**** This is a cross post of a recent MCT article I think fits the RightMI vibe ****
Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:
Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.
The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.
The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.
As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.
Via MCT Twitter Feed:
@stevemct Actually urban farming is enjoying a lot of success in Detroit. Has been for a while. Education should precede snark.
— Paul Scozzari (@edwood_not) March 17, 2014
“Education should proceed snark.” Really?
How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?
In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:
- The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
- The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).
DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:
- The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
- The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).
Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.
So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?
It should precede entrepreneurial endeavors with taxpayer dollars. But you kind of already said that.
This is both amazing, and NOT surprising. Good post Steve.
Focusing on the spinning rims, instead of if the engine will actually tune over.
Ah, what passes for "leadership" in Detroit.
Urban farming has its own set of issues for a city. While the land may belong to the public school system and not presently generate tax revenues, rezoning to farming will guarantee a lower tax base for the future. And then there is the issue of water run-off and pesticides if the land is used to raise crops. I'm presuming animal farming would be off limits.
I've said this repeatedly, Detroit is too large geographically for its population. It cannot be managed and the city cannot afford services to such a large geography. It's time for disassembly and reassembly into several autonomous cities centered around a core city of about 60 sq. mi. Blighted areas should be razed and terraformed into parks around which neighborhoods can be revived. Urban farming does nothing for the health and prosperity of a city.
Urban farming is little more than a fad / pipe dream of the radical environmentalist who have a hazy idyllic image of farming. Of course, as with everything the left says, couldn't be further from the truth. Running a small farm is a tough way to make a living. Why else would a generation move from their farms to the city so they could get jobs in factories and steel mills during the industrial revolution?
I believe in the bigger picture of things, especially, when it comes to involving the oligarch of Government Store, Inc., and recent movement with Mini-Government Store, Inc., it ain't gonna be carrots cultivated in Snyder's non-bailout bailout
DetroitLiberia West. Of course, that is pure speculation but, not without reason. Hint* everything is about generating revenue for Government Store, Inc.
As for the deplorable test scores... why yes, it must be direct result of the schools.
I'm sure a few enterprising individuals will quietly move to grow a few "cash crops" along with the run-of-the-mill carrots and tomatoes at the school's urban farm.