I read Bully Pulpit instead

Yesterday I think my head was still too full of unprocessed thoughts to blog coherently.

Fortunately, there is now an excellent synopsis of our last School Board meeting from Karl Schuettler. The tone of Karl’s post is even handed but not quite bland. His comment about the “Power Hour” was wry and his observations about individual Board members while mild in delivery had some punch. Here’s a sample that might make you think you will fall to sleep reading it all but a little later in his post he returns to the threat to Duluth’s music program with his acknowledgement that Ms. Blomquist’s prognostications might indeed materialize.

The night began on a musical theme, as the Duluth East Choralaires and Sterling Strings both performed in honor of Music in the Schools Month. (This former Sterling Strings bassist was pleased with the performance of his successor.) Ms. Teri Akervik, the schools’ Music Curriculum Specialist, then put in her plug for music programming in the schools, talking of the “roller coaster” of funding cuts over the past decade. A citizen speaker who gives private music lessons, Ms. Jana Blomquist, gave an even more pointed plea. She compared Duluth to her former home in Iowa, where children began on instruments at much younger ages, and claimed there was a large gap between the talents of young musicians in surrounding districts and those in Duluth.

Karl is by nature mild mannered which he will need to shake off as his talents require a little more confidence. A graduate of East High he has returned in recent years from Georgetown U in Washington DC where he picked up a currently hard to market degree in International Relations. I’d suggest he infuse his life with a bit of the passion which he attaches to the sport of hockey. Anyone looking for a careful and exact writer look no further than Karl. He has some serious journalistic chops.

Ironically its hockey that gave Karl his first look at me when I served on the School Board in 2003 and was embroiled in the heated decision to remove the East Hockey coach. Karl was an underclassman who showed up at Board meetings and evidently watched me much like a fly on the wall. He contacted me last summer a decade later, through email about my campaign. I had to defend myself a bit about my long antagonism over the Red Plan. We had lunch and Karl followed that up by blogging a bit about the election enthusing that my cup-half-empty attitude might merged with the Superintendent’s cup-half-full thinking could help patch up Duluth’s school board politics and schools.

Jana Hollingsworth of the DNT will never have the luxury of Karl’s blog space, the Internet being close to infinite, so if you are a Duluth School nerd read Karl’s wrap up.

You will also soon be able to read Loren Martell’s thoughts about our meeting. Loren ran twice for the school board with my enthusiastic support. If you are new to Duluth you can put his name in my blog’s search engine and get an eyeful of my comments about him. Loren was handcuffed at a School Board meeting two years ago for standing mute in front of the microphone where the public is invited to express its thoughts before a school board meeting. The Chairman had cut off the mike. Last night Loren signed up to speak again but after hearing the lulling music from our East high school music students he said he didn’t want to rain on our parade with some of his cup half empty convictions. (my paraphrase)

Loren can be accused of having an axe to grind so his commentary following our meetings in the Reader Weekly might be read with some trepidation. I think they are a welcome addition to school board commentary although I almost took his head off after the last one for taking liberties with some punctuation that compromised an otherwise smart description of the meeting. I look forward to reading his next analysis. As Karl Shuettler suggests at the outset of his blog post our meeting was so pregnant that it could not be summarized “pithily.” Good luck Loren, Karl set a high bar.

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