Detroit must improve the education system, and, he said, the federal government is watching the system closely.
“There have been lots of adult issues and politics that I think have really done our children of Detroit a great disservice,” Mr. Duncan said.
Detroit Public Schools officials declined to comment.
Crime also remains a major problem, even though the murder rate dropped 14 percent last year.
“You have a significant level of crime in the community, which keeps a lot of people out of the city,” Mr. Patterson says. “Tourists, suburban dwellers tend to avoid it and just go down to sporting events and the casinos.”
With a special primary election for mayor looming on Tuesday, Detroit is abuzz with political activity, despite its troubles. But the high interest in the next mayor also has baffled outside political minds.
“When you’ve got bad schools, high crime, a high level of taxes and worst of all, you’ve got a 15-16 percent unemployment rate, people are living in an expensive city and living under the veil of criminal behavior running rampant … the next mayor has his hands full,” says Mr. Patterson, a political dynamo who is considering a run for governor in 2010.
Mr. Kilpatrick, the one-time hip-hop mayor, liked to live large. He left his jail cell last week with a phalanx of bodyguards from the Nation of Islam and flew far away from Detroit via private jet for a job interview and, perhaps, a new life in Southlake, Texas, where his wife and children now reside.
Even as he left office in shame, a stunning 15 candidates emerged to run for Mr. Kilpatrick’s job.
Given the condition of the city and the number of difficult problems that beset it, why would so many want the job?
Mr. Patterson has his theories. He notes that the front-runners in the race seem to have the city’s interest at heart, but others — well, perhaps the perks of the job as utilized in the past could be the draw.
“Kwame Kilpatrick traveled with a dozen bodyguards in chauffeur-driven cars and lived in the massive Manoogian mansion,” Mr. Patterson says of the mayor, who rolled more like rap star Diddy than a city leader facing a $300 million deficit.
Among the candidates are Warren Evans, the well-liked former Wayne County sheriff who argues that crime must be a city priority; the Rev. Nicholas Hood III, a Yale-educated pastor with a family history in Detroit; Coleman Young, the 26-year-old son of the former mayor who is a state legislator; former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix, an education administrator; and current mayor Ken Cockrel Jr., a former journalist and city council president who took over in November under provisions in the city charter after Mr. Kilpatrick was forced out.
Mr. Cockrel, a self-described “geek,” has been a solid and welcome change after the flashy and unstable Kilpatrick years. Yet, some watching his dress rehearsal as interim leader over the past few months wonder if he has the much-needed charisma and vision to lead the city out of its dire situation.
A poll conducted by Denno Noor Polling in January placed businessman Dave Bing and Mr. Cockrel in a statistical tie as front-runners in the special election, earning 28 percent and 22 percent, in a survey of 300 likely voters. Mr. Hendrix came in third with 13 percent.View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
Great discoveries in the world of restaurants and chefs fulfill the quest for delicious food and cooking.
Paul Rondeau dissects the propaganda, media tricks, and other shenanigans targeting our families, faith, and freedom…and even life itself
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention