September 30, 2003


The White Man: Can David Jennings please inner-city minorities and neo-con legislators? (Britt Robson, 10/01/03, City Pages)

Before becoming the [Minneapolis] school system's chief operating officer two years ago, [David] Jennings, who lives in Burnsville, had been a corporate executive at Schwan's, president of the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, and a Republican Speaker of the House in the Minnesota Legislature. In short, he doesn't exactly fit the traditional mold of an MPS superintendent.

Despite this conservative track record, school board members were unanimously enthusiastic about their decision, and former board members Catherine Shreves and Albert Gallmon (the latter the head of the local NAACP), along with the Star Tribune editorial board, all heartily endorsed the appointment.

So what gives?

Those aboard the Jennings bandwagon believe his corporate and legislative experience make him a formidable opponent of so-called "reformers" who are laying siege to public education at the state and federal levels. It's not far-fetched to regard the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" as an agenda for discrediting and ultimately dismantling public school systems nationwide. Because of this, board members like Audrey Johnson and Dennis Schapiro happily explain the political motives behind their support for the new superintendent. "I think David Jennings has the guts enough to stand up and say this is not right," Johnson says, expressing dismay with new state education standards.

Hey, wait a second, didn't Ted Kennedy take George W. Bush to the cleaners on No Child Left Behind? Wasn't it one of W's key failures?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2003 11:13 PM
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