Dear Superintendant Silva

To:  Valeria Silva, Superintendant, Saint Paul Public Schools
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  How You Can Superintendantsplain Things To Your Black Students

Superintendant Silva,

In the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson Grand Jury release, you tweeted:

No indictment for officer Wilson!  Very sad day in America.  How do I explain this to my black students? 

I’m here to help.  You can start by explaining to them…:

  1. The reasons Saint Paul – despite spending more money per student than almost every district in the state – continues to have among the worst black student achievement gaps in the country.  Worse even than other urban toilets like Detroit or Philadelphia. 
  2. You can explain why it is you support the current school board, which – being elected city-wide rather than by ward, is thus under the complete control of the DFL vote machine, and thus represents the wishes and whims of the city’s Crocus Hill DFL elite; lots of gnashing of teeth about multiculturalism and the morality of Junior ROTC, and absolutely nothing about pulling “your black students” up.  You could explain why you aren’t actively working to return the school board to a ward-based system. 
  3. You can explain to them, maybe, that while there are bad cops, there is also nothing in the world more stupid and unpredictable than an 18 year old boy, and that even if a cop is bad (and I’m not saying Office Wilson was), provoking them is a really really bad plan. 
  4. Explain that rioting is a good way to get a good chunk of society to swing from “middling to sympathetic” to “loading up with birdshot and walking their sidewalks with their neighbors”. 
  5. Perhaps you should explain the reasons that Saint Paul shouldn’t follow New Orleans’ lead, shut down the public school system, and go all charter? Because the African-American community in NOLA – much bigger than in Saint Paull, btw – is doing much better since they did exactly that. Three reasons will do.

Let me know if you need more help.  Being a public bureaucrat, I’m sure you rarely have to deal with the actual public.

10 thoughts on “Dear Superintendant Silva

  1. Mitch, you’re judging St. Paul schools’ success by the wrong metric.

    St. Paul may not teach logical reasoning in the schools, but the rhetorical grievence-mongering curriculum is outstanding. Stop testing reading and math skills, start testing students’ ability to recognize dog-whistles of racism, and you’ll see student scores sky-rocket. Students are learning what they’re taught, we’re just not testing for it.

    And yes, I’d give Supt. Silva full credit for the results.

  2. Mitch:

    I would’ve written:

    Valeria you should’ve written since I don’t understand how the justice system works I’m resigning as the super of the Saint Paul School District.

    After all I can’t explanin that there is this thing called a grand jury which looks at all of the evidence (which they did) and maje judgements on if a person should be charged with a crime.

    After all I can’t explain that the grand jurors were able to determine that witnesses had lied when they claimed that officier willison shot Mr. Brown in the back.

    After all I can’t explain that hey you shouldn’t rob a store and be very mean to a police officer if he or she stops you.

    So since I’m not qualified to be the super I’m resigning my position.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  3. You would obviously fail New Civics Mitch. Who is indicted and who is not has nothing to do with guilt, innocence, or evidence. Our new legal system is based upon the feelings of the masses.

  4. My take is that she could simply deal with #3. The grand jury obviously found that Michael Brown’s actions were consistent with assault with probable intent to kill. Hence anyone at the receiving end of his punches would be entitled to use lethal force–at least if they couldn’t reasonably retreat.

    And if teachers aren’t teaching this–especially to their large, athletic, male students–they are derelict. And maybe combine it with the failure to teach those same students to…

  5. JPMM:

    The super is a member of the masses who wanted and expected criminal charges not to mention see Officer Wilson perp walked. The fact that it worked right in this case shows the feeling of the masses didn’t play a role in the decision.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  6. The logical part of me that looked at the evidence presented said that anyone with half a brain would have acquitted.

    Which explains why you see racist epithet slinging lefts insisting that Wilson should have been charged.

    Seriously, if you ever needed an example that shows that the left values feelings more than reason, this is a great one.

  7. “How do I explain this to my black students?” Gee, maybe tell them you’re an idiot if you try to take a policeman’s gun away from him, no matter what color you are. On the hilarious side, tell them to go to Youtube and type in “How not to get your ass kicked by the police”, by Chris Rock.

  8. Perhaps the Superintendent could look forward to the day when she doesn’t see black students, or white students, or yellow students, or red students, but just students. Perhaps she will come to see the day where people look past the color of a person’s skin.

  9. Mitch:

    You missed this. I discovered this today because I went to the Saint Paul School Board website to get their address to write Valeria Silva a letter.

    She apparently the day after (November 25th at 4:45 p.m.) posted a statement that only shows even more how tone death she is:

    I apologize for the misunderstanding around my first tweet Monday night in which I reacted emotionally to the Ferguson grand jury’s decision.

    My purpose was not to challenge the judgment of the police or the grand jury, but to express my sadness about this tragic situation. I deleted the tweet because it was being misinterpreted and it was distracting from the large conversation about Ferguson.

    I recognize that the Ferguson decision impacts many students and community members.

    But it deeply and profoundly affects the lives of many of our black students. That is why I tweeted what I did. The amount of time that people spent questioning my tweet and the time I spent responding underscores that race still matters in this country.

    That is her statement. My reaction having read the thing more than once.

    One, it is not good to react emotionally. After all that is why Mike Brown is dead, Trayvon Martin is dead, and Valeria is in trouble.

    Two, if she claims that she is not challenging the judgment of the police and the grand jury then why was it a sad day? I mean the police officer said he shot in self defense along with a bunch of witnesses so the grand jury reached the right verdict yet she is acting like she didn’t want that verdict.

    Three, race only matters in this country because when people like Mike Brown or Trayvon Martin were killed their race was dragged into it and the person who did it was charged in part with wanting to execute a black person. If race didn’t matter then we would’ve examined Trayvon’s behavior (which a jury did) and they determined that Trayvon had attacked George Zimmerman which is why he had to defend himself. Mike Brown as the grand jury showed charged Officer Wilson and he had to defend himself.

    Five, maybe if people like Valeria was more aggressive in telling their students this is how they should behave then they won’t do the stupid things that Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin did.

    And six she has now demonstrated for a second time that she isn’t qualified to be the Supt. of the Saint Paul School District and should immediately resign.

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  10. It seems that Supt. Silva is strongly implying that she believes her Black students are incapable of comprehending the rather simple “complexities” of this situation and need special educational accommodations, much like “special needs” students, to make sense of it; spork-fed, you might say …

    These are accommodations that the rest of the (non-Black) student body have no need for, apparently. At least when viewed through the eyes of one who sees Black people no longer as “The White Man’s Burden,” but even further down the pecking order of “Non-Black Privilege” to “The Non-Black Persons’ Burden”.

    Why does Supt. Silva consider her Black students intellectually inferior? Is it due to personal feelings of racial inferiority, or is it just the by-product of the (her) school district’s inability to educate everyone properly?

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