Archive for March 8th, 2011


DPS Chess On the Move

Despite the bad reputation the Detroit Public Schools system has acquired, it has some beneficial programs in the works. The DPS Chess Program, lead by director Tanya Moss, has been around for over 15 years. It provides students with the opportunity to meet students from schools throughout the city. The program also allows students to travel all over the country competing in tournaments.

Students from elementary, middle and high school are eligible to compete and represent their schools in weekly tournaments held in different locations throughout the city. The next level is the state tournament, which all schools are eligible for. But, it is there that the top three teams in the city are chosen to go to the national tournament. In the past, nationals were held in Nashville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Phoenix, Sacramento, Denver, Kansas, Milwaukee, Columbus, Tuscan, and Dallas.

Tanya Moss is the chess coach at Crockett Technical High School and the Chess Director for Detroit Public Schools

Moss, whose been director for 11 years loves her job. She started out coaching her own team in 1998 at Cooley High School , which was currently closed due to budget cuts. Her team was the first to place first in the nationals in DPS history in Phoenix.

“I do it to see the excitement of winning on the kids’ faces,” she said.

Along with competing with students from various backgrounds and states, students are also allowed the opportunity to explore these cities. A lot of students that compete have hardly traveled outside of Detroit. So nationals is a huge reward they look forward to. Every school has earned trophies at nationals, including trophies for outstanding individual performance. Students compete for three days, while trying to build up their ranking and earn a trophy for themselves and their team.

This year Cass Technical High School, King High School, and Crockett Technical High School are competing in the national championship. In the middle school division, Spain Elementary School, Bates Academy and Hutchins Elementary School will travel to nationals. Lastly, Spain, Bates and Fisher Magnet Upper Academy will compete in the elementary division. This year, a fourth team in the middle school division will be allowed to compete. Renaissance High School’s ninth grade players will play in the tournament.

This year’s national tournament will be held in Columbus and Nashville in April.

I’ve participated in the national tournament before and it is such a great experience, especially for those who haven’t even traveled outside of the city. Where else could they get an opportunity to meet and compete against other players from all over the country and learn how to better their skills as players for free? This is one of DPS’ greatest achievements.



More DPS schools to close

According to the Detroit Free Press, school board members are suing Robert Bobb for control of academic decisions, which makes sense. Bobb was hired to take care of the financial deficit the district has been facing, but yet he manages to delve into classroom business a little more than he should. He has given teachers instructions on how to educate their students, which doesn’t add up with his background. Bobb hasn’t taught anyone; therefore, he is not in position to tell teachers how to teach. He doesn’t know what teachers have to put up with on a daily basis.

For someone who tells teachers how to educate students, Bobb continues to close schools, which increases class sizes at remaining schools. 32 schools were closed at the end of 2009-2010 school year, forcing some remaining schools to merge with each other, creating larger classrooms.

Thomas M. Cooley High School was closed at the end of the 2009-2010 school year

According to the Detroit Free Press, class sizes could grow to more than 60 students. As of now, Bobb’s new plan is to close 70 more schools by 2013 and outsource services with the city and the countrywide education agency between now and 2014. Services include custodial and security.

So how does he expect teachers to successfully educate students when their classrooms resemble that of a college or university? Classrooms are meant to be small in order for students to receive a more personal and hands-on education. Teachers can’t effectively tend to the needs of each student in that kind of environment. Large classroom sizes among students will cause disruption, and provide students a disservice.


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Who is Robert Bobb?

As a product of the Detroit Public School system, I am all for improving the education of students and the school district. But, I can’t help but question Robert Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit Public Schools. He was appointed by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm March 2009. He was reappointed March 2010.

Robert Bobb is the emergency financial manager for DPS

Bobb’s contract was extended through June 2011 by Gov. Rick Snyder. This confuses me, considering the fact that a DPS deficit-elimination plan filed with the state projects the district will end the 2010-2011 school year with a $332 million deficit, which is higher than the $218.9 million deficit last year, according to the Detroit Free Press.

For a school district that is millions of dollars in the hole, Robert Bobb has found a way to make plans to build new high schools, such as Crockett Technical High School and Martin Luther King Senior High School. To me, it makes sense to save all the money you possibly can, while trying to improve education.

According to DPS website,, Robert Bobb has over 30 years executive management experience in both private and public sectors. He is the President and CEO of the LAPA Group, LLC, a consulting firm. Bobb served as the President of the Washington, DC Board of Education in November 2006. He is the former City Administrator and Deputy Mayor for Washington, D.C. and served as the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security Advisor. Bobb served as the City Manager of Oakland, California and Executive Director of the Oakland Redevelopment Agency, City Manager of Richmond, Virginia, City Manager of Santa Ana, California, and City Manager of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

With all this experience, I can’t help but notice how much he has bounced around. One could come to the conclusion that Bobb may be bad at what he does because he can’t seem to stay in one place.