OPINION

News readers talk city schools, auto industry

Poverty cripples Detroiters

Detroit has more schools of choice than its neighbors, but they all are failing at the same rate. When will leaders consider that the problem is not the school system or the teachers but that Detroit’s students come with a handicap? Detroit has a inordinately high level of poverty, and with that comes single parents ranging from unemployable poor role models to absent and working long hours to support the child. Either way, the child arrives in school far behind its suburban counterparts.

Struggling is no fun and breeds contempt for the torturer, the teacher. Once a student falls too far behind, there is a tendency to give up and express their frustration in destructive ways. Failing students need remedial help, and they need it early; but Lansing gerrymandered the problem, delegating it to the bankrupt local districts.

In the end, investing in kids would be cheaper than building more prisons for those with no job skills other than crime, but privatized schools have no profit motive to add remedial help and no budget for prisons to balance against. Diverting tax dollars to educational profiteers hasn’t helped, and neither will holding teacher responsible for students unsupported at home and unprepared to learn.

Dennis L. Green, Farmington Hills

Pay parity at GM

Re: Daniel Howes’ Jan. 6 “‘New’ Detroit to greet Obama touts local teamwork”: Daniel Howes is correct that the rebound of the Detroit auto industry is a team effort and President Barack Obama deserves and can take credit where credit is due as much as individual political and business leadership and public and private capital market forces.

It’s funny how things change fast in this town when we as a people need change.

In a perfect world, though, I just wish that the hourly pay at the “new” GM, which is some 30 PERCENT lower than state employment, was more equitable working for GM through the staffing agency contractor Aerotek, and it certainly could be if CEO Mary Barra looks into this issue, does the empirical research and mandates a directive for a modest pay increase. It would be a smart business move by GM executive management to retain talented contractor employee staff.

A positive move in increasing the pay for GM contract employees would be something Obama could be darn proud of in helping secure a better future for Detroit auto workers.

Kenneth Hreha, Dryden