DPS has in many ways served as a microcosm of the city’s various difficulties. Dwindling student enrollment, uncontrollable debt, and unsafe school environments have resulted in strong state control, teacher sick-outs, and little positive changes for the students. While the state legislature recently passed a $617 million rescue plan, many questions still remain. Delegates will discuss the new realities facing DPS as a result of the plan, the role of state control, teacher-administration relations, state-level school funding and charter school laws, and most importantly, how to ensure that every child in Detroit has access to the education they deserve.
Detroit is far too often associated with crime rates and names like Kwame Kilpatrick. And while addressing issues like drugs, murder, human trafficking, and political corruption remain pertinent for the city, the solutions are by no means simple. Police resources are stretched thin, and corrupt politicians, police officers, and even DPS principals have only further drained these funds. In addition to discussing how to solve these problems, delegates will also work to address police-public relations – something that has gained widespread attention across the country in recent months.
Detroit’s many abandoned homes and factories are infamous nation-wide. Arson with the goal of destroying decrepit and often crime-filled buildings has become a regular occurrence. However, cheap-to-live neighborhoods have also led to a rise of local artists, musicians, and young professionals, helping to reduce crime and attract new businesses to the city. Subsequently, property values (and property taxes) have risen – often pushing out many Detroit natives from the neighborhoods whose culture they helped create. Delegates will work to reduce Detroit’s urban blight problem, but must also bear in mind the consequences such programs might have on the local community – the good and the bad.