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Detroit Teacher Speaks Out Against Crowded Classrooms & ‘Deplorable Learning Conditions’

Detroit Teacher Speaks Out Against Crowded Classrooms & ‘Deplorable Learning Conditions’

A Detroit teacher posted an open letter to Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager Darnell Earley in response to his criticism of teacher protests in the form of absences.

Pam Namyslowski, a teacher in DPS for 24 years, took to her Facebook page to writer her open letter to Earley, which at the time of this article had been shared 7,236 times.

In response to the “sick-outs” keeping thousands of Detroit children home this week, Earley slammed teachers for their choice to protest by being absent from school.

“[U]sing students as pawns to advance a political position in my opinion is not only unacceptable, it is also very unethical,” he said in a news conference, according to The Detroit Free Press

Many teachers and the president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, Ivy Bailey, slammed Earley for his strongly-worded comments and his unwillingness to help.

Namyslowski, is one of those teachers.

"Mr. Earley, rest assured there is no one in this city, other than the parents, who care more about the education, happiness, and well being of the students of Detroit Public Schools, than we teachers do. We ARE their voice. We are on the front line, working side by side with them every day, trying our best to overcome numerous obstacles,” she said.

She accused him and the school system of overlooking the “deplorable learning conditions” that both teachers and students must endure on a daily basis.

"Many schools have numerous plumbing problems in the lavatories, drinking fountains, and sinks. Many outdated school buildings are crumbling - roofs, floors, windows, doors, and locks that are broken or in desperate need of repair. Far too many classrooms are overcrowded, creating conditions that are not even safe, let alone conducive to learning. I'm wondering where the concern and outrage over that has been?”

Though not the focal point of her post, Namyslowski also discussed declining salaries.

"In the past decade, teachers have lent the district almost $10,000 that we now fear we may never get back. We have taken a 10% pay cut in a salary that was already significantly lower than surrounding districts. And now DPS teachers have to worry about the security of our pensions and wonder if we will even be employed during the next school year,”

"We, as teachers, know our students and what they need. It is heartbreaking to see that our students too often don’t have what they need and certainly not what they deserve.”

Read her full post below.


Mr. Earley,I have been a teacher in Detroit Public Schools for 24 years. I feel the need to respond to some of the...

Posted by Pam Namyslowski on Friday, January 8, 2016

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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