As you noticed Kilroy hasn’t been engaging the school board races in usual style. In the past like others, Kilroy was fixated move on who is backing the candidate more than substance of the candidates themselves. This year I stepped back and looking more at the process and art of running for a school board seat.
As usual school board candidates will tell you what they support or oppose! But the reality is, they tend to focus on what they support like transparency for an example. At the end of the day it all comes down to “votes” and how to get all you can. There is not much debate on the fact that more affluent parents and community members carry the bulk of the vote and many at the poverty level carry the least! Then there is the labor vote that tends to make or break the vote but that isn’t always a given. Board candidates tend to do better when they have a campaign mangers. But I do have a concern that could question the character of a candidate.
The game seems to be get elected first and then work on your agenda once inside. Votes are what make it happen. This year we have concerns with Wilmington city public school students who some feel are being under-served, abandoned, discriminated against and aren’t getting a fair and equitable education.
If a candidate were to be the voice of the underdogs raising concerns about re-segregation via de facto segregation, inequities associated with choice transportation and flaws in the charter school laws that allow discrimination based on lack academic achieve they would alienate those who want to protect the status quo. If any candidate were to promote plans or ideas that could call for addressing feeder-patterns whereas suburban students might be assigned to a city school, their chances of being elected will be null. The only way to counter a vote from the affluent parents whom many are just happy with the way things are, no force busing to the city is to build a serious grassroots campaign among the undeserved and those who are concerned about the disparities that negatively impact city students. Wilmington parents will take to the streets for an injustice inflicted on a teen in Florida but yet stay in their homes as their children are being ignored and in the case of Red Clay aren’t provided with a city middle and high school. From what I see, the Neighborhood Schools Act was designed to accommodate white suburban students.
The best way for a school board candidate to gain the most votes is play-up to the status quo and spit-out shallow concerns about the disparity without making any promises! Arne Duncan and Al Sharpton sang in harmony, “education is the most important civil right issue of this generation”. Yet when it comes to inspiring a civil rights movement to create change on the a school board the community fails to ignite and unite! The city of Wilmington has a fragmented minority voice and no clear voice for the public education needs of the children within. To start a movement to wake a community to stand for their children is near impossible with unity and one voice! I don’t see how any movement based on kissing the white man’s to get elected and than roll-out the black Trojan Horse once elected is going to work! The flip-side is, being a supporter of agendas of the status quo but raising concerns about the minority issues doesn’t show promise! I am going to use Jea Street as an example in this analogy. Jea Street will get up on his soapbox a speak his mind, heart and soul! Kind of like Kilroy but Kilroy gets his fire form folks like Jea! I don’t claim to be the voice for minorities just a voice of concern! Jea with all his fire can’t raise that movement needed to ignite and unite! So where does a school board candidate go who has a passion for civil rights issues with in public education? It all SUCKS!
In a few days the News Journal will share it’s findings via a survey asked of school board candidates. Some of my concerns / issues might be within. I guess we need to be thankful to the News Journal for taking time out of their Jack Markell knee pad tour because, there appears to be no public debates for school board candidates this year.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.