As you’ll recall, Better Ed was criticized in a FOX 9 News article for “appropriating” or co-opting the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag in our most recent postcard. Interestingly, the Black Lives Matter movement is now celebrating its co-opting of a hashtag from the Mall of America.
That isn't the only irony that has developed since our postcard.
We were accused, because of our whiteness, of not getting enough input from the black community. This accusation is baseless. Additionally, it was proven as nothing more than political gamesmanship when we repeatedly offered to meet with those making the accusations, but they refused to meet.
Finally, after several days of this brouhaha, Rashad Turner, formerly a White Bear Lake School District cultural liaison and professional development facilitator, was willing to represent #BlackLivesMatter and go on AM 1130’s Up and at ‘Em Show with me to discuss Better Ed’s postcard, my whiteness, and how black students are not faring well in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts.
You can listen to the podcast using the links below.
Part 1 Part 2
It was an interesting discussion to say the least, and it spawned even more media coverage and commenting.
Without any evidence presented, Rashad accused me of creating “fear and hatred toward black people” and wanting segregation because Better Ed is pushing for a new education system. And, yet, Rashad claimed that the current education system is racist, is run by whites, is segregated, and that to change things we must change the people in it.
On the bright side, we did agree that the percentage of black students reading at grade level between 2001 and 2014 is terrible.
But when pressed on his solution, Rashad responded with the following: “The solution, Devin, is to keep people like yourselves, who have no clue about the black community, about our struggles, from being in front of our kids teaching.”
At Better Ed, our argument is that if a system has proven unable to educate a significant portion of the population, then we need a new system. That is the current situation in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. They have failed and it is unacceptable to maintain the status quo.
Black students are beating state averages in many public charter and private schools. The schools that are seeing such gains clearly understand the needs and struggles of their students. If we care about black students, indeed all students, why not find ways to have a greater diversity of approaches in education so long as educational rigor is maintained? Why not give parents the $21,000 per student that Minneapolis is spending and let them find the best schools for their children?
Such an argument seems to resonate with many black leaders and parents. The parents have been calling the Capitol demanding change as a result of seeing our postcard. Unfortunately, some of the black leaders who also are calling for change are meeting an ugly reaction from some of the same folks who are attacking Better Ed. While we've received our fair share of name-calling, it turns out that these brave black leaders who want change are being called “Uncle Toms” and other derogatory names. That is also unacceptable.
I was invited on The Ron and Don Show last night (3/25) at 8:30 p.m. to discuss this situation. They themselves, as black leaders, have been on the receiving end of some of these vicious attacks. Much of the interview focuses on Better Ed’s work, what we see as solutions, and why we are trying to help not just black students of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but all students have the opportunity to find the best education.
Here’s some background on the show:
“The Ron and Don Show features co-hosts Don Allen, the editor-in-chief of the Independent Business News Network and Mr. Ronald A. Edwards, host of Black Focus and the author of The Minneapolis Story. Join us every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. (CST) as we examine situations in the Black community with the attempt to create fair and balanced public discourse. Both Edwards and Allen have a long history of investigative reporting. Our goal is to provide listeners with the information they don't get in the local and national mainstream media.”
According to Don Allen, the audience size is over 250,000.
In case you missed this truly engaging discussion, check out the podcast link: The Ron and Don Show.
P.S. In case you missed it, here's the postcard that helped create more momentum for change: