soul & marginalia.

scribbler of songs & singer of poems. cultivating my sense of wonder. bibliophile. funkateer. latebloomer.

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Looking for articles that discuss the layoffs mentioned in my previous post [], I found a letter from Joyce Schon, the attorney representing Detroit’s teachers to Prof. George Shirley. I am aghast. Please see the bold:

Hello, Professor Shirley,

I am an attorney for the Detroit Board of Education in a lawsuit against Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, over academic control of DPS. Bobb has given layoff notices to every music and art teacher in the district, including those at Cass Tech and Detroit School of the Arts. He plans to have one citywide chorus, one orchestra, one band etc, as extra-curricular activities that students may only qualify for only if they have good grades. Any music or art classes or programs in individual schools would be supported, if at all, only with private funds.

The School Board’s plan includes music and art in every school at every level, with a lobbying effort at the state and federal level to increase funding for art and music education.

Please accept my great admiration of your accomplishments and your career. I am a product of DPS schools, a life-long classical music and opera-lover, and a great believer in music as one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. I personally cannot bear the possibility that Detroit’s students could be denied the very classes that I considered my lifeline for survival and growth as a student and as a human being.

We believe that removing art and music teachers from virtually all public schools would result in irreparable harm to the children of Detroit. Could you talk to us on the phone about these two counterposed educational visions for fine arts education for Detroit students?

Unfortunately, time is very short. We begin our trial on Friday, May 21. If you are in the country and could talk on the phone, please call me on my cell at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of this urgent matter.

Joyce Schon

Please help by passing this along and sending your stories. Please. 


One of many singing pics from my hs days:

Senior photo in my choir dress, my second skin:

We can’t let this happen, 


This is a call to action,

I just got word on Facebook from Nina Scott, my high school choral director, that the Detroit Public Schools has laid-off ALL of its Fine Arts Instructors. I am a proud graduate of Renaissance High School in Detroit. Renaissance is a college prep magnet school that, for the last 15+ years, has had a stellar choral program. We toured the country, ventured overseas, won scholarships to colleges throughout the US, sang for our craft and for our lives. 

I am stunned, puzzled, incredulous. distraught.

I am who I am—as a musician and a woman—because of my years participating in our choral program. I can’t imagine what a hell Detroit’s schools would really be without the arts…

Please find Ms. Scott’s call for our participation to save the arts in our schools:

DPS has laid-off all Fine Arts instructors. They plan to offer one all city choir, band, orchestra, and a traveling truck for art. Help us save fine arts in DPS.

Contact Robert Bobb and the board’s (our) lawyer Joyce Schon, tell how fine arts impacted your lives.

Schon's next court date is Friday, let's give her ammunition.

So I’m calling all musicians, painters, dancers, dj’s… if you were a black, white, brown kid in DPS that was saved by the arts in your school, please send your stories to Mr. Bobb and Ms. Schon at the addresses above. 

Consider how our city’s—our children’s—future would look like without the presence of fine and performing arts: there could be no one, even, to paint such bleakness. 

Please, let’s unite to protect the arts in Detroit’s Public Schools,

Yalonda JD Green

'98, musician and choir nerd

RHS Varsity Chorus, Renaissance Singers, A Chord, Brazeal Dennard Youth Chorale, Renaissance Ladies, All-City Honors Choir

[See continuation here: ]