Its been almost a month since the School Board voted 4 – 3 not to enter into negotiations with the Tischer Creek Building Corporation. If I had had my way the community discussion would have been over with last Tuesday at our School Board meeting. Instead it continues after the slam dunk the board majority engineered 4 days after taking public feedback at Lincoln Middle School to stop the conversation before it really began. In this we are not unlike the Egyptians who yesterday protested the nation’s latest elected dictator accusing him of, well, dictatorial rule.
I just linked to NRP for that story but another NPR story was more interesting to me. It is about the connection between spending money and successful schools. It goes back to Massachusetts under one of my favorite Republicans of that era, William Weld. Weld was one of many moderate or liberal Republicans purged by the Limbaughites of the current GOP who only kept the zipped lip moderates who let Donald Trump loose with their sheep-like, Bourgeois complacency. They used to have their own champions and Weld was one of the last of them. Anyway, according to the story, Weld’s education reforms did wonders for Massachusetts’ poor kids. Today’s Minnesota Republicans are more hold the line on public school funding.
The Duluth School Board took it on the chin again today in the Trib. Another front page story about Woodland Hills considering a Charter School demonstrates that a badly discredited ISD 709 fighting the Edison Charters was the best publicity Charter Schools could have hoped for. Woodland Hills is a remarkable school for troubled kids. Bill Westholm and my wife, Claudia, were both on its Board of Directors back when I was first on the Duluth School Board. Local kids end up in its day treatment schooling and juvenile courts all across Minnesota send troubled kids to WH for 9 month stays. Like yesterday’s story about the Arch Diocese contemplating a high school this is one more indication that an all too insular ISD 709 is not meeting expectations. DFT President Burnham may lose another dozen teachers if the Charter goes through.
But it was the Editorial Page that really stung. Its top op ed piece came from an Edison parent who echoed so many 1950’s musicals wishing that the public school systems in Duluth could get along instead of fighting like Bernstein’s Sharks and Jets. Or from Roger’s and Hammerstein, if I can paraphrase, Oh the Charters and the Indies should be friends. In Oklahoma its Farmers and Cowboys but you get my point.
Another Op Ed talked about “little Sally” a student that the teacher’s unions and school boards had all but forgotten about in their war to control the schools.
“See, there’s the problem. This shouldn’t have been about the School Board. It was about Sally. It wasn’t even about what the School Board thinks is best for the children. That’s up to the parents, guardians or protective service. In that order.”
The author went on to praise vouchers but I don’t have it in me to take that up in this post. My Buddy and I have argued over vouchers for a decade or more.
But again its the letters that just won’t stop. This time one heaped shame on some of my colleagues.
Heck the School board censured me a little over a year ago and I didn’t catch nearly as much hell. Not that I’m crowing. My Mom always told me it takes two to have a fight.