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Detroit schools' decline and teacher sickout reflect bad economy and demographic shifts

Detroit schools' decline and teacher sickout reflect bad economy and demographic shifts

The mostly poor and black students enrolled in Detroit Public Schools have been exposed to lead, have endured crumbling classrooms, and have some of the lowest literacy rates in the country. They've also seen one neighborhood school after another shut down.

Then this month they had to endure something else. For two days, most of them had no school to go to.

On May 2 and 3 — the start of Teacher Appreciation Week — scores of teachers called in sick, shutting down 97% of schools. The action came about after the teachers union said it learned that the district was running out of money, and that teachers' paychecks might not be guaranteed past June 30.

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