The school board re-election campaign for four school board seats are revealing a serious flaw with the present school board; none of the board members who represent the black community consulted their districts before making major decisions; that’s terrible.
All four board members who have opponents represent a majority black constituency; during the round of community forums which began early this month, a pattern began to develop: each board member made major decisions by either ignoring or not seeking input from his/her districts.
In the third round of forums, held Tuesday night at the Marbles Recreation Center, incumbents stuck to their rehearsed themes showing new buildings built at Carroll, and Wossman and Wossman’s change of ranking from a D school to an B school.
Each board member carefully stayed away from potential landmines such as the fact that other than Wossman, nearly all Southside schools are failing, it voted for a “unitary school system” which removed federal discrimination protections, expanded the worthless “Tops Career Diploma,” closed Excellence Academy, and voted to spend $16 million to build a new MLK in a flood zone.
The unitary vote was historic because it freed the school system to discriminate against minorities without a court-ordered remedy. It was a gift to would be racists of future generations and removed oversight that has protected blacks for the last 53 years.
Incumbents Daryll Berry, Brenda Shelling, Vickie Dayton, and Brandon “B.J.” Johnson, were all asked whether they consulted with the parents of their district before making major decisions; they all said no.
Now each of them is asking to be returned to the school board to continue doing the same.
The worthless career path diploma was approved by the board unanimously. They didn’t even read the new graduation requirement when they approved it, but an increasing number of poor and minority students are being pushed into the track.
The Tops Tech “Career Path Diploma” is a special education diploma that cannot be used for college, yet the board approved its optional use by linking its graduation policies to the state policies, without reading or discussing its implications.
The board never discussed the negative impact this policy would have on black students. They didn’t even discuss it among themselves.
The board unanimously voted to spend $16 million to relocate MLK to the Wossman area despite protests from residents that it would flood their homes. One board member Brandon Johnson notes that he has attended seminars and conferences about changing trends and knows that the new school will be best for the flood zoned community. He said he did not ask for community input.
Dayton, Johnson, and Shelling voted to close Excellence Academy one day after receiving a report from a “report for hire” company that recommended its closure or working closely with the school to make improvements. With one day’s notice, the board voted to close the school and effectively fire 27 employees and shut down a $10 million investment.
Shelling even said that all the parents she talked to wanted the school open, but of the two options the report she had no choice but to use the option to close the school.
None of the board members said they consulted with the parents, alumni groups or teacher groups in their districts before making crucial about any crucial votes they made.
Now they are seeking re-election so that they can represent the parents and people of their districts in the same way for four more years.
It should not happen.
All of them should be replaced.