Detroit Teachers Strike

DETROIT--Detroit's teachers went on strike yesterday, wiping out the first day of class for 172,000 students as they resisted an attempt to overhaul the troubled urban school system.

The 7,200 teachers walked out in defiance of Michigan law, one day after they rejected a 10-day extension of their old contract.

The teachers are unhappy with proposals for a longer school day, merit pay and other changes proposed by the district's new chief executive. He took the place of the superintendent after the legislature voted in March to replace Detroit's elected school board with one appointed by the mayor.

After taking over a district beset by mismanagement and chronically low test scores, attendance and graduation rates, David Adamany promised big changes. He told parents and students that when they returned after summer vacation, they would find schools had undergone $80 million of renovations and new incentives to learning would be in place.

The union objected to proposals to crack down on teacher absenteeism and to extend the school day by 2 1/2 hours, to 8 1/2 hours, and the school year by 10 days, to 191 days.

The district is also offering as much as $3,000 a year in merit pay to teachers with good attendance, three years of satisfactory performance, advanced course work and national certification. The union argued that the criteria are unclear and that administrators could reward undeserving teachers and punish others.

Youth March Allowed

NEW YORK--A federal judge ruled that the Million Youth March can go forward in Harlem this weekend--over the city's objections--because the First Amendment protects even offensive speech.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said that many statements made by the event's organizers, including Khallid Abdul Muhammad, were "bigoted, hateful, violent and frightening." But he said that did not justify denying a permit.

The city had said it would appeal any ruling that permitted the rally. It refused to grant a permit for the event, scheduled for Saturday, after organizers threatened to hold it with or without a permit.

Michael Hess, the city's chief lawyer, argued that the rally should not be protected by the First Amendment because organizers made it clear they hoped to incite violence.

Last year, a federal appeals court allowed a similar rally but limited its size and duration. Twenty-eight people were injured, including 16 police officers, in a clash between police and participants.

At a Harlem news conference Monday, Malik Shabazz, a march organizer, vowed that "all efforts to stamp out the Million Youth March will be met with divine doom and destruction."