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Shek
22 Feb 08,, 17:28
This is sad. I found this through here (http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/02/the-detroit-pub.html).

Sweet Juniper! (http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2007/11/it-will-rise-from-ashes.html)

http://bp1.blogger.com/_PnT6fOkhWyg/R0sry4ktlnI/AAAAAAAAATI/dTsPYunGogg/s400/2066074099_faa6100896.jpg


This is a building where our deeply-troubled public school system once stored its supplies, and then one day apparently walked away from it all, allowing everything to go to waste. The interior has been ravaged by fires and the supplies that haven't burned have been subjected to 20 years of Michigan weather. To walk around this building transcends the sort of typical ruin-fetishism and "sadness" some get from a beautiful abandoned building. This city's school district is so impoverished that students are not allowed to take their textbooks home to do homework, and many of its administrators are so corrupt that every few months the newspapers have a field day with their scandals, sweetheart-deals, and expensive trips made at the expense of a population of children who can no longer rely on a public education to help lift them from the cycle of violence and poverty that has made Detroit the most dangerous city in America. To walk through this ruin, more than any other, I think, is to obliquely experience the real tragedy of this city; not some sentimental tragedy of brick and plaster, but one of people.

Pallet after pallet of mid-1980s Houghton-Mifflin textbooks, still unwrapped in their original packaging, seem more telling of our failures than any vacant edifice. The floor is littered with flash cards, workbooks, art paper, pencils, scissors, maps, deflated footballs and frozen tennis balls, reel-to-reel tapes. Almost anything you can think of used in the education of a child during the 1980s is there, much of it charred or rotted beyond recognition. Mushrooms thrive in the damp ashes of workbooks. Ailanthus altissima, the "ghetto palm" grows in a soil made by thousands of books that have burned, and in the pulp of rotted English Textbooks. Everything of any real value has been looted. All that's left is an overwhelming sense of knowledge unlearned and untapped potential.

glyn
22 Feb 08,, 18:55
It is extremely depressing but the replies to the piece have filled in some details. A fire (arson?) the authorities deciding not to rebuild, insurance problems, possible legal difficulties so the place was sold to a rather colourful 'developer'. In the meantime it remains a blight on the landscape. It seems that the other state schools are adequately funded but is the population getting value for money?

Ray
23 Feb 08,, 00:26
Rather unfortunate.