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The school decision

Comments

  • Words can't express how powerful this article is to me. I'm quite literally in tears. So proud of your boys. It takes a village, and I'm so honored to be able to play a small role. They have a truly amazing dad.
  • As a former student that had many of the experiences you talked about and a current educator I completely agree with everything you stated here. The future of everything starts with the children and DSA sounds fantastic. The school district where I work has several magnet high schools similar to what you describe and I would love to send my kids (when I actually have some) to any of the schools in this district. We even have a magnet elementary school that focuses strictly on Space Exploration. I wish I had such options when I was growing up.
  • One thing I can say, having grown up and gone to school in a "white" suburban blue-ribbon school district myself, is that the administration isn't always the problem, and if they are they are only half the problem. I went to Lake Orion schools, and back in my school days Lake Orion was something like 95% white, evangelical Christian Republicans. So you could say that I grew up in a bubble. It wasn't until I stepped outside of that bubble that I realized how unprepared I was for the real world, and that caused me a lot of grief and social anxiety. I always thought that everyone essentially lived and operated the same way, and that those who didn't do things the way we did were wrong. For all the great education I got, I was never taught empathy. I don't imagine that is a criteria that is considered when they award the blue ribbon to schools.

    The administration wasn't the problem, however, it was the parents. In fact, the administration was quite progressive and they tried their hardest to create a tolerant environment for all students. The new Chrysler Tech Center was bringing many different cultures and races of people together in my area, and the school's administration was challenged to keep us from killing each other. It was a job and a half. It was the parents that were the problem. They would indoctrinate their kids with their own bigotry, intolerance and projections, and their kids would bring those attitudes into the school. I remember when there was a huge uproar over our school's LGBT support group. Parents and students protested outside the school, saying that the school was trying to use the program to encourage and promote homosexuality. Christian groups were actively involved in trying to force the school to disband the group. I can't imagine what it was like for a gay student to have to have grown up in that environment.
  • You are an awesome Dad, Brian. Kudos don't begin to sum it up.
  • Brian, I'm so glad to hear you call it exactly like it is. When people make these suggestions and recommendations about "better" schools, it boils down to something outside of that. A good student with a good support structure will succeed, especially if they're challenged appropriately.

    What makes this even more disturbing as a trend, is that its a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    So proud of your kids, its a testament to the support you've given them.
  • Brian, I love this post for so many reasons I don't know where to begin. When we purchased our home in Detroit I did not even hesitate about the schools. Some are "bad", some "good", that is true in any city. I also went to a mostly white and mostly Jewish high school, and let me tell you, it was no picnic either. Hubert (husband) is a product of DPS and turned out pretty well if I do say so myself! This story just goes to show that you can't buy into all of the hype our media spews at us. Best of luck to Perry at the Detroit School of Arts!
  • Bravo, Brian. This is why I respect the cowpoo out of you.

    My parents were particular about me educating myself independently. I went to DPS my entire life. My elementary school was dreamy as it was nestled in one of the best neighborhood in all of Detroit. My middle school bordered on Redford and it was the worst thing ever, but I (l)earned my street savvy there. High school was done at Cass Tech. I am proud of saying I went to Cass, but I couldn't have been happier to finish. High school was a bore. The school was too big to realize I was really advanced in math and science. I slept through all those courses and never honed my skills beyond AP Calc, Physics and Biology. Oh well, I'm still smart. I only go to school now to challenge myself.

    Anyway, your sons seem like they will be just fine. Keep encouraging them to learn what they want on their own. In the future, it won't matter what school district they attended, but what they really know and how hard they are willing to work. Shit, make sure they understand hard work is crucial to a fulfilling life. It doesn't matter if they've gone to Harvard if they are lazy people.

    Brian, you will not regret the decision you have made with your kids' education, because your involvement in their lives will ensure their success. Sure, great teachers are awesome, but providing them with a worldly perspective is just as good, if not more powerful. I salute you.
  • Thanks for the very, very touching and kind thoughts everyone.

    We went again today, to check it out with Perry and his mom. His mom was a little reticent, but by the time the tour was concluded, both Perry and his mom had big grins on their faces and ... well, they're both totally sold.

    Here's a picture of one of the video control rooms:

    image
  • I want to play Angry birds on that.
  • While I agree that more people need to integrate their children into DPS I don't agree with a few things in this here article. I grew up going to DPS and I'll tell you one thing: when my parents moved us to the burbs, I was at least 2 years behind everyone in terms of reading, writing, science and math. Luckily, I was young enough (10 years old) to be able to catch up. The problem I am seeing here is that the Detroit School of Arts is far beyond your typical Detroit Public School. FAR BEYOND. Just take a look at the photos in the article. I can't name one other Detroit Public school that I've seen that looks like that. Not to mention this is a school that children have to audition to get into - if you don't make the cut, sorry, you have to go to one of the other crappy schools. While there are a lot of lucky young students who have the opportunity to attend the school, there are still Detroit schools out there that deal everyday with overcrowded classes, crappy teachers and lack of funding = poor education, not to mention a lot of racism, and the same typical young kids you can find anywhere, whether it be in the city or the burbs. By that I mean that kids are mean. Doesn't matter where you go. I feel that this article is a bit too optimistic (and naive really) when it comes to brightening the Detroit Public School system and kids in general. It would be nice if every kid in Detroit had the opportunity that I was lucky enough to have, but, in all reality, they don't.

