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Reply to Dennis Shapiro
Subj: Re: [Mpls] many posts on schools
Date: 11/5/2001 5:10:59 PM Central Standard Time
Here I will respond to two issues addressed by Dennis Shapiro. Relevant passages from Mr. Shapiro's comments are pasted to this e-mail in their entirety.
In a message dated 11/5/2001 12:20:40 PM Central Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
> 5. A final (more journalist than candidate) question for Mr. Mann
> You seem comfortable serving as Evelyn Eubanks' spokesperson
> and you seem genuinely outraged that the Strib did not
> endorse her. Would you be willing to offer some insight into
> why she did not respond to interview requests from either
> news or editorial at the Strib or a similar request for the
> Southwest Journal voters' guide. Is this a principled
> statement of disdain for the agendas of these publications,
> an example of time management issues or something else?
Mr. Shapiro says that Evelyn Eubanks did not respond to interview requests from either the Star-Tribune or a similar request from the Southwest Journal voters guide. Not true. According to Strib reporter Allie Shah, Evelyn declined to interview and offered to respond to interview questions in writing. Ms. Eubanks supplied written responses to interview questions [see the article by Shah in the October 29 Star-Tribune].
Where did Mr. Shapiro get his story about the Southwest Journal voters guide? Did he contact Evelyn Eubanks? The SW Journal reporter? Did it occur to Mr. Shapiro that Ms. Eubanks missed the deadline for supplying material for the SW Journal voters guide? Shoot first, ask questions later: Is that what we can expect from Mr. Shapiro as a school board director?
How did Mr. Shapiro get the impression that I seemed genuinely outraged about the Strib not endorsing Evelyn Eubanks? This is what I said about the Strib endorsement [from "K-12 schools and the Strib's Agenda."] :
It's not surprising that the Strib editors endorsed Dennis Shapiro. His
campaign philosophy nicely complements the Strib's propaganda. The Strib
likes to quote people who have nice things to say about the schools, such as
"the schools are doing a pretty good job," "the schools are making progress,"
and so forth. It's the kids, the parents and the black community that don't
have their act together. That's the Strib's line. If you don't toe it,
don't expect sympathetic coverage, or an endorsement, from the Strib.
> 3. Fixing kids
> Mr. Mann also suggested that my approach is to fix kids and
> communities of color rather than schools. That is
> inaccurate, but it is in the range of generally acceptable
> campaign hyperbole. I respond, in a similar mode, that if
> his position is that we should countenance abuse, neglect,
> poverty, instability, inadequate medical and mental health
> services and unsafe neighborhoods, and then say, "OK,
> schools, you're the reason these kids struggle because you
> don't do enough phonics," then he has, in fact, pointed out
> a fundamental difference between his take and mine.
Why put words in my mouth? Why not quote a passage from something I've written?
Mr. Shapiro not only distorts my position, he attributes to me a position that I never articulated.
It is my view that most of the academic achievement gap between white and black students, and between poor and non-poor students, can be eliminated by fixing the schools. In my opinion, some of the problems that need to be fixed are incoherent curriculum, ability-grouping, and a high concentration of inexperienced teachers in schools that serve poor neighborhoods.
I have stated that part of the achievement gap, a minor part, can be explained by extra-school factors, such as poverty, mobility, family discord, and so forth; and that a strategy to reduce the gap that is based on such extra-school factors is bound to fail.
Mr. Shapiro apparently disagrees. That's OK. However, the line of argumentation that he uses is not OK. It is intellectually dishonest.
Don't believe what Mr. Shapiro says about my views. Read my platform for school change, which can be found at my web site, <http://educationright.tripod.com>
And vote for Evelyn Eubanks tomorrow.
-Doug Mann, King Field