Seth Meyers looks at horrible teaching conditions and corruption plaguing Detroit schools

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Seth Meyers takes “A Closer Look” at corruption in Michigan that has screwed the Detroit school district out of $30 million. Teachers are staging a “sick out,” in which they all call in sick to protest the fact that they will not be paid past the month of June for days they have already worked.

That’s why teachers are staging a “sick-in,” meaning they all called in sick to protest the fact that they won’t be getting paid for the months they already worked. This isn’t even the first time they have walked out. Teachers in Detroit protested building code violations that make it either unhealthy or dangerous for students. In one school the playground and the gym are both closed. When asked how he even teaches gym class, the teacher says the kids run up and down the halls.

“We have already worked for this money,” many teachers said in interviews. “This is not money they’ve given to us. We have already worked. So, if we continue to work it will be like we are working for free. What profession works for free?” one teacher expressed.

“We shouldn’t be forcing people to work for free!” Meyers agrees. “They’re not college basketball players. But this illustrates a broader problem about how we think about education in this country. We often expect teachers to work for less and in worse conditions than we would expect for ourselves. We think of teachers almost like volunteers!”

If you factor in inflation since 1999, teacher salaries in North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan have fallen 13.3 percent, 13.7 percent and 8.4 percent respectively. The only salaries that have fallen more since 1999 are MySpace executives, POG developers, and hairstylists who specialize in “The Rachel,” Meyers points out.

“The point is this,” Meyers says. “Teachers should be paid more. But even if we can’t do that, let’s agree that we should pay them for the work they’ve already done.”


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