DETROIT-Union leaders and school administrators are speaking out against a
proposal by the Detroit school district that it be allowed to contract out for
social worker and psychological services in the city’s schools. The proposal is
part of a larger plan to improve schools by increasing the quality of education
while lowering the cost.
The school district has already had success outsourcing food service,
maintenance, and lawn care, so why not social services and counseling?
Janna Garrison, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, told The
Detroit News it was “appalling” that administrators may use private-sector
counselors and psychologists for jobs directly affecting students. She and
others in the administration believe outside agencies wouldn’t have as much of a
stake in the school or the students, but would only do what was necessary to
collect their reimbursement.
Earlier this year, such reactions scared then-Detroit schools chief Kenneth
Burnley into cutting only 24 social workers from the district’s payrolls instead
of the 49 originally planned.