‘Cannibalizing the bodies and minds of urban children’: Video shows prof ranting against GOP education bill

Timothy Dionisopoulos
Former Reporter

Education reform legislation currently pending in Michigan is “racially motivated” and designed for “cannibalizing the bodies and minds of urban children,” a prominent professor from Wayne State University (WSU) said at a rally at the state capitol on June 19.

Thomas Pedroni, associate professor of curriculum studies and critical policy at the public Michigan school, made the comment in reference to the legislature's passage of HB 4813, which would allow the state treasurer and school chief to dissolve school districts in severe financial trouble.

“Whether it’s Africa a hundred years ago, or Detroit or Flint or Highland Park today, it’s about greed,” he said, naming three of Michigan’s blighted urban communities.

WATCH:  Professor says new Michigan bill ‘racially motivated’
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The professor's comments are about 35 seconds into the video)

“It’s about convincing the rest of the world that you go in with the white man’s burden to save savages, when what you’re really there for has nothing to do with salvation or education but only your own enrichment by feasting, cannibalizing the bodies and minds of urban children for the public education money you see in them,” he added.

The bill would permit officials to dissolve school districts if they do not possess the financial resources necessary to complete the coming year.  Students would be displaced to neighboring districts.

The legislation, penned by Republicans who control the Michigan Senate and House, is expected to win final approval from Gov. Rick Snyder, according to Michigan Live.  

Earlier in the speech Pedroni also compared the current financial predicament in Michigan to modern day colonialism.

“You want us to believe that this lying, stinky skunk district is helping the children of Detroit?” he asked. “We’ve all seen this script before and it’s called extracting public wealth from the poor. It’s called naked, self-serving colonialism.”

Pedroni’s “skunk district” comment was a reference to the “Skunk Works” education policy group comprised of staffers from Governor Snyder’s office who worked with outside experts to come up with policies which would lower the costs of public education, according to the Huffington Post.

The group came under criticism from public education advocates for their allegedly secretive nature and their advocacy for often painful cost-cutting directives.

Pedroni’s biography on the Huffington Post also mentions he is the director for the Detroit Data and Democracy Project which studies public education in metropolitan Detroit.

Pedroni declined a request to speak with Campus Reform.

Follow the author of this article: @TimPDion





Timothy Dionisopoulos

Timothy Dionisopoulos

Former Reporter
Tim Dionisopoulos is a former reporter for Campus Reform and communications editor in the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Tim joined Campus Reform in the summer of 2011, and his stories were cited or re-posted on the Daily Mail, the Drudge Report, Fox News, and other national media outlets. Tim graduated in 2011 from Providence College in Rhode Island where he was politically active on campus and in the community.
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