Today, December 11, 2014, there was a public announcement of the newly constituted Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren. The Coalition is made up of a diverse cross-section of leaders representing Detroit’s education, civic, philanthropic, labor, business and community sectors. The Coalition, formed independently of any government body, is embarking on an urgent course to make recommendations for enhancing Detroit’s education landscape.
The Coalition includes a 31 member steering committee, as well as a larger group of community stakeholders. I serve as one of five co-chairs and am joined on the 31 member steering committee by Detroit Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President and AFT Michigan Secretary-Treasurer Edna Reaves and Tashaune Harden, head of our unit at Cesar Chavez Academy. The diverse steering committee includes people and organizations who more often than not have perspectives similar to AFT Michigan’s, as well as those with whom we have definite differences. The diversity of thought will help us craft the best recommendations and will provide this Coalition the influence across the political spectrum.
The larger group referenced should be announced next week. DAEOE President Ruby Newbold and Detroit Paraprofessionals President Donna Jackson will certainly be asked to serve. This larger group will work with steering committee members, digging into the issues, and crafting recommendations.
We are pleased that community leaders understand the importance of having labor at the table. For us it is essentially important because after all, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu.
Throughout this three month process Edna, Tashaune and I will establish opportunities to listen to the ideas and thoughts of Detroit educators.
David Hecker, AFT Michigan President