Here Madison schools go again?

Jennifer Cheatham, redux?

In a school district obsessed by identity politics, the three finalists to become the next superintendent of Madison’s public schools fit the bill.

Three supts

Gutierrez, Thomas, Vanden Wyngaard

The finalists are:

•   Matthew Gutierrez, superintendent of a small school district in Seguin, Texas, population 29,000. The Texas schools website gives the district a C grade.

•   George Eric Thomas, deputy superintendent and “chief turnaround officer” for the Georgia State Board of Education, and

•   Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, assistant professor of educational leadership at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York.

The winner of this sweepstakes will be chosen before the end of January. Each will visit Madison for a Day in the District on January 14, 15 and 16, 2020. 

Playing the race card

Comment, respond, what do you thinkAt least one of them should feel right at home in Madison, having accused staff — even the school board — of racism in her previous job. That would be Ms. Vanden Wyngaard. She had been super at Albany, New York’s public schools when, in January 2016, the school board gave her the choice of resigning with a payout or being fired without one. She took the money.

Described in the local news media as the first black woman to lead the district, she used her opening convocation for the new school year the previous September to play the race card:

“I have to admit … I lead an organization influenced by racist principles.” 

Although the address ended on an optimistic note, some say it struck a nerve with faculty and staff, who felt they had been “called out” as racists.

A catalyst was a $215,000 discrepancy between services delivered and billed by a consultant, Dr. Betty Webb Consulting, Inc., of Minneapolis. The consultant advised on “systematic change” and professional development. 

Whistles are being blown

This source reports that Georgia’s state school superintendent has asked for an independent audit of Thomas “for allegations of discrimination, possible conflicts of interest, misuse of state and federal funds, and whistle-blower action by a staff member.”

“This latest development,” reported in late November, “may accelerate his efforts to move on from Georgia.”

For the record, just what is Georgia’s Chief Turnaround Office? Its website says it …

was created to develop and effectively execute an evidence-based model to implement the First Priority Act (House Bill 338) – which aligns to Georgia’s ESSA Plan. This innovative strategy is a comprehensive, coordinated, and coherent approach [Blaska: the three C’s!] to improve outcomes in schools that have been identified as being most in need of assistance.

Got it? 

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Madison schools could have gone bold. Instead they went with three generic School of Education bureaucrats. Think what Kaleem Caire or Tommy Thompson could do with our schools. DPI’s own rules about requiring a doctorate in education is part of the problem. Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald, take notice.

What do YOU think?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in identity politics, Madison schools, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Here Madison schools go again?

  1. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    So the MMSD is seriously considering hiring someone (Thomas), whose office and him personally, are currently under investigation?

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom Paine says:

    PoC —examples to inspire confidence continue, a pace. Bidness as usual.

    Like

  3. A Party of One says:

    Is this the best three available after a nationwide search?
    The word is out on the street: if you have any real capacity to lead a school district, you don’t want to come to Madison.

    Like

  4. Cornelius Gotchberg says:

    “(The AJC) reports that Georgia’s state school superintendent has asked for an independent audit of Thomas ‘for allegations of discrimination…’ ” (bolds mine)

    A Black educational administrator accused of discrimination? Not something one hears of everyday…any day, really; that’s a charge reserved for…um…other demographics.

    Anywho, moot point, (this IS Madison, after all) but had this been a melanin-challenged finalist, their name would have been scrubbed from the list so fast it’d make your head swim.

    But no local follow-up? No seeking comment from Thomas?

    He does appear to have something in common with Racial Equity Coordinator Toriana Pettaway.

    The Gotch

    Like

  5. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    Did you seriously expect Madison’s School Board to be motivated by anything but a mandate to hire a POC, preferably female?

    Like

  6. White Hills says:

    MMSD superintendent is obviously a sinecure. Get rid of it.

    Like

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