Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Note About ReDonna Rodgers

By Lisa Kaiser
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To the Editor:

We are dismayed by the Shepherd’s biased reporting of the MPS school board contest between ReDonna Rodgers and Peter Blewett, and deeply offended by the mischaracterization of Ms. Rodgers.

For more than 20 years, ReDonna Rodgers has been a widely respected member of the Milwaukee civic community and an opinion leader in the city’s African-American community. She has spent her entire career in leadership roles with a singular focus: to help children achieve their potential. For the Shepherd Express to portray her as a pawn of nefarious special interests defames her and insults all of us who support her.

From what we can tell, your coverage of Ms. Rodgers has consisted solely of efforts to link her to the school voucher movement and the business community. In fact, Ms. Rodgers has never been a proponent of vouchers, nor is she a blanket critic of them. Since the school board has no control over whether the state’s voucher program lives or dies, her position is simply that ALL schools—regardless of whether they are traditional public, charter or choice—should be held accountable for achieving acceptable results and the board should actively support Mayor Barrett’s effort to fix the so-called funding flaw.

As for receiving support from the business community, the fact is, Ms. Rodgers has received both financial and volunteer support from a wide range of organizations and individuals. Business groups, professional women’s groups, church groups, African-American groups, neighborhood groups and a very diverse mix of individuals are actively supporting her because they’ve reached the same conclusion: ReDonna’s intelligence, courage, pragmatism, and ability to work well with people of diverse perspectives make her an ideal choice for a school board that’s in desperate need of improvement.

We call on you to set the record straight by publishing this letter and by presenting an accurate portrayal of Ms. Rodgers in your future coverage.

Sincerely,

Leo Ries and Karen Ordinans
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