The Trib has it all wrong. Alanna took a huge problem and got it fixed. As our Superintendent often says first you go to the person in charge then to their supervisor and up until you get to the Superintendent, or was it Go to the Superintendent and don’t scare the lower level administrators? I think school board members have been directed to do it both ways. The fact is that Alanna went up the chain of command without satisfaction and then kept going all the way to the Commissioner of Education until her problem and ours was solved. Case closed. If that’s the Tribune’s idea of a trouble maker I’m at a loss.
I’ve explained before that Alanna was a student of mine at Morgan Park. That was 1986 my second to last year as a Duluth School teacher but I had lost track of her. When reintroduced I fondly recalled her whole seventh grade class. It was wonderful group of kids and Alanna was the cream of the crop.
If you look at today’s candidate profiles for the school board primary you will see that Alanna has an impressive record of participation in her children’s schools far more than most other members of this year’s crop of candidates. But her credentials are not just recognized in Duluth. Another reason for the MDE’s alacrity was Alanna’s sterling reputation in Roseville where the MDE is headquartered. Com missioner Casselius had only to talk to her MDE staff to learn that they hold her in high regard. At Alanna’s invitation, I drove down with her to one of the MDE statewide committees, Title One that Alanna serves on. She was greeted like an old friend by many of the staff. Although Alanna has been frozen out of a job in Duluth I’m certain that the MDE would snap her up in a heartbeat if she moved to the Twin Cities.
But remember what we were told by the Tribune’s editors, “Oswald is the mother of two and a former teacher…her involvement can leave voters concerned that she [will exploit] problems rather than solving them.” Well, according to the Tribune this was one big problem and Alanna solved it. In fact, it was more than just making sure we taught all the state mandated subjects. It was making sure we taught subject according to current law something we stopped staying on top of when Dixon gutted the curriculum department ten years ago.
Today as a result of Alanna’s brave insistence that we do things right we are doing things right. All of our course work has been or is being “aligned” to state standards. We have a delightful new Director of Curriculum Dr. Mike Cary who has received many accolades for this skill in bringing Duluth around. Mike humbly says the work has been accomplished by his staff and many Duluth teachers. They all deserve our thanks and so does Alanna Oswald a Mother who would not let her child be short changed.
How could the editors of the Duluth News Tribune have missed all this? Well maybe there is one other explanation for That editorial. Just possibly some District sources trooped into Chuck’s offices, just as they have done so often before, to tell the editors that Alanna Oswald is a trouble maker. If so, we could use a lot more of them.