Get to know the School Board candidates: Doug Mann

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On Sept. 9, Minneapolis voters will vote to send six of nine candidates for School Board to the general election on Nov. 4. Three of those six will be elected to at-large seats.

Candidates are listed alphabetically. Address and phone numbers are provided via public filing information; website or email has been provided by the candidate, when applicable.

Carla Bates
Mary Buss
Jill Davis
Thomas Dicks
Sharon Henry-Blythe
Allison Johnson
Lydia Lee
Doug Mann
Kari Reed

Doug Mann
3619 Grand Ave. S.
612-824-8800
dougmann99cs.com
dougmannlnc.com

Mann is a freelance journalist and a licensed practical nurse, trained at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, with 18 years experience. He has been involved in education advocacy with the NAACP and Evelyn Eubanks at the Minneapolis Parents’ Union.

Mann’s top priorities will be reducing the high teacher turnover rate at so-called “under-performing schools” and examining ways to phase out ability-based tracking.

“The achievement gap is an access gap, a gap in access to quality programming,” Mann said, adding that high teacher turnover makes it “impossible to pull together a strong program.”

In addition, Mann sees ability-based tracking piggy-backing on these failures, keeping children — especially minorities — in “under-performing schools” from being taught with best-practices and leaving them stuck with a watered-down curriculum that negates any efforts to help them become “college ready,” as promised by the district’s new strategic plan.

He places much of the blame on the MPS policy of sending layoff notices to more teachers than absolutely necessary — and than are actually fired — each time enrolment predictions f forecast a significant drop in students. Mann said this practice has been going on “for 40-plus years” and keeps many new teachers from staying with the district, particularly in less-affluent schools, because the practice lowers morale.

Mann opposes the 2008 referendum because of what he believes are large-scale problems of mismangagement. “[The School Board has] been selling referendums for 20 years, making the same promises,” he said, but without delivering results because it does not address what he calls the core, “broken” components of the school system.