David Blaska began his candidacy for Madison school board
to open up a long-needed debate. My message is that we help no one by playing identity politics at the expense of expecting
behavior and performance of all our students
Some of the candidates for Madison school board are promising more African-American teachers. Blaska says “go for it!” I’m full on board!
But let’s not blow smoke at the voters. 1) It is illegal discrimination to base hiring on race; 2) the available pool of African-American teachers is not deep — only 7% of public school teachers nationwide. Madison teachers are caring professionals just jones-ing to help EVERYONE succeed.
I’ve selected some of the more relevant comments posted at my BlaskaForSaferSchools Facebook page. We start with:
Ricky Naylor — You idiots are going to extremes! How would white people feel if all of their kids were taught by 80 to 90 percent of teachers of color? The point isn’t against white teachers teaching black students! It’s about diversity and inclusion! What job are they going to go to that is consistently white? Who can teach them about their culture?
White dominated teaching staffs have consistently had no expectations for students of color! And besides white students need teachers of color too so they won’t grow up thinking most black men are dangerous and commit crimes! It’s time to listen to these students and design schools that best help them to achieve! The current system isn’t working for students of color!
Reeves Smith — I am Black. Actually my birth certificate says “negro.” I taught 27 years in the Madison School System. I am trying to understand [another poster’s] point about what skin color has to do with who teaches what to whom? Is it just children of color that need to be taught by someone who looks like them or does that apply to White children as well? If that is your point, then why did people go to all the blood, sweat and toil to integrate the schools in the first place?
Judith Egyes — If there is one phrase that I wish would be erased from the popular-cultural lexicon, it’s “white privilege.”
It’s universally insulting and inaccurate. It’s insulting to people-of-color and white people alike, that succeed in life on their own merits. It’s woefully inaccurate and insulting when finances come into play, when poor whites are shoved to the back of every public-Assistance line on the assumption that they don’t belong there — that they SHOULD be able to make it on their own, because after all, they’re white! While somehow, their counterparts of color deserve the help more because they can’t help but be helpless in terms of rising above their own challenges.
Richard V. Brown Sr.
I have always respected David’s ability to listen to reason. He has always supported hard work and dedication to service. I consider him my friend and I support his candidacy for School Board. He is a good and fair man who will govern based on reason, not race
Mike Maxwell — My 34 years as a teacher in public schools that had Behavioral Disorder programs tell me that Mr. Blaska is absolutely correct.
Laurie Peterson — This new disciplinary rule has helped create a lot of chaos. From a friend of mine, a custodian at one of our elementary schools, “the kids can hit, kick, spit at teachers, yell and push them up against lockers, and there is nothing the teachers can do about it.” This is not racial. It is policy that will affect anyone of any color who wants to behave this way. You can show up at class 10 minutes before the class is over and not be counted absent. These are the life skills being taught due to our downtown administration. All I know is that you couldn’t pay me enough to teach in this climate. Mr. Blaska does not necessarily have my vote. I just wanted to state what I have heard. I encourage anyone ANYONE to spend one full day at any of our schools.
Brandy Larson — As a fully trained and licensed teacher working as a substitute, I had my glasses broken, … had tires of my car in the parking lot at La Follette slashed …. One kid threw a book at me, that wasn’t reported either. One kid threw chair across the classroom, not sure what the consequences were for that, though he was removed from the classroom. I don’t know the answer to the problem of children acting out is, but disrespect is something that needs to be dealt with so teachers can teach and students can learn in school free of threatening, disruptive behavior.
Joe Vitale — I’m with you David ! Again just ask a school bus driver or a school bus attendant what kind of words come out of there mouths and how they behave way out of aline. They can’t keep drivers & attendants it’s so bad !
Hildegard Andrea Wagner — Dave, you have my vote. I’m tired of my kids being assaulted at school. I’ve had my kids assaulted out of the blue at every single Madison school they have attended, by chronically aggressive kids. The MMSD school board gaslights every single one of us who expresses concern about the ongoing chronic disruptions going on.
Blaska leaves the final word to William Fuller — “I taught in MMSD for 30 yrs and race was never an issue with my approach to my students.”