    Reading alot of the comments on this article, a lot of people are blaming poor education on the parents of students. While I believe good education and a solid character does start with the parents, I had GREAT parents, and when we entered suburban schools, we were still miles behind. People need to wake up - all Detroit schools are NOT like this.

    But they should be!
  • This! I appreciate your delineation of curriculum vs culture. Even if the former is decent, the latter can mean the difference between school being awful and school being awesome. Youth develop socially and emotionally just as much as they do academically. It sounds like you are doing just the right things for your kids to help them in all areas. As a new mom, I can already see that's nt easy. Rock on!
  • Brian, this place is sick! I will eternally envy anyone that goes to a school like this, can't wait to hear some of the music Perry makes here.
  • While I agree that more people need to integrate their children into DPS I don't agree with a few things in this here article. I grew up going to DPS and I'll tell you one thing: when my parents moved us to the burbs, I was at least 2 years behind everyone in terms of reading, writing, science and math. Luckily, I was young enough (10 years old) to be able to catch up. The problem I am seeing here is that the Detroit School of Arts is far beyond your typical Detroit Public School. FAR BEYOND. Just take a look at the photos in the article. I can't name one other Detroit Public school that I've seen that looks like that. Not to mention this is a school that children have to audition to get into - if you don't make the cut, sorry, you have to go to one of the other crappy schools.
    Hi LS. Thanks for the feedback. I agree that DSA is definitely not a "typical" DPS school, and that the DPS needs massive improvements as a whole. However, one thing that's nice about DPS is that parents, at least, have the option to have their kids try out for a better school, whether that be DSA, Cass Tech, or Davis Aerospace (the only school in Michigan to have an FAA-approved curriculum). In fact, I'd go so far as to say one of DPS' biggest problems is the lack of communication as to their strengths. These "good" schools are, for many, big secrets in their own backyard!
    While there are a lot of lucky young students who have the opportunity to attend the school, there are still Detroit schools out there that deal everyday with overcrowded classes, crappy teachers and lack of funding = poor education, not to mention a lot of racism, and the same typical young kids you can find anywhere, whether it be in the city or the burbs. By that I mean that kids are mean. Doesn't matter where you go. I feel that this article is a bit too optimistic (and naive really) when it comes to brightening the Detroit Public School system and kids in general. It would be nice if every kid in Detroit had the opportunity that I was lucky enough to have, but, in all reality, they don't.
    Absolutely. It probably is a bit naive, and a bit optimistic, but what else is there? I don't feel that there's anything wrong with starting at the perceived "bottom" and looking up. SOMEONE'S got to be optimistic. In this case, it's me.
    Reading alot of the comments on this article, a lot of people are blaming poor education on the parents of students. While I believe good education and a solid character does start with the parents, I had GREAT parents, and when we entered suburban schools, we were still miles behind. People need to wake up - all Detroit schools are NOT like this.
    Again, agreed. However, one of the best things I, as an individual and a parent, can do is to just step in and get involved. DPS will only improve if others do the same.
  • Brian, this is probably one of the very best pieces you've ever written.

    Like you, I'm upset that I didn't get opportunities such as this growing up, but I'm thrilled to see that your kids are going to get an opportunity like this.

    Your "On Raising Creative Children" section is a lesson in parenting that everyone should learn.
  • An update, since a lot of people were following along with this story.

    Perry's GPA was not high enough to get accepted to the DSA this year. I fought and fought, and some of the staff who have met with Perry multiple times fought with me and did the best they could, but in the end the new principal and the board rejected his application for this year. The upsetting thing is that other kids with the same GPA have been accepted to the DSA in the past.

    Perry is not terribly upset; he gets to go to Center Line High School this year. He wanted to go to DSA, but in his words, this is a "win-win" for him; he wanted to go to CLHS to stay with his friends, so either way he would have been happy.

    It's a bit rough for me because this means both my kids will be living with their mom during this next school year. This is the first time in their lives that they won't be living with me full time. They are older now, so it's a bit easier, but it's still tough.

    Perry is committed to going to DSA next year, and so is Kyle. Kyle's exposure to the DSA during Perry's interview process convinced him that this was the school for him as well.

    So, they'll both be applying next year: Kyle for 9th grade, and Perry for 10th. Perry's goal for this year is focusing on fixing his GPA so he can go to the school he wanted to go to.
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