Speaking of advocates for Western Duluth

I didn’t link to this News Tribune story yesterday about the confab called together by Rep. Erik Simonson. I did comment on it however mostly to grouse that no one in our District told me about it or invited me to attend.

The meeting came about because of Simonson’s concern for the western schools particularly Denfeld which is threatened with further student enrollment declines when Edison opens its new high school. I’ve heard some folks including former Superintendent Mark Myles who seem to think that Rep. Simonson is opposed to Edison based on his earlier commentary in his: June 5th column in the Budgeteer. That’s not true.

Instead Simonson is simply being proactive in wanting to anticipate the consecuences of this new school. I agree with him and I say that as a founder of Edison, the father of a daughter who works there and a grandfather of two Edison enrollees. What I’m terribly disappointed in is our District’s inattention to the school. It treats the very real presence of Edison as a distraction it can ignore to its own peril.

I’ve had seven years of move Duluth forward and I’m pretty tired of it. Its become another way of saying “ignorance is bliss.” If I hadn’t been caught up in the vendetta against Art Johnston I would have been pushing for embassies to Edison to ask what we could do to forestall the building of a high school. Now its too late.

Meanwhile we are left with a huge need to bolster Denfeld with its enrollment that is nearing half what East High School has and its ability to offer an equitable curriculum shrinking. That concern is reinforced as it is every year with the publishing of its student test results in today’s trib story.

All three of the at large candidates seem to be serious about Denfeld’s challenges. But I’ll need more than one friendly at-large board member to join the school board. That will put Art and me in a minority of three with the possibility of two new board members under the influence of today’s Board majority. I sure hope Denfeld parents wake up and ask all our candidates some serious questions before the general election. I hope East parents do the same. Otherwise we will end up with a reprise of the 1967 Kerner Commission report which warned that “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white–separate and unequal.” Just substitute the word “Duluth” for Kerner’s “the Nation” to imagine what the city’s division at Lake Avenue will look like.

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