A Message From The Publisher
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Superintendent Vickie Cartwright opened up Tuesday’s Board with the “I am not a racist” speech. It is the second time I have heard that pitiful monologue. From the words of grandmama, “A hit dog will holler.” No one called her a racist, but a guilty conscious will reveal itself.
I’m going to give it to you straight with no chaser. The superintendent of Broward Schools orchestrated her hit job on Black administrators who have done nothing but do their jobs admirably and with integrity, like Lucky Lucy wielding her switchblade better than any hooligan I’ve read about. Of course, she had to have had approval and help.
Vickie Cartwright might have executed the hit job; however, “The Blind Nine” Board members gave their approval with a wink and a nod. Sure, they made comments like I don’t agree, but they voted to approve unanimously. They hide behind, “the superintendent has a right to create her organizational chart and hire and release staff that she believes will support her vision”. “Be careful what you ask for”, and still voted for and approved Cartwright’s actions. The Blind Nine hide behind those words because it allows them to remain silent regarding the terrible injustice to loyal, long standing employees.
I have to ask the long standing Board members: Where was that same respect for the superintendent’s rights when Runcie had the job. Once Runcie tried to demote an employee who wore an inappropriate Halloween costume to work. Because this employee was liked, each Board member spoke vehemently against the initial discipline consequence and argued that it was about the process. That employee faced a less harsh discipline consequence and kept her job.
I was reminded of another time when the Board held up the appointment of one employee who happened to be Black and was getting a promotion and directed Superintendent Runcie to settle the job status of another employee who happened to be White. The Board said the Black employee could not have a job until this White employee’s job status was secured.
The Blind Nine Board members depend on us having a short memory. They say it is not within their power to do anything. It is not that they cannot; it is that they choose not to do anything. It appears that the Blind Nine do not believe that when Blacks cry for justice, it warrants attention.
Guess what, to everyone wondering what on God’s green earth is going on here and now in Broward Schools, here it is.
I have spent the last six or so weeks writing about some of the atrocities happening around race, and not the races that are related to sports in Broward Schools. It was my hope that this exposure would somehow help The Blind Nine Board members and the superintendent re-evaluate the slippery slope they were headed down. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears. How ironic, nine animals come to mind that have no ears: turtles, snakes, spiders, worms, harp seals, crabs, crocodiles and salamanders. What a motley crew.
Perhaps, The Blind Nine and Cartwright are motivated by the people when they recognize the people who look like those demoted will vote to have these Board members removed and defeat this Referendum.
Let me start by asking: Who does Cartwright work for?
Does she work for the Board? Because she sure as hell doesn’t act like it and then…
It appears that The Blind Nine Board is afraid to tell this outsider that we are trying to get away from doing business like this in Broward Schools-so I would think. The disrespect I have witnessed which has been cosigned by people of color is beyond disgusting. The Blind Nine Board should be ashamed of the way both the Superintendent and they have disregarded some of their most valued employees. This Superintendent’s understanding of the leadership required to run the Sixth largest School District in the nation is about as limited as mine.
There are six demotions of directors to principals that posted last week: One white female and five Blacks— two Black female and three Black males.
Cartwright’s argument was that for every Black she gut punched with a demotion, she hired or promoted another Black. She basically said she switched them out. The truth is she does not address the competence of the Blacks she demoted for personal reasons and the Whites she saved from demotion, even if she moved them from their positions. She demoted Blacks and reassigned Whites laterally or gave them a promotion.
Former Broward school district Director of Equity, Dr. Dorsey Miller, spoke to the hit job Cartwright executed on the department with the most Black leaders, The Office of School Performance and Accountability. Three Blacks with doctorate degrees and a proven track
record were demoted to principal while each of the Whites from that department either maintained their jobs, were promoted or were moved to a lateral position within another district department. If Cartwright wants to reference data, we can talk about the data in the ways that speaks truth to power.
She also spoke about promotions of other Blacks in the district. Let’s dissect this and the influence on Black and Brown students. Many times there is a certain type of Black person hired to speak to diversity, yet it diminishes diversity because they are placed in positions where they have little impact or they are not the sort of “woke” Blacks that challenge the status quo for White people. These people are strategically selected and they know and accept their place well. I am not saying this is the case of the Blacks she swapped in for the soldiers she demoted, but time will tell. They have all been quiet so far.
Let it be known! Cartwright’s demotion of select Blacks was done purposefully to extinguish their voice and advocacy for equity and fairness with marginalized students and adults in Broward.
