Washburn students walk out to support AD

  • Article by: Steve Brandt , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 9, 2013 - 5:53 AM

Kids rally for embattled AD after Washburn scoreboard flap.

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smeeagain2Apr. 8, 1310:51 PM

Another waste of resources. Why don't the kids walk out to protest the lousy education they're getting?

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r.u.4realApr. 9, 13 5:42 AM

they are fighting to keep a great educator, mentor, coach and person. and they are doing it like many others before them have. so they have at least learned that. KEEP DANNY PRATT, he truly cares...fellow cake eater

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kennedylandApr. 9, 13 6:41 AM

There is no point in protesting or arguing until everything is on the table. What I'm seeing is a lot of frustrated people looking for clarity. Letting people know when everything will be explained will bring cooler heads to this enigmatic issue. If people can't or won't talk at this point, please explain when these issue will be clarified.

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swmnguyApr. 9, 13 7:36 AM

Theresa Battle isn't having a fun few weeks. She's the Head BeanCounter for the District. She's the one going to all the schools telling the Principals they're going to have to fire people to make budget, and in some cases, giving them mere hours to do so.

It will be very interesting to see what happens here. It sounds like Mr. Pratt found ways to upgrade the facilities without using District money, so Ms. Battle, representing the District, was more or less OK with it.

Improving Washburn is a District priority, since Southwest is jam-packed, and the District is trying to cut down on busing expenditures.

Another factor playing into this is that affluent Southwest Minneapolis residents have been hit by our economic Depression like everyone else, so they're now sending their kids to Minneapolis Public Schools, rather than private schools they can no longer afford, or paying to bus them to suburban districts. They all want their kids to go to Southwest, but there's no room at the inn, so Washburn is being brought up to Linden Hills standards at a quick pace. This is some of the background between the recent controversy with activists claiming Washburn is getting rid of non-white students. No, that's not what Washburn is doing; they're just not busing students in from across town when they have more Linden Hills students seeking placement.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like one or possibly two homeowners next door to the school were hoping the school would close 6-8 years ago, when attendance was down before the economic crisis hit and local families weren't willing to use the Minneapolis schools. There was talk that Washburn was doomed. Now Washburn is not only not closing, it's full of local kids from the area. That can't be too popular with people who bought high six-figure houses next door.

Seeing as the Assistant Superintendent was OK with this, it will be interesting to see what really happened here; if Mr. Pratt really did break the rules, or if he had or thought he had the green light. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if any "activist" or well-heeled neighbor with an attorney can get Dr. Markham-Cousins to roll over, play dead, and throw her students and staff to the wolves. The trend isn't encouraging.

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CSpolyarApr. 9, 13 9:23 AM

I think the issue with the neighbors is about the lights. When they put the lights in they agreed to plant trees to help block the lights. With the turf the field is being used a lot more, with the lights on many nights. They started cutting those trees down to make way for the scoreboard but it was stopped. There were not permits for the installation. I would suggest they put the scoreboard either at the south end of the field where there is more room between the field and the street, or on the east side on top of Ramsey (if they did that they could sell advertising during the day to catch the eyes of people flying in over the schools...)

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getcrazyApr. 9, 1310:40 AM

Whatever the case is on this - not that I know the entire story - it is clear that authority is attempting to make examples of those who would protest in dissent. Start when they are young by handing out consequences for speaking up when they disagree. Make them look like what they are doing is inappropriate rather than let them express dissent for decisions authority makes. Do this and you'll forever keep them docile and be able to keep them from speaking up again.

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romperroomApr. 9, 1312:20 PM

...and the truth will set you free. Just remember that Markham-Cousins. Your lack of honesty and integrity (not to mention transparency) on this and many other issues WILL eventually reveal itself. For the benefit of the students, hopefully sooner than later.

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kanutoApr. 9, 13 1:12 PM

So the spotlight again shines on Washburn and Principal Markham-Cousin's. Markham-Cousins again is bullying her staff and the community that do not share her agenda. Mr. Pratt is one of many wonderful Washburn teachers. Teachers who now must question their place, as Mr. Pratt is forced out. The Mpls. Distract, Ms. Battle and Sup. Benadeia Johnson now have another Washburn PR disaster to deal with. Remember last spring a divided Washburn community on curriculem? PR disaster. Remember January's unfortunate, student doll hanging incident, that made national news. PR disaster. Time for leadership change at Washburn! It is sad Kip Wennerlund, Dan Pratt, and others who are trying to make Washburn a better school, are being pushed out. Ms. Battle and Ms. Johnson, your judgement is in question. These Washburn events reflect on all Mpls schools, just as families are deciding the best schools for their children. It is time for leadership change at Washburn. The Washburn community will support you and all city schools, but you are making it hard to support are own neighborhood schools. Kids First.

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SUMMITApr. 9, 13 3:54 PM

Principal Markham-Cousins needs to be moved along. She is not the right fir to be a leader in a public school.

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ipadpepperApr. 9, 13 3:58 PM

For those of us who know more than this article reveals, what a true tragedy for the students of Washburn High School! Dan Pratt has been an incredibly positive influence and a pillar of their community for decades. This witch hunt run by the newly appointed Markham-Cousins is a micro example of everything that is wrong with our society. Mr Pratt raised the money for this new scoreboard on his own out in the community, it isn't like funds are being taken away from books and teacher salaries to buy it. If the money wasn't going to the new scoreboard it would be going to...... what ever else the donors wanted to spend it on, not what Markham-Cou$ins wants to do with it. My grandpa gave a five figure donation for this scoreboard, he would have spend it on another trip to Arizona or Florida if he hadn't given it specifically for the new scoreboard. Neighbors who are complaining about the school trying to improve their campus and the overall student experience, here's an idea; if you don't like having a football field in your back yard..... THEN DON'T BUY THE HOUSE NEXT TO THE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FIELD. Markham-Cousins gets her name in the papers and her public profile raised, Dan Pratt gets unfairly blindsided, I get way to fired up over this, and ultimately the students of Washburn High School get screwed over and lose the most.

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