Op-ed by Howard Eagle –
That’s right, I’m referring to City Newspaper’s so-called ‘Highlights from an early summer primary‘, as representing “journalistic”-trash, which are very strong words, and which I should either be able to validate, or I should apologize. So, examine my critique (below), and you decide whether or not I owe the three different “news” reporters (truly amazing) who compiled the article an apology, or not.
The very first fact that should be emphasized is super-“low 14 percent Democratic [voter] turnout,” which City pundits attempted to minimize by, for no logically or relevant reason, mentioning that it “was slightly higher than four years ago”. How pitiful is that? Next, let’s be clear that the majority of those who did turnout to vote were mainly middle and upper class white folks who would not dream of sending their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. to Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools, period. So, most have no skin in the game. The 86% (the overwhelming majority of whom are poor and Black, and have the most skin in the game) stayed home, as usual.
As noted, “voters returned incumbents Beatriz LeBron (whom many believe is devilish) and Willa Powell (the 20-plus-years-know-nothing, or at least, know-little about urban, public education)
and elected newcomers Amy Maloy and Ricardo Adams”—all of whom are recipients of benefits that flowed from thousands upon thousands of dollars spent by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Rochester Teachers Association (RTA), and other racist unions, in order to ensure victory of the so-called Powell Adams LeBron Maloy Slate. They are all definitely beholding to the man who many refer to as ‘the real RCSD superintendent,’ Mister Adam Urbanski.
Now here’s where their “journalistic”-rubish starts to get really yellowish and trashy. They claim that “it’s hard to draw an overarching conclusion”\.Really? Well it was quite easy for me to do so. The bottom line is that old, entrenched, status-quo-based, white, minority-rule, continues firmly intact in slave-town-U.S.A. Additionally, they actually had the intestinal fortitude, raw audacity, unmitigated gall to attempt to convince you and me that “the election results don’t seem to indicate a particular dissatisfaction with the school board.” They have got to be kidding. A full 86% of the electorate did not bother to show up (as most haven’t for decades). Yet, “the election results don’t seem to indicate a particular dissatisfaction with the school board?” WHAT? Even in the face of clear reality, the pundits still tried to make the case that “people did care enough about the district and the school board to show up and vote.” Well, we know (for sure) which “people” they’re talking about (the mainly white, middle and upper class minority-majority; along with some middle and upper class Blacks and other people of color, many of whom exhibit “Negropean” tendencies, and therefore (obviously) vote similar to, or just like their white counterparts, and a smattering of ordinary poor and working people. The fact that “the top vote-getters were incumbents LeBron and Powell” is an absolute affirmation that old, deeply-entrenched status-quo reigns.
It’s very interesting, if not amazing that three different journalists (collectively) can’t keep the story straight. For example, they claimed that “Anthony Hall and Robert Hoggard campaigned independently,” but those of us who were on the ground know that Hall and Hoggard were supposedly part of a slate that included Lebron and Adams. Thus, two were used solely to siphon off votes, and the other two were anointed by RTA’s racist ‘czar,’ along with two white women (one of whom has presided over chaos and dysfunction for more than two decades). Yes, that’s really what happened.
Not only is their political ineptness, less than stellar research skills, and hegemonic tendencies on full display, but they are actually distorting the truth. For example they claimed that Rochester Board of Education Commissioner Judith Davis “abdicated one of her most important jobs as a board member, refusing to take part in the selection of a new superintendent because she disagreed with the process.” That’s a straight-up distorted, convoluted, conflated, twisted lie. She did in fact participate in all of the initial interviews, and definitely voted, but at the same time, she also publicly criticized the exclusionary (of parents, families and community), illegitimate, rigged process, which has absolutely nothing to do with so-called “abdicating” anything at all. Instead, the pundits obviously do not recognize critically important, necessary interruption of the entrenched status-quo when they see it. Perhaps that’s because they are such a vital part of it.
They tried to make a big deal out of the fact that “the current board has already committed to the professional development that Aquino recommended.” Yet they had nothing to say about the specific nature of what was, and was not recommended and why, e.g., one of Dr. Aquino’s most important findings is that “the Board acknowledges that there is a need to minimize the underlying racial tension that exists among the group and has engaged in two retreats to begin to address these issues” (Finding #4, p.16). However, one of the few shortfalls of the Report is that it contains no specific recommendations for conclusively addressing/resolving this fundamentally vital issue, which we can be certain did not get resolved via two so-called “retreats.” In the final analysis, the journalistic-pundits are merely spewing status-quo-supporting rhetoric.
Lastly, they claim that “if the June and August graduation rates continue to improve, and parents and teachers like what they see in new superintendent Terry Dade, voters may be reluctant to support the [State] takeover.” It’s most interesting that they would mention “graduation rates” and “new superintendent Terry Dade” in the same sentence, especially when considering that Superintendent Dade expressed to members of our Coalition (https://www.facebook.com/tidpc/) when we met with him on June 26th that he has been wondering about something that we believe is very, very important; something that we have also pondered for years. “How can we have a 60% graduation rate when proficiency rates are in the low teens?” Is anyone willing to try to provide a credible, rational, informed, valid answer? Don’t ask the pundits because they are guaranteed to steer you wrong.
Howard Eagle is a longtime educator and local anti-racism advocate, known for his campaigns for the Rochester school board and prolific political and social commentary. Eagle taught social studies in the RCSD for 23 years, before retiring in 2010, and is now an adjunct professor in the Department of African American Studies at SUNY Brockport.