Dr. Hall has been a director over principals for more than 15 years. He was a successful principal at Parkway Middle where he earned the school’s first ever A rating. His only sin is that he did his job well and supported Tarshe Freeman, a Black female principal who has been continuously targeted, harassed and bullied by the BTU and Cartwright has remained uncomfortably silent. Her response is to move the principal to another school and demote the cadre director. These are facts!
Dr. Eric Miller was just hired as a director. Prior to that, he had more than 15 years’ experience as a principal in some of the most difficult schools in our district, Walker and Dillard Elementary. He is being demoted to principal; however, a White director who was hired on the same day as he, has managed to keep his job. Dr. Miller’s only sin is that he did his job by providing support to the Black female principal of Northside Elementary, Helange Porcena, who is constantly harassed and treated disrespectfully by the BTU. This woman is the district’s Principal of the Year!!!! Here again Cartwright has remained silent regarding this abuse. These are facts. It is time for exposure.
Dr. Carletha Shaw-Rolle has been a director for seven years. She has served this district as a principal and she brought an A to Attucks Middle School and kept it for four straight years. Dr. Shaw-Rolle is the only director to work with centers and technical colleges. Her work is specialized. Yet, she is being sent back to be a school principalship. Why? Because Dr. Shaw-Rolle stood on principle when a teacher at Cross Creek used the N word in a classroom 10 times and laughed about it. This teacher is on a recording saying it made her feel good to say it. Dr. Shaw-Rolle worked with the principal to have this teacher removed from the school and investigated. She did not waiver at all when the BTU demanded that she insert herself into the investigative process and stop it. Dr. Shaw-Rolle acted with moral integrity, but now she is under attack. These are facts.
I must state here that the investigation of this incident was halted by former superintendent Runcie by what appeared to be pressure from BTU.
There are other stories of how the Superintendent is in cahoots with the BTU, but I have not gotten the permission to tell them. And the BTU is not alone in directing Cartwright’s steps. There are others who are using Cartwright to exact personal vendettas, and she is either a willing participant or blind to how she is being used as a pawn for other people’s agendas. But, I will address this more directly in a couple weeks.
Dr. Hall, Dr. Miller, and Dr. Shaw-Rolle have been attacked and targeted for admirably doing their jobs. Simply put, this is a political hit job being carried out because Vickie Cartwright has more respect or fear, you be the judge, for outsiders than she has for her nine bosses. She is taking direction from them instead of her current nine Board members for whom she works. It is a runaway train.
These directors have proven track records. They have just a couple things in common. They are all Black and they act with integrity.
They don’t back down to threats and intimidation. God only knows what will happen to this school district as it moves forward with people who don’t have this intestinal fortitude in their bellies to speak truth to power.
So let’s talk about process. What was the process that Cartwright used to make these decisions? Or did she make it up as she went along, swapping out Blacks and saving Whites. The process is a mystery, but the results are clear. It is also crystal clear that it is all grounded in discrimination.
Cartwright played this swapping game of five Blacks out and five Blacks in. The five she swapped in for the five she swapped out are no comparison. No disrespect to the new Black folk, but the five who were swapped out are those who speak truth to power. Their elimination. was intentionally and strategically done.
What is most disturbing is the manner in which some White directors were handled in this supposed sham of a process. Since Cartwright is making data comparisons, let’s look at how Whites were treated.
An advertisement for an Executive Director of Professional Learning posted. Two sitting Black directors applied, interviewed and they were denied. Yet Cartwright went and plucked up a White male who did not even apply for the job nor does he have experience with this kind of work. She direct appointed him to the position. He went from Director of a job that she removed from the organizational chart to Executive Director of a job he did not apply, did not interview, and has no experience in the work. That is straight White Privilege.
A White male cadre director was direct appointed to an Executive Director position where he supervises ONE person. The position wasn’t advertised. He was just direct appointed. This position on the organizational chart was originally a director but was later upgraded to an Executive Director, giving him a lofty monetary increase. Yet, here again, the Board has remained silent knowing that a person who works with only one person is probably more of a coordinator than a Director or Executive Director.
Someone shared a cartoon of Vickie Cartwright being maneuvered as a puppet. The puppet master in this cartoon was none other than the BTU president.
I have to ask myself the following questions: What in the world is going on and what is The Blind Nine going to do about it?
Black female school leaders are under attack and Black cadre directors who act with integrity by providing them with fair support are being demoted.
The Board members want support in their re-election and passing of a Referendum under a bleak economy. The Westside Gazette is watching and will certainly keep up the pressure. I ask my brothers and sisters and those who are concerned for all to stay woke to the cause. ————– See you at the polls.