Submitted by John Alessio.
I want to thank those who took the time to read, and comment on, my October 16 letter in The Suburban Times. There were a number of positive comments. But as I predicted, Schafer’s attackers came out in full force. The depth of ignorrance displayed about CRT and matters related to equity would be humorous if it wasn’t so harmful to so many people and our municipal resources. We see multi-million dollar civil rights lawsuits being settled routinely now, including locally.
But one comment did make me smile. It was the reference to my letter as a “diatribe.” This was from a fellow who has written meaningless essay after meaningless essay – several in the last few months — attacking Dr. Schafer and the Clover Park Schools. To add to the humor of that comment, he frantically added five additional separate comments to his existing long list of ….. “diatribes”??. And, yes, I did read his 14 totally made-up uninformed claims about CRT. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I have actually read all of his and his comrads attacks, and their made-up arguments over the last few months. That is why I wrote my letter.
Today I want to discuss something that is very serious – David Anderson’s competency. We have been told by Schafer’s attackers that they spent a lot of time finding the right person to run against Dr. Schafer. So, who did they find? Some of the comments following my letter have given us a glimpse of his extremist views on issues like LGBTQ, and race. Like some of his supporters, Anderson has many posts in the Suburban Times, often poorly written and nonsensical – and, yes, he wants to be the SCHOOL BOARD President.
Here is one of Anderson’s striking “contributions.” He read an article about the compulsory work program of Dictator Paul Kagame of Rwanda, which is a public works/service program for everyone in that country. Anderson, however, wants to apply Kagame’s program specifically and only to homeless people here in the United States (Letter: Sweet dreams – the value of work – The Suburban Times (thesubtimes.com)). So, it isn’t really a public service in which everyone participates, but a punitive harassment of the already down and out. Of course, he claims it will be good for them – just as his supporters believe punishment is good for struggling students. I believe the term one of his supporters used in reference to students was “…crack the whip.” I doubt Anderson would think his forced labor program was a good idea if he, himself, were homeless. This is not a passing idea of Anderson’s. He has published at least two other posts dealing with this subject. He has really put a lot of “thought” into this.
Homelessness is a very complicated matter, involving mental problems, hard luck unemployment circumstances, losses of family and loved ones, addictions, affordable housing unavailability, PTSD and more. There are many problems with Mr. Anderson’s forced labor proposal on homelessness, but one that stands out is that a large percentage of homeless people are veterans. In 2009, 40% of the male homeless population were veterans, and many of them long-term servicemen (Microsoft Word – Homeless veterans-09.doc (nationalhomeless.org)). They have already served their country, and many have related disabilities. Mr. Anderson wants to violate their constitutional rights and humiliate them by forcing them to work picking up garbage along the highways and streets. Fortunately, Mr. Anderson is not in charge of fixing homelessness, or anything else for that matter. He has no idea what he is writing about.
Since 2009, veteran homelessness has been dramatically reduced with a special targeted government program that may eventually be applied to all homeless people. Needless to say, forced labor is not part of that program (5 Key Facts About Homeless Veterans – National Alliance to End Homelessness). Mr. Anderson is quick to FORCE homeless people to work, while claiming to be a champion of people’s constitutional rights. He speaks out for landlords’ constitutional rights – why not homeless people? Perhaps it is because homeless people don’t support his candidacy and a landlord does. A school board president is supposed to be a community leader, someone others can look to for sound ideas and problem solving. Is unconstitutional forced labor a sound idea? Is that a realistic solution to the problem of homelessness?
I raise one final issue for today. Has David Anderson told us how he is going to raise the average test scores that he and his supporters pretend to be so concerned about? No, he hasn’t. And that is because he doesn’t have a clue as to why the scores are what they are. Neither do his supporters, including the one currently sitting on the school board. Average test scores tell us nothing about each individual student’s success, and that is what we are concerned about. Where has a student been, where are they now, and what are their chances of success with and without a degree? Comparative average test scores tell us more about demographics, population homogeneity, and resources than they do about the qualifications of teachers or a school board president. This political takeover is not about improving schools. It is about a national movement of white extremists re-consolidating their power. School board races, and many other local races, have become manifestations of that movement. I don’t want to be a part of that and I hope you don’t either. We want challenging elections, but with honest arguments and for the right reasons. And we want the people who run for office to be reasonable and competent.