There are problems in River City, and again, the source as always is education. The Minneapolis Public Schools District in recent years has seen an explosion of success, growth and positivity. Ninety-eight percent of student-athletes in Minneapolis public schools have been graduating.
This has been led by the remarkable comeback of success at North High School. With state championships in both football and basketball, North’s student-athletes are beaming with confidence and success. Edison is also dominating, winning girls’ track and field titles three years running. Brent McNeal is doing another solid job as athletic director.
Years ago I remember a Black local politician saying, “That North High School should be burned down.” He was not re-elected, thank God.
Two of the most successful, driven, educated and passionate people I know are North’s Athletics Director Dr. Leo Lewis and Minneapolis District Director Trent Tucker. Both have become targets of this foundation of abuse, bias and anger by leaders of the Minneapolis Public Schools system.
Suddenly they want to change the so-called structure of leadership. Why? Because our kids are graduating and getting scholarships to college thanks to Tucker and Lewis, both educated and armed with athletic backgrounds and endless contacts at the University of Minnesota, professionally in the NBA, New York, Chicago, the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings.
They have used their devotion to community to grow the system and are being punished unfairly. What surprises me is how our community sits by and does nothing. Not yet a peep out of the Urban League or NAACP or Black Lives Matter.
Lewis was placed on administrative leave two and half months ago for no reason and told not to talk publicly about it. He apparently reported that $400 was missing from a recent North sporting event. The virtually all-Caucasian Minneapolis Public Schools Board has used Keith Brooks to undermine the progress of both Lewis and Tucker.
What these two men have done since 2014 is nothing short of a miracle. They’ve increased graduation rates for student-athletes, increased community partnerships, grants and donations, plus seen to the remodeling of high school fitness centers.
In 2015-16, how about 659 of 666 seniors who participated in Minneapolis athletics graduated. Longtime Southwest High School AD Ryan Lamberty was recently also placed on administrative leave. Apparently, several Southwest Black students and parents accused him of inappropriate behavior and bias.
Tucker was not used to walk Lewis out the door. However, he was asked to deal with Lamberty. Tucker, sensing conflicting administration fairness, resigned two weeks ago.
I’ve been told that this is the brainchild of two rogue school board members. Rebecca Gagnon and KerryJo Felder, using the delusional Brooks to do the dirty work. So far no due process and no follow-up from the union while the board forces Lewis to remain silent on their gag order.
This is no more than a public lynching on the character of a Ph.D. – Dr. Lewis. Tucker left because he could smell a rat. We are being hoodwinked.
The public school system wants to give the appearance of fairness because Lamberty is White and Lewis is Black. The school district is allegedly $33 million in deficit for 2018-19. Seriously? Tucker and Lewis clearly don’t make that kind of money.
This is nothing short of bush-league Minnesota Nice again. They are urinating on Lewis and Tucker while telling the public it’s raining.