope those greedy, self serving principals get what they deserve. We have qualified leaders who honest and caring within our community. I am a Detroit taxpayer, I want a say in how they spend my money." -- Al

"I don't want to work without pay. I believe Monday was useful in making this point. I trust the problem will now be resolved and everyone will be paid. I want to point out that not all staff called in sick. Schools were closed because enough called in to close them. Still, all the teachers are asking for is a guarantee of pay. As soon as Judge Rhodes gives that, the schools will be open. So, if someone would please say the words, we could get back to doing our jobs. Also, we need to keep the truth out there that DPS is in far worse shape now then it was when the State of Michigan took over. Return local control." -- Jill

"I feel that if I'm going to come in to teach my wonderful students that I should get paid for it. I would do it for free because of my students but I have bills to pay and mouths to feed so doing it for free just isn't feasible." -- Michelle

"I prefer to call it a LOCKOUT. It's very disappointing that the people of the state of Michigan would agree to an appointed Emergency Manager in Detroit Public Schools and then sit back and allow these state-appointed EMs to squander their tax dollars through rampant waste, theft, and blatant mismanagement. All of this is being done in a climate of favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism while the rest of the state closes its eyes to the facts and 'blames the problems on the locals.' The people of the state need to wake up. And it should be brought to the attention of the people (and newscasters, legislators, ect. ) that while it's easy to blame the teachers for 'wasting' 100s of hours of 'learning time' while they are participating in union actions, the truth is that the district is stealing the students' education on a daily basis by not properly staffing the classrooms. Students are losing countless hours (and in some cases months) of instruction due to the lack of adequate staffing. For example, when a teacher is out due to an illness, meeting or appointment, often a substitute isn't available for the classroom and those students are split up and sent to other classrooms as 'guests'. If they are sent to a classroom of a similar grade, the teacher can scramble and find supplies to include them in the lessons but for a fifth grader who is a 'guest' for the day in a first-grade classroom that is just not practical. Without adequate teachers, many students are slipping through the cracks, languishing in classrooms where they are being 'babysat' instead of taught. It's offensive to blame the teachers for leaving the classroom for a temporary action when the district steals the students education EVERY DAY across the district by not hiring a teacher for their classroom. My best advice: Hire some staff and teach these children!" -- Marshelle

"We teach in conditions that are unheard of in other districts. We have given concessions, and to say we will not be paid for services already rendered is absurd!!! We go in on a daily basis and give 100% to a district that doesn't care about us or our students. We care ,that's why we are fighting!!! We fight for the kids no one seems to care about!!" -- Monesha

"The way school of choice allows funds to follow students who leave districts (primarily Black districts or increasingly Black districts) to districts in the suburbs and charters is going to always leave DPS and similar districts at a disadvantage with finances in a way that makes it impossible to improve the quality of education. We have some excellent teachers, administrators and students but a sinking ship simply can't afford to update our aging infrastructure and pay competitive salaries. I think the district must raise pay and reward the best teachers. I support our union but I also think the union shouldn't protect our few colleagues who don't teach. The state must bail out DPS from the debt it created with prop 2, school of choice and emergency management. If we are stuck with choice then the state must subsidize the public schools in a way that makes them competitive with the districts who benefit from choice simply because the race/privilege of their districts allows them to have higher funding and more consistency." -- Anonymous

"The entire situation is very frustrating. As an educator I understand the value of education and its importance to the children we serve everyday, however, it is not right that I have to worry about my career with DPS every school year. I have a family as well and the fact that people are getting angry at us for fighting for our children's need to eat and be taken care of is disheartening. We have been called selfish when, in fact, we give of ourselves daily. We took several paycuts and insurance hikes and still we came to work everyday hoping our concessions would be enough to save the district. And yet, here we are at the brink of collapse. We will never get back all that we gave because of mismanagement by the state for the past 15 years. AND to top it all off, the legislatures seem to have a smug attitude towards us. It's just not right. It's just not fair. IT'S JUST WRONG." -- Crystal

"I am frustrated with the House of Representatives who have been sitting on this situation for months. How can they expect people to report to work if there is no guarantee of payment for their work? I really want to be in school but deserve to be paid for my work just as the representatives are." -- Patricia

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.