I feel sorry for the lady, I really do. It’s tough to see someone’s closely held belief system come crashing down all around them.
Madison’s school superintendent broke down in tears today (03-20-19) addressing Madison Downtown Rotary.
God knows, Jennifer Cheatham has walked through the valley of disruption. Three of the last six monthly school board meetings have broken down in chaos — the school board and its administrators driven from the meeting auditorium by raucous social justice warriors wielding the race card. Again this Monday (03-18-19), school district leadership retreated behind closed doors. Main topic on the agenda (irony alert): the overly legalistic behavior education plan — a plan that is more cause than symptom.
The school board that can’t keep order at its own meetings? No wonder the school classrooms erupt in chaos. Then again, when you throw your specially trained “positive behavior coach” under the school bus when he tries to restore order, what do you expect? (Reaction to the Whitehorse middle school incident.)
Which must just tear at Dr. Cheatham’s heart because the lady lives and breathes identity politics, repents her white privilege, and focuses Madison’s taxpayer-supported education through the refractive prism of racial equity. As opposed to more productive goals such as personal responsibility and individual achievement.
This noon at Rotary (Blaska and the other school board candidates were invited guests), Jen told how her Chicago-born father “came from nothing.” How her parents instilled in her a love for reading, how she drove 2,000 miles cross country to take her first teaching job in the racially mixed East Bay area of California. Inspiring stuff, and I can believe Jen Cheatham was a wonderful teacher. She is a great speaker, with a sprinkling of humor.
Then she spoiled it. Supt. Cheatham attributed her success to “white privilege.” Not “hard work” or “perseverance”? Not grit and determination? Did her working class parents pay off an admissions coach to get her into college? No. Then why the guilt?
It’s behavior, not race
The Super checked off the appropriate touchy feelies. My notes of her speech show the term “micro-aggressions.”
She told of an African-American mentor at Harvard who told her that female white teachers were “a dime a dozen.” The doctoral candidate apparently internalized that to prove to the professor who controlled her advanced degree that the quaking white girl was as “woke” as any professional grievance monger. (Think Brandi Grayson and Bianca Gomez.)
Dr. Cheatham noted that April 1 marks the sixth anniversary of her hiring here in Madison. The mention had a sense of a valedictory to it.
“This school year has been trying,” she told about 200 Rotarians. “Testing our core values and our commitment.” She confided that she tells her staff at Doyle Administration “It’s been a rough few weeks … it is an honor and a privilege to work with you, especially when the boat is rocking.”
Jen Cheatham broke down a little bit, as she warned her audience she would. Like I say, I do have sympathy. But the lady confuses discipline for racial injustice and our schools are reaping the whirlwind and not from the Orange Man in the White House but from Madison’s perpetually aggrieved agitators.
At the candidate debate
Tuesday evening (03-19-19) Blaska participated in a school board candidate forum sponsored by The Capital Times and the Simpson Street Free Press. It was easily the most professionally run forum we’ve participated in.
For one thing, each of the six candidates got his/her own microphones. The questions were pertinent and unbiased. We got a chance to rebut. We were also asked some personal questions, such as our political heroes: I listed Tommy Thompson and brother Mike Blaska. (If I had more time would have added Winston Churchill, journalist and politician.) The audience was on the small side, about 80 to 100, but very respectful.
We were asked if we would retain Jennifer Cheatham. Blaska responded that the superintendent is only doing the current school board’s bidding. But the noon Rotary meeting made it clear that Jennifer Cheatham is a true believer despite all evidence that Madison schools are teetering on the precipice.
Here’s some clips of Blaska’s comments.