Dixon Departure Redux

Here’s the story of the Dixon retirement that we will have to wait till the end of the school year to look forward to. I am, not surprisingly, the “go to” guy to get a less than glowing review of his tenure. A retirement is often like death in that people are reluctant to speak ill of the departed or departing.

I bit my tongue a bit when I was called last night. Had I been given more time to reflect on it I would have mentioned what I mentioned in last night’s post – that Dr. Dixon was getting out of Dodge before the next school board election. That of course, is an indication of what a damaged property he has become. Others will no doubt say of Dr. Dixon what has been said of other folks who are famous or infamous for forcing things down other people’s throats – that it took an exceptional person to hold the funnel over a squirming person’s mouth.

Understanding that the other folks commenting on Dixon had to be “Minnesota nice” I can only take umbrage to the evaluation of teacher union president Frank Wanner.

As a superintendent, Dixon has been in a different category from others, said Frank Wanner, president of the teacher’s union.

“He’s a superintendent that doesn’t always have to have everything his way,” he said. “He’s willing to work with others.”

Frank was essentially defanged in his senescent, final years as the DFT union boss. All the other unions in Duluth demanded to see the Red Plan pushed through and Frank was in no position to hold the Red Plan back no matter its affect on the schools. He spent very little time attending the Red Plan planning meetings which were in any case jerry rigged to sidestep any criticism of JCI’s and Dr. Dixon’s ambitious plans.

As to how happy the Duluth teachers are in the Dixon regime? Perhaps the best indicator of this is their willingness to comment publicly on the Red Plan and the classroom environment. You would have to ask a reporter how willing teachers are to comment candidly about these subjects. I certainly have seen fewer teachers laud the Red Plan. Even Mr. Taylor who criticized dissenting School Board members the other day had to qualify his condemnation by suggesting that whatever the merits their arguments had in the past it was time to shut up and go away. In other words, they may have been right. That’s not much of a condemnation. That would be a little like me slapping the wrist of some old Vietnam war vets for harping on our failure to keep fighting the Vietnam war until we won. Yes, at some time its necessary to look forward and not let the past drag you down. But we are not yet living in the past – the Dixon Past.

Here were two other Trib stories today in the Dixon present that demonstrate that the dragging down under Dixon is still proceeding apace.

The First was the story that proved the promises not to use eminent domain were empty from the outset.

The Second, is an even worse indictment of the Dixon years. An embarrassingly large number of our students are not faring well. Even “white” students in the Duluth schools only enjoy an 80% graduation rate. For years Minnesota has boasted a statewide graduation rate of nearly 90 percent which, of course, includes minorities in the calculation. This graph in today’s paper pretty well sums up the Dixon legacy and explains the consequences of a teacher’s union president allowing his union members to become pawns. Ah but he kept their medical insurance deductibles negligible.

This could have been predicted four years ago when hundreds of unhappy teachers begged to have their email addresses pulled off of Let Duluth Vote’s mailing list lest they face censure or punishment from Dr. Dixon’s PC Gestapo.

About the author