Over the last few days since I voiced my concerns about the poor language being used towards adults by our children and youth in our public schools (and at several school board meetings). I have received mostly positive feedback. However, I have also read comments by people who feel my concern about our children’s poor use of language is overstated, misguided and disrespectful.
Worse, I was referred to as a man who practices “respectability politics” and a “Black leader” who has “turned his back” on Black children and who “can no longer hear this voice [of Black youth], can no longer hear the concerns of the masses, can no longer concern [myself] with Black, often low-income, and poor people because [they] are not speaking the way [I] want them to speak?”
It was interesting reading this from people who clearly know very little if anything about me or my work, but whose children have directly benefited from years of my advocacy, and from specific programs I created or pushed to have established. ….
“As a father of five, I would never let (or condone) my children, or any other young person (or adult), direct hurtful language like that at me or another person without speaking up and correcting them. To see adults clapping for that behavior tonight turned my stomach inside out. I had to get up and leave, and take the mic to say a few words before I left.
“People, what are we thinking and what are we doing? Too many children are cursing out teachers and staff every day in our public schools and we are letting it happen, and making excuses for many children who do it.
“And for those who don’t like what I am saying, you can be mad but you can’t call me racist, and you definitely can’t call me crazy. Many of our young people in our public schools are benefiting directly from my years of hard work, advocacy and programs that I personally fought for and led the creation of. To sit there and hear young people who represent a demographic that I have worked and fought very hard for, for more than 30 years, curse out other people who are trying to help them…it broke my heart and made my heart sink into my stomach.
“Mothers, fathers, educators and community members, we cannot allow this type of poor behavior to continue unabated. We need to tell our young people that attitudes and behaviors like this WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, PERIOD. It’s not good for our children and their future, and it’s not good for our community and our schools. WE CAN ADVOCATE WITH PASSION, RESPECTFULLY. Onward.”
Dylan Brogan is the news reporter of the year so far. The reporter for Madison’s Isthmus publication ripped the bandage off the happy face Jennifer Cheatham puts on Madison’s public schools. He took some hair with it.
Brogan conducted 30 hours of interviews with dozens of Madison educators since, oh, about the April 2 school board election.
For all that, there is nothing new in his May 16 exposé for the weekly Isthmus, “A Rotten Year; Madison teachers report from the classroom.”
The classrooms are in chaos, but we knew that.
Teacher morale is plummeting, but we knew that.
Central administration will throw any teacher under the bus if race is involved, but we knew that.
The densely bureaucratic Behavior Education Plan only greases the school-to-prison pipeline, but we knew that.
We said that teachers are tired of being hit, ignored, taunted, and humiliated. We said that principals have lost control of their schools and teachers of their classrooms. We said a handful of misbehaving students can wreck the learning environment for everyone. We said central administration is interested only in making the numbers work.
Endorsed by Madison’s liberal establishment
A majority of the Madison school board aborted the Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school.
Much more, here