Chicken pox, shingles, team sports, and The Oxford Foundation's Endgame

Everybody in BHSD loses with The Oxford Foundation -- even if you think you have no one to cheer for in that game

I played a lot of team sports; but I gave up on them a long time ago.

But I can’t say I got the virus entirely out of my system. I liken it to chicken pox: it comes back as shingles.

When my daughter started really enjoying “rec” soccer a few years ago I encouraged her to play “travel” soccer because I was persuaded that for her to have the chance to play on her high school team and “enjoy” the same experiences I did she would need to play travel.

All parents make mistakes. This was a doozy.

Several thousand dollars and countless hours of soccer later it looks like there are three possibilities for my daughter’s soccer life – all of them make my initial motivation look silly: 1) she will improve and continue playing on an elite team or “academy” (watch out for that Platonic term!) where high school soccer is increasingly frowned upon – all serious athletics, it turns, now operate through private clubs in soccer, AAUP in basketball and so on – high school teams are for sentiment 2) she will burn out and give up the sport before high school or 3) the “high school” sports’ experience I imagined for her (GO TEAM, YAY BLACKHAWKS, and all that) won’t be available because Governor Snyder’s Oxford Foundation plans to take down all boundaries between schools and districts.

The high school team I imagined for my daughter won’t be there because the “school” won’t be. The new renovated building might be if Mr. Herner can fend off two years of false reports on the construction project and get the job done, but the school as many imagined it won’t be.

Let me explain.

We are currently watching the “endgame” of a long, long political fight over public education, primarily between teacher unions who for too long have wed themselves to one political party and thoroughly alienated “cost cutting” Republicans. That the 2007 burst of the housing bubble created an imbalance that might allow one side to win the long war once and for all isn’t my main concern. Provincial that I am, I think locally, from where I am at at any given moment. In BHSD I am at the 50 yard line, behind the Red Wings’ opponent’s goal for two periods, on the floor at the palace with Kid Rock to see the tip off of what might be the last game of public education in Michigan.

And I am jammed in with every BHSD voter. The Oxford Foundation Proposals threaten parents with kids, people without kids, retirees, and people with kids in private schools.

If we let it, the Oxford Foundation will end, for example, the opportunity to vote on and pass a “hold harmless” millage. Our hold harmless millage has kept us distinct and above average since Prop A in 1994.  The Oxford Foundation also will make our borders porous, actively encouraging and paying for out of district students to flood our schools; in exchange, our kids have the wonderful “opportunity” to take courses at OCC with an adjunct instructor making as little as 3k a term. Thanks.

When conditions deteriorate, and it could be as soon as next year, many parents who watch education carefully (like me) simply will flee.

I want strong public education but I am no Abram/Abraham/Ibrahim willing to sacrifice my son for the greater “good.”

My “allegiance” is to my family. Families like ours, I suspect, will flood the local private schools with applications for kids even though we can’t afford it. In turn, local private schools will jack their tuition prices sky high, even higher than they are now because they have increased demand. Even venerable Cranbrook with its wondrous endowment will bite at the opportunity. If you are paying for college tuition you know the economic logic: tuition is high because demand is high and state subsidies have been halved – so colleges and universities raise tuition. I do that kind of thinking for a living.  If you have, for example, a “sweetheart” deal at Sacred Heart because you brought them multiple kids or something you can expect that deal to go bye-bye. They have lots of customers now. Private school parents will pay now for tuition AND a bad “non-district.”

As certain families who value top flight public education flee, conditions will deteriorate even further. The press isn’t good for schools now, is it? And we are performing at a high level. Wait for when things go real bad (what was the phrase Mr. Moigis used to describe our current BHSD state – a system filled with “social and academic pathologies” he could cure?  – he will have his work cut out for him).

Good teachers with real credentials might not need the unions anymore because the private schools – bursting with customers – can finally pay a living wage. I hope your kid has a shot at one of those private schools where the good teachers will naturally cluster.

The good news for parents? You won’t have to pay BHSD home prices to have a shot at access. You can apply to a private school from anywhere! They will pop up all over the place. You will just have to sort which is the good one, which the bad, just like trying out a new restaurant.

Seniors in BHSD? No kids but big mortgage? The news is bit scarier from The Oxford Foundation and its Alpena/Oscoda supporters. Young families interested in those “little homes” that surround your big one? They were willing to pay to get in to BHSD, right?  Why should they now when there is no BHSD? The money is following the student, not the district. They will go other places. The value of the little homes some worried were taking advantage of the big homes will drop. Somebody will buy the house, sure – but it won’t be smart young ambitious families. Think the burst of the housing bubble hurt? Just watch.

More distinctively, your whole community will change. And it will change rather quickly. The Bloomfield area is attractive and wonderful for many, many reasons, of course. But it is not, said the kid from Detroit, an eternal city any more than its citizens are eternal. If you take away a key piece of what makes it great – its School District – everyone there loses. You will recall with the great warmth of nostalgia the glory days when OBU argued with 2020. That's when a community was a community we shall say!

This is the endgame if you play on or cheer for The Oxford Foundation team. Everybody loses.

So close to November 6 I know it is tough to get the team sport virus out of your system, may be impossible (chicken pox to shingles). But to help education in BHSD and keep this area a desirable place to live many will have to challenge their unions; and many will have to challenge their political party.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Margaret Bloom November 04, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Thanks to everyone for making us aware of these proposals. After seeing your posts here starting several weeks ago, I have gone to links and read as much as I can. I do agree that making the direct communications between Charlie and the committee available as well would be helpful.
S Sera November 04, 2012 at 08:06 PM
As of this time, it is working on my Apple computer.
-Elizabeth- November 04, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I just checked the links.....what didn't work for me on Friday, now does. All the documents are coming up, so I hope you can get to them too Marcia.
-Elizabeth- November 04, 2012 at 08:51 PM
And Marcia, Thanks for responding to me, I really appreciate it. I have to say that I really appreciated your points of view in last Tuesday's meeting. I hope you have a nice Sunday afternoon too.
S Sera November 04, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Mrs. Robovitsky, A lack of response does not mean people aren't reading. I agree with what Ann says regarding every homeowner in the BHSD choosing to read the material in depth or press for disclosure. Lives are busy and complicated for many people. There are those who simply don't care. Consider that those without children in the district most likely wouldn't feel a need to look at the district website. You have a desire to do so. Even those with children in the schools don't routinely look at the main district website, and in those instances that they do they head towards what they are looking for. People can choose not to give out their email addresses. Others may dismiss lengthy reading. Everyone has a different capacity for things. I can also imagine the cry of wastefulness from the taxpayers if they started getting paper mailings on this topic! Elizabeth's comment from earlier is equally true that interested parents can't make it to CPC meetings because they are being parents at the times the meeting are held. It doesn't mean they don't care. For instance, did you know that on October 30th at 7 pm there was a 7th & 8th grade band, orchestra and vocal concert at Bloomfield Hills Middle School. You may not realize how many district families were precluded from attending the meeting from 6:30-8:30 pm.


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