President of Detroit Public Skoolz Kant Rite Veri Goode

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Detroit school board chief Otis Mathis admits to a “grammar problem.” When some of his emails (consisting of 3rd-grade level grammar) got out in the public, the local media nicely jumped on it. From Laura Berman’s column:

He also acknowledges he has difficulty composing a coherent English sentence. Here’s a sample from an e-mail he sent to friends and supporters on Sunday night, uncorrected for errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation and usage. It begins:

If you saw Sunday’s Free Press that shown Robert Bobb the emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, move Mark Twain to Boynton which have three times the number seats then students and was one of the reason’s he gave for closing school to many empty seats.

It turns out he couldn’t even pass an English proficiency exam required to graduate from college. Here’s another one of his emails:

Do DPS control the Foundation or outside group? If an outside group control the foundation, then what is DPS Board row with selection of is director? Our we mixing DPS and None DPS row’s, and who is the watch dog?

He graduated from a Detroit high school with “a 1.8 grade-point average but was previously reported as a .98 average.” He used to be a substitute teacher. He calls himself a role model. But, in his defense …..

Dare I defend him, but anyone who works in a large corporate environment such as I do sees emails far worse than those above on a daily/hourly basis. Horrifying, incomprehensible emails all day long – even from managers, senior directors, and the like. For years this has baffled me. And before that I tutored college students (most of them from grad programs) in Business Communications. That was a major eye opener for me. For example, I was tutoring senior managers from Chrysler, GM, Ford, etc. who were in business school to get their grad degrees (mostly MBAs) for job advancement.

So the only difference is that Mr. Mathis actually leads those who teach at the lowest performing public schools in the nation.

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12 Responses to President of Detroit Public Skoolz Kant Rite Veri Goode

  1. Michael says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Reading and writing skills are not necessarily indicative of intelligence. I don’t know Mathis, but his colleagues seem to trust his decision-making and leadership.

    At the same time, I think Mathis is the personification of the Detroit school system; His woeful writing skills probably mirror those of his best students’. The government school system has failed students for decades given the supposed goal of educating children.

  2. Richie says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    “…which have three times the number seats then students…”

    One of my biggest pet peeves is not distinguishing between “then” and “than” (in addition to “they’re”, “their”, and “there”). Unfortunately, these mistakes are common.

    I am not surprised at all. From my best recollection, during my time at the local government indoctrination center for mid-to-late teenagers, we spent a whole TWO WEEKS on grammar. The remaining time was allocated to reading literature such as, “Beowulf”, “All Quiet On the Western Front”, “Moby Dick”, etc. Sure, we would do “book reports”, but the purpose was not to improve writing skills; the purpose was to summarize the book.

    I am not the best writer, but I do attempt to write coherent sentences, even in e-mails and on Facebook.

  3. Jeannie Queenie says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    This is what you get when the dept of education is run by nimwits/liberals who feel that ‘change’ is good. Doesn’t matter if the change is to make people more stupid. I have noted with great consternation since the sixties, the total dummying down of education, to the point that one wonders that anyone born since the sixties has an IQ remotely close to their shoe size.

    You see it everyday and in everyway….clerks can’t count change and many managers don’t know their head from a hole in the ground. Reading and spelling/writing are the new extinct dodo birds. This of course, is made worse with the ease of texting and a new language built on blinders and BS.

    And worse, these people are so incrediby stupid that they take pride in their ignorance. Thank god, that this week, Texans decided to make big overhauls on their textbooks. They spend more than any other state, and are looking to return to the good old days where students were taught truth, not some figment of a female libber’s mangled imagination. Now students in Texas will once more learn about american history, about math, science and how to write a sentence…hooray to that.
    Perhaps there is room for hope, and not the kind we were promised by the Messiah who has yet to reveal his grades from elementary school through college. I am sure that right now he is HOPING like hell that they never get out, for then we would know that he has nothing over the deeetroit publeek scollz prezdent. Don’t you just wonder who writes O’s speeches?

  4. Steve 'Poots' Candidus says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 3:49 pm


    Detroit’s Otis Mathis is a guy that could be Newt Gingrich’s poster boy for everything that’s wrong and even evil about the Orwellian reverse-named ‘affirmative action.’

    However, to say that he is an example of the failure of the government (publik sckool systym) is to misunderstand why those horrible things were created in the first place.

    For a history of how and why these ‘child indoctrination centers’ were instigated in the first place a good source of information is with one of their own award winning teachers – John Taylor Gatto.

    Go to:

    When you understand the original intention you can see clearly that these government child indoctrination centers that we call ‘Public Schools’ haven’t been a failure at all.

    In fact, they’ve succeeded in their original mission of dumbing down the American population beyond their creators wildest dreams…


  5. John Venlet says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Karen, I admire Heinlein’s writings, but in his book For Us, The Living, he utilized phonetic spelling in his society of the future. If Mathis is a representation of this future society, as envisioned by Heinlein, I want nothing to do with it.

  6. cousin lucky says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    This Country Is Doomed!! You Betcha!!!

  7. Austin says:

    March 13th, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    For some reason, this really doesn’t surprise me. If the public school system is designed to crank out uneducated half-wits like Mathis, then DPS- you’ve done your job!

  8. Patrick Henry says:

    March 14th, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I used to bring home such e-mails for my first-grade daughter to correct. Sadly, she learned young that some “grown-ups” are STOOPID.

    Today she’s a HS Sophomore and I still occasionally go through her notebook(s) and make her correct spelling and grammar mistakes.


    Right now it matters because her Dad is an insane perfectionist – but her 3 older siblings now know why I expended the effort.

  9. Michael says:

    March 14th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Government School Systems = Weapons of Mass Indoctrination

  10. liberranter says:

    March 15th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I would advise Mathis to stop trying to write anything in Standard American English, his knowledge of which is clearly non-existent, and to just communicate in Ebonics. Obviously that’s the dialect he is most comfortable with and it is also the dialect that almost ALL of the inmates of his broken and dysfunctional system speak as their mother tongue. Given Detroit’s general state of hopelessness and its isolation from the what little remains of the civilized world, of what possible use is proficiency in SAE to its inhabitants?

  11. Shannon says:

    March 16th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I attended university with many who were products of the detroit public school system. As part of my studies, I did “peer editing” and proofread the essay work done by many of these students. It was truly deplorable. They were not prepared for college-level coursework (affirmative action got them in the door) and their writing levels were remedial at best. I agree with Michael’s stance on public education, it really is all about indoctrinating the masses, and training them for a future in subserviency to the state.

  12. Michael says:

    March 19th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Are there any libertarian-minded parents sending their children to public schools?

    If so, how to “deprogram” your children? How do you counter the state’s attempt to make them blindly obedient to the state?

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