On The Issues
Every major city and many minor cities across the country have regional transit systems and our lack of one hinders Detroit’s ability to compete. 40% of city residents do not have access to a car and not surprisingly, 40% of city residents are also unemployed. People who cannot get to work on time cannot secure work, therefore reliable public transportation is a necessity. With the high costs of gas and insurance more residents, especially our seniors, are unable to drive. In addition, we will also remain at a disadvantage when bidding for large conventions and attracting tourists, new residents and new businesses without a robust public transportation system. Any system we develop must allow:
- our students to travel safely to and from school
- our seniors to travel safely to and from doctors’ offices
- our residents to travel safely to and from work
Without these three things, Detroit cannot become the city we know it can be and achieve its potential, economically or otherwise.
When Detroit was strong, Detroiters had careers. People came from around the world to fulfill their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. Detroit schools provided children with the skills they needed to start a job and build it into a career. To solve the employment issues in Detroit, we have to create the opportunity to innovate. Innovation is fueled by the creativity of our residents. They own the small businesses that can stimulate our economy and provide opportunities for people to earn a living. Investing in education to build the next hometown entrepreneurs and recruiting new neighbors to invest in Detroit are crucial to us rebuilding a stronger Detroit. If elected to City Council in District 5, I will
- work with current business owners to help them grow and expand;
- recruit new commercial businesses along Jefferson, Woodward Grand River, Grand Blvd., and Mack by developing and expanding on successful business incubators; and
- and work towards curriculum changes in schools that incorporate skilled trades and emphasize entrepreneurial education.
Together, we can restore Detroit and make it a city where dreams become reality and a city produces both talented citizens and a skilled workforce.
Education is the great equalizer in America. A quality education unlocks the potential in our children, the future of Detroit. Almost 71% of our children graduated from public high schools in 2010, a statistic that indicates there’s more work to be done when compared to the national average of almost 75%. Public education must improve if we’re going to set our children up for success. My siblings and I graduated from Detroit Public Schools (DPS). We are byproducts of high expectations at home and in the classroom. Our children deserve the same high expectations to prepare them for higher education and the workforce. I want to make Detroit Public Schools among the best in the nation – schools that produce the scholars, entrepreneurs, and citizens that will power Detroit and our country.
EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMIC AND PRACTICAL EDUCATION The city of Detroit must fix the public school system to make high quality education available to every resident of the city. Education needs to extend beyond academics to provide opportunities for student to learn skilled trades in apprenticeship programs. As a mentor, I recognize the value of building relationships to unlock a child’s potential. By embedding apprenticeship programs into school curriculum students have additional positive adults in their lives, apply classroom learning to practical skills, and build the 21st century skills required to be successful beyond school.
MUNICIPAL CONTROL OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS The state of Michigan insists upon overseeing DPS, but seems to not oversee its own officials. For years, the state of Michigan has held control of our school system, yet no one is holding them accountable for their performance. It’s time to return to local control of the Detroit Public Schools and allow the families and residents of Detroit to hold their children’s educators accountable.
MORE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HIGHER EDUCATION An education beyond high school is essential in today’s economy, be it from one of Michigan’s 14 major college institutions or our community colleges. College is expensive and for a lot of families in Michigan, the rising cost of college combined with declining financial aid assistance is forcing students to give up on the dream of going to college altogether. The days of being able to work in a factory for a summer and earn tuition are long gone. We must make higher education affordable if we hope to remain competitive. As Councilman, I will call the leaders of all our major colleges to work on programs for Detroit residents to link affordability and access. I will work to ensure that we develop pipelines to higher education for all of our students.