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The week in review: Detroit Public Schools, Washtenaw County ID cards, Detroit mayoral race

From a Detroit classroom
Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio
Of the nine people indicted in the Detroit Public School scandal last fall, the Detroit Free Press reports there have been seven guilty pleas.

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaignsof Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”

Washtenaw County considers county ID program

Washtenaw County is considering a plan to issue county identification cards to all residents, including undocumented immigrants.  Lessenberry points out that there are still a lot of questions about what these ID cards will do. It’s not yet clear if the cards can be used like a driver’s license, for example as a voting identification. Lessenberry says “it’s sort of a political statement in solidarity with people who may be undocumented, but other people think ought to be allowed to stay here.”

Detroit mayoral race heats up

Detroit mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon will be playing a game of catch-up in his continuing campaign.  Mike Duggan was the surprise front-runner of the primary election even though his name was not on the ballot.  However, Lessenberry says that everyone knows Duggan moved to Detroit specifically to run for mayor, while Napoleon is a lifelong Detroiter. Lessenberry says “if he’s going to come from behind and reverse the results of the primary, he really needs people to turn out en masse and for people to buy the argument that he’s one of them.

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