Detroit students are back to school on Monday, but their teachers are still waiting to hear if they have jobs. Those who make it back to the classroom will face dramatically larger class sizes.


Kindergarteners through third-graders will now share space with 40 classmates, up from a limit of 25 students. For fourth- and fifth-graders, class size was raised from 30 to 46 kids, and middle and high school teachers may face up to 61 students this fall, jammed into existing classrooms built for 35.

“There’s no way we can educate that many students. Our rooms are not conducive to it. We’re talking fire hazards,” said elementary teacher Ivy Bailey at a July rally.

In a repeat of last year’s district-wide layoffs, every one of the city’s 4,100 teachers was forced to re-apply for his or her job over the summer. Eight hundred will not be called back, as Detroit closes 15 more schools and transfers another 15 to a state-run district for underperforming schools.

Already 40 percent of Detroit’s students attend charter schools, a number that’s steadily growing.

To make matters worse, half of Detroit’s public schools teachers were still waiting this week to hear if they’d have a job. The Detroit Federation of Teachers is advising teachers hold tight until the district issues official job offers.

Though the layoffs are déjà vu, this time rehiring will be based on performance evaluations instead of seniority. DFT unsuccessfully filed a grievance over management’s failure to collaborate with the union on the evaluation process and has threatened to sue.