‘Cheatham was a failure’
Today’s blog excerpts Kaleem Caire’s social media thread in the wake of his letter, co-signed by other local black leaders, expressing disappointment that Matthew Gutierrez of Texas was chosen as new superintendent of Madison WI schools over their preferred candidate, Taylor Eric Thomas of Georgia. Caire expresses frustration over the virulent Progressive Dane/Madison Teachers Inc. faction of Madison progressivism that defeated him for school board last year.
Other signatories were Pastor Marcus Allen, Ray Allen, Ruben Anthony, Pastor Joseph Baring, Carola Gaines, Pastor Alex Gee, Greg Jones, Kirbie Mack, Vanessa McDowell, John Odom, Teresa Sanders and Yolanda Shelton Morris.
Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick is the very woke, Derail the Jail enemy of police in schools, ally of Ali Muldrow, Brandi Grayson, Freedom Inc., et cetera.
Yet another example of how identity politics is roiling education here in Madison and nationwide.
Kaleem Caire — Just because we disagree with the Board of Education’s choice for Superintendent doesn’t mean we are being divisive. If the reference here is referring to perceived division along racial lines because Mr. Gutierrez is Latino and we are Black, well, several Latino leaders who were a part of the same community interview that Madison’s African American pastors arranged (and that I was present for as well) also felt that Dr. Guettierez was not the most qualified finalist candidate for the position.
We also felt that the finalist candidate pool did not yield the caliber of candidate that our school district needs overall. Many of us felt Dr. Thomas was the most qualified candidate; however, some of us preferred that the Board of Education reopen the search process and try again.
Furthermore, the only time many of us were involved in the hiring process was when local black ministers requested that we have the opportunity to meet the finalist candidates. This Board did not come to us. Given our collective experience and background in education in Madison (and some of us nationally), you would think the MMSD Board of Education would have thought to include us in this unprecedented community involved process. If you wonder why we are concerned, read the piece I wrote in last month’s Madison365, this isn’t about Mr. Guettierez’ race. Instead, it is about our concern for the present and future of our children – and yours.
Jeff Spitzer-Resnick — But why take this punch at the new superintendent long after the decision was made? Even if you disagree with the decision, why not welcome him with your wisdom instead of chastising him before he starts?
… I just don’t understand your timing. Believe me, I think the hiring process sucked. But he was chosen unanimously by the most diverse board we’ve ever had. I’m going to wish him the best and I’ll be the first to critique him if he doesn’t t turn this district into a high performing district for all our students. Cheatham was a failure. We can’t have more children’s lives wasted.
Kaleem Caire — Many of your friends have kicked me in my teeth and have called me crazy names for 10 years, even while our children are failing miserably in our city, even as I have been working my tail off to help our children succeed. Where was your bling love for me and appeals for kindness to your friends during all of that?
You have to look no further than my last school board campaign to see how terrible your friends talked about me. So…you are concerned about a letter we send about a person who will be paid $250,000 for a job he sought and in a district where our children are being left further behind decade after decade year, and are suggesting that we give open arms to someone we don’t know and who hasn’t shown himself to be a transformational leader in his previous assignments?
Most of the systemic and large scale educational opportunities that Children of color have had in our city over the last 25 years have had my fingerprints on them. Where is the kindness and where were all the open arms after all of that Jeff? But I don’t get upset about it. I suck it up and keep going. I hope Dr. Guettierez will listen to our dissent and be the type of dynamic, courageous and transformational leader that his resume does not suggest he will be. Our expectations are appropriately very high, as they should be. …
It’s on him to decide what’s next. We will be prepared to offer support if he is willing to bold and transformational.
David Blaska — Kaleem Caire, my friendly acquaintance: You know that I hold you in the highest regard but was puzzled by the timing of this letter. Term papers were due January 31, when the new sooper was selected.
You say you will support the new superintendent “if he is willing to bold and transformational.” It is imperative that you spell out what that would look like.
Gregory J Markle — Concerning the candidate pool. A fair question to ask is: Why didn’t Madison generate a better pool of candidates?