The Twin Cities Daily Planet political commentator continues to refer to me as the silent candidate. Lawrence Schumacher’s articles seem to have already decided the election for the 5th district. To set the record straight, I have participated in every School Board Forum since I filed as a school board candidate. Reporting of this nature without a factual assessment is inequitable, as was the actions of the DFL.
The filing date closed June 1st for all individuals interested in running for the Minneapolis School Board. The DFL announced on May 22nd their endorsement for four Minneapolis School Board candidates. Furthermore, the Star Tribune ran an article stating that no school board candidate had lost an election after being endorsed by the DFL for at last 20 years (DFL endorses 4 for Minneapolis school board, 5/22/10). Premature endorsements of this nature discourage other candidates from running and mislead voters into believing the DFL has considered the entire pool of candidates.
This denies the candidates an equitable political process for running for office, and denies the voters an accurate picture of who is running for office. The Star Tribune’s statement is tantamount to saying, “Its no use for any one else to run if he isn’t endorsed by the DFL.” This type of statement certainly misleads voters into believing the DFL knows what’s best for the Minneapolis School District.
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Let’s look at some of the facts regarding our school district that have become a reality over the past 20 years.
- Minneapolis has one of the worst (disgraceful) academic achievement gaps in the nation;
- According to the current superintendent’s data, in 2010 63% of African-Americans students fail to the meet proficiency criteria on the Minnesota state standardized testing;
- African-American students in Minneapolis graduate at a rate of 35%.
Despite these alarming facts, the DFL did not endorse any African American Candidates. We need to concentrate on who is best qualified to make equitable academic achievement a reality. Our community and children are not best served by political party endorsement for our school board leaders.Voters should vote for candidates based on merit, not according to political party affiliation or uninformed political endorsements. Minneapolis students deserve educational leaders who possess an understanding of our school system based on educational experience and belief that all children can learn in our schools.
John Saulsberry Ed.S.
5th District Minneapolis School Board Candidate