Commentary

For the Sake of Our Children: Community members must show up at school district events

It was a party! It included McGruff, balloons, giveaways, which included free backpacks, free books, free posters, free picture frames, free frisbees and free food. It was the great Back to School Rally at Boom Island to celebrate an exciting year of learning in Minneapolis Public Schools. New superintendent Thandiwe Pebbles stayed four hours to greet, meet and let families know that a tremendous amount learning was going to happen in the Minneapolis Public Schools and that the responsibility for this learning belonged to all of us. It was a party! It included McGruff, balloons, giveaways, which included free backpacks, free books, free posters, free picture frames, free frisbees and free food. It was the great Back to School Rally at Boom Island to celebrate an exciting year of learning in Minneapolis Public Schools. New superintendent Thandiwe Pebbles stayed four hours to greet, meet and let families know that a tremendous amount learning was going to happen in the Minneapolis Public Schools and that the responsibility for this learning belonged to all of us. It belonged to the teachers who are responsible for developing as many strategies necessary to assure that all children learn. It is the responsibility of families to make sure that our children get enough sleep at night, arrive at school on time and do their homework so that they can perfect their academics.

Mayor R.T. Rybak was there; City Council members were present, school board members appeared, even the fire department came to show off there big, red, shiny fire trucks. Guess who was missing? The African American community! Our presence was not there. What happened?

Many Black voices were loud when they proclaimed that they didn’t want David Jennings as superintendent. Many have praised the choice of Peebles as superintendent. Editorials and commentaries have been written commending the Board of Education and declaring that they finally made a choice that would help to make a positive difference for African American children in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Yet when she invited us to come and celebrate the learning of our children for the 2004-05 school year, we didn’t show up.

The majority news service, The StarTribune, seems to be sending a message to the superintendent that she should not expect much support from our community. They did not announce the rally or cover it in their paper. It was more important for them to inform the public how the Minnesota State Fair was short of workers because the schools are starting before Labor Day; instead of letting its readers know that the superintendent had a one-of-a-kind rally for families; encouraging everyone to have a successful school year. If the superintendent cannot depend on the African American community to support her leadership, then who can she depend on?

The African American community in Minneapolis has to do better. It is not enough paying lip service to better education for our children, we have to stand up and be counted. We have to come to school board meetings, we have to go to parent-teacher conferences, we have to show the new superintendent that we are dependable, that we will be there to celebrate the successes and work when there are difficulties. There are no in-betweens.

September 1, 2004
ABOUT INSIGHT NEWS
The Journal For Community News, Business and The Arts serving the African American community in Minneapolis-St.Paul. Available on news stands and online at insightnews.com.
INSIGHT NEWS

1815 Bryant Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411
insightnews.com
(612) 588-1313

ADVERTISING

Download our Media Kit (PDF file, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Newspaper Deadlines
-Classified: Ad inquiries due one week prior to run date Wednesday
-Display: Space reservation due one week prior to run date and material due Wednesday the week prior to run date.
-Insight News print edition is published weekly on Mondays

For more information call: 612.588.1313

CONVERSATiONS W/ AL MCFARLANE