Social Service Aides Not Fans of Outsourcing

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.