Some leaders put personal agendas ahead of community interests

By Booker T Hodges
Contributing Writer

It’s time for them to go

The recent talk about closing North High has revealed a troubling division within the leadership of our community, one that has been in existence for a long time. The division that I am speaking of is that between those who put their personal agendas in front of the needs of the community versus those who put the needs of the community in front of their personal agendas.

When doing community work, everyone has a personal agenda, including me; but I never put my agenda in front of the community. Now, it will come as no surprise that everyone who does community work does not feel the same as I do. It will also come as no surprise that some of those who support the closing of North High and other schools in North Minneapolis are doing so for personal gain.

A few years ago, a certain leadership group that was discussed in some of my previous columns — which I will not name, since it does not exist according to the State of Minnesota — wanted to bring a charter school to a local church.

When that failed, they retreated to a local alternative school.

When that form of educating our children came under attack from former Minneapolis Superintendent Dr. Bill Green, they backed the candidate to replace him who promised not to cut the funding for alternative schools from the school district’s budget. After the person they backed to replace Dr. Green was selected for the job, they worked with the new administration to outsource the education of North Minneapolis children.

This group of personal-agenda-first community opportunists, a public-education-hating elected City official, and a money-grabbing, mostly-editorial community newspaper publisher are working together to outsource the education of North Minneapolis children. This group wanted to close North High and bring in a charter school to replace it, all the while getting paid, of course.

When the closing of North High was met with such a large community outcry, this group, along with the current Minneapolis superintendent, moved to close Cityview, another Northside school, with the hopes of bringing their charter school there.

This group is bent on the outsourcing of the education of our children. Why would they want to do this? Well, the answer is simple: money. They would act as consultants, school deans, and hold other positions that would fill their pockets.

The unfortunate part and dangerous aspect of all this is that this group, which is usually extremely boisterous, is now silent. They are being silent because they do not want to reveal themselves and their intentions. I will list the members of this group in due time. I know that the community will not let them get away with what they are trying to do.

I don’t understand why there is so much hate for North Minneapolis. The superintendent stated that she wanted to close North because the district could no longer provide an equal education for the students there. I ask what makes schools over North different from schools over South.

Why can you provide “equal education” for South and not over North? To me, it seems as though this issue is as basic as Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954.

I can assure you that the NAACP is in the process of considering a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Public Schools District for discriminating against the children of North Minneapolis by intentionally and deliberately providing unequal education to the residents of North Minneapolis. So I say to this group, don’t count your money yet.

I also say to this group, you should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s time for you to go, and in due time your identities will be revealed, but I am sure my readers can guess who you are.

Recently a report was released indicating that Minneapolis has had severe disparities in its contracts. I say this should come as no surprise to people, and I would like to say that fellow columnist Ron Edwards was right. No one has been speaking about this issue more than Ron over the past couple of decades.

The same group of people who are trying to outsource the education of North Minneapolis children have attempted to marginalize Ron over the years in regards to this issue in order to fatten their pockets. So, now that we know what the City of Minneapolis has been doing, what are we going to do about it?

In closing, I just want people to know that there is a group of community opportunists who are working in concert with a public-education-hating elected City official and a money-grabbing, mostly-editorial community newspaper publisher to outsource the education of our children in order to line their pockets.

What else is new?

Booker T Hodges welcomes reader responses to bhodges@spokesman-recorder.com.