Duluth Superintendent of Schools John Magas is proud that his “community” shut down a debate before it even started. He should be fired.
The man in charge of educating 7,300 children just taught them an important lesson: the best way to oppose a point of view is to bully the venue to cancel the event. Forget about research, logic, argument, the First Amendment — just flood the banquet hall with threatening phone calls.
Magas was responding to American Experiment’s Raise Our Standards tour stop scheduled for Duluth on June 17, 2021. It had to be postponed after the superintendent’s “community” posted a video asking people to call the Northland Country Club and the Holiday Inn to bully them into canceling our reservations.
The community in this case was the Duluth NAACP. Chapter President Classie Dudley posted a video on Facebook last week calling the event “hate speech” and “overt racism” and claimed (without evidence) that American Experiment is “a racist organization coming down and preaching white supremacy.”
Superintendent Magas said he “doesn’t support the group’s ideologies or viewpoints” and told KVVR TV he was proud the event was postponed.
“I think the response that the community has shown, that they’re not very excited about people coming in and spreading misinformation, I think that shows resilience and strength and focus on equity as a community.”
Misinformation? We challenge this community leader to provide one example of misinformation from a presentation he clearly hasn’t heard. Supt. Magas will be at the top of the invite list when American Experiment reschedules the Duluth stop of the Raise Our Standards tour. He is free to challenge any part of the presentation during the Question-and-Answer session.
Perhaps Magas could also explain what’s being done to erase the persistent and appalling achievement gap that exists in Duluth between white students and their Black peers. Only 20 percent of Black students in Duluth are meeting the state’s standards in math; 24 percent are meeting the standards for reading. Remember the soft bigotry of low expectations?
By the way, there has been a robust discussion at each of the stops so far, with critics engaging the panelists, raising good-faith objections and leaving everyone in the room more enlightened (which is the point of a free exchange of ideas).
It also used to be the point of the Duluth School District, at least according to their website. One of the values posted there is “Including all voices in our community — inside and outside our schools, all ages and backgrounds — makes our schools strong and successful.” All voices, except the ones Superintendent Magas and the NAACP disagree with.