Racial Politics in Detroit

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Joe Klein, not to be confused with New York City's Joel Klein, has written an excellent column in Time, recounting the saga of Michigan road builder Bob Thompson. You may recall that Thompson offered to donate $200 million to Detroit in order to start 15 small, independent public charter high schools in Detroit. The local teachers union was so incensed at the prospect that it shut down schools for a day in protest, eventually forcing a befuddled Thompson to withdraw his offer. Klein astutely addresses the racial politics underlying the whole affair and effectively captures the dispiriting sense of the lost opportunity.