I have informed incoming DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti that certain individuals may endeavor to convince him that schools activist Helen Moore and I are simply radical old DPS alumni to be humored or ignored.  Actually, Helen’s is perhaps the most heeded voice among the grass-roots community regarding our schools, and I have served at all levels in DPS and administrated in five suburban districts and a college, taught at WSU and Oakland University, and directed or served on boards of human-rights-oriented agencies throughout the past six decades.

Encouragingly, Dr. Vitti has now informed me that he will consult extensively with me and Ms. Moore regarding Detroit school issues, as well as with others I recommended to him. Some of those others are Russ Bellant. attorneys Tom Bleakley and Tom Stephens, truthful journalists Keith Owens and Mildred Gaddis, WSU Prof. Tom Pedroni, the ACLU’s Curt Guyette, State Superintendent Brian Whiston, Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (who served pro bono as Deputy Superintendent during my 2012-2013 Superintendency under state-imposed emergency financial mismanagement), the National Action Network’s Sam Riddle, Special Education proponents Aurora Harris and Eleanor White (whom I recruited many moons ago for my directorial staff in Rochester), recent DPS Board members Ida Short and Elena Herrada, DFT leaders Ivy Bailey and Steve Conn, Mayor Michael Duggan and his cohort Lisa Howze, and school turnaround expert James Hare.

The major media will doubtless never acknowledge these true heroes’ crucial contributions to the cause, nor will the corporate-collusive honchos who habitually hand out often-unearned awards to assorted dignitaries at big black-tie dinners.  Nonetheless, the folks listed herein are the ones who really saved our Detroit public school district to live and fight another day.  Had we not spent those many years meeting and writing and going out into the schools every day and night and going to court and speaking out on radio and television to stop the rapacious Lansing government from stealing and liquidating and ultimately chartering all of our schools, there would be no remnant of DPS, DPSCD, or any other traditional Detroit public school district of any kind left today to preserve, restore, and defend.

I have urged Dr. Vitti to meet early-on with Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather and former Benton Harbor Superintendent Claude Tiller, my pro bono Ombudsman during my pro bono DPS Superintendency.  I hope that Dr. Vitti will give both of them high positions in his administration.  In addition, I am offering him my time-tested octogenarian self (again pro bono: I’m adamant that I must serve solely in a voluntary capacity administratively due to the district’s state-engendered insolvency, and I’m urging other retirees to return and do likewise).   Now that our new Superintendent has vowed publicly that the lowest-performing Priority schools will indeed become his premier priority to fix, Helen Moore’s decades-long restorative dream is about to come true: The path is paved for the research-based, field-proven, Detroit-based, African-American-led QWK2LRN program to take the field and work its magic.  DPSCD will become the comeback poster child for the entire nation.         .

Detroit activist John Telford is a former international track star and author of seven books.  Contact him at (313) 460-8272DrJohnTelfordEdD@aol.com, or www.AlifeontheRUN.com,

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