President Barack Obama will be in Flint tomorrow for the first time to lend the weight of his personal appearance at the site of the worst man made disaster – and governmental failing – to land on Michigan in recent memory. But now it’s not only Flint but the shattered condition of the Detroit Public Schools that has attracted the critical attention of the White House. On the second day of a massive teacher sickout that has closed down all but three schools in the system, the White House figured on Tuesday it was time to weigh in on that issue as well.
The Obama administration on Tuesday called for parties on both sides of the Detroit teacher walkout to quickly settle their differences for the sake of the students.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at Tuesday’s press briefing that teacher absences in Detroit — which shuttered 94 of the district’s 97 schools for a second day — was a “significant problem.”
“That’s going to have a broader economic impact,” he said. “Parents are going to have to stay home to take care of their kids who would otherwise be in school. … There are some parents who may not be able to stay home with their kids and those kids are now operating, or moving around, unsupervised. To say nothing of the most important thing — which is these kids aren’t getting educated.”
Whether or not President Obama will veer from his expected remarks on the condition of Flint to also address the mess that is DPS remains to be seen, but what should be of major concern to all Michigan residents is how Michigan must look to everyplace else that isn’t Michigan – and is so very thankful. Gov. Snyder would love to be remembered for how much he has managed to cut the unemployment rate which, admittedly, is impressive. But it’s kind of hard to see past all those lead-poisoned children while the state’s largest school system is sliding over the cliff at the same time.