Peebles puts student achievement first, even above politics

Thandiwe Peebles (photo: Minneapolis Public Schools)Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Thandiwe Peebles is tackling the wide academic achievement gap between African American students and their white peers. Northside parents say that whatever Peebles is doing, she should keep doing it. The Star Tribune quoted Minneapolis Fifth Ward Council Member Natalie Johnson Lee:
Our children need someone with her personality to move an agenda for them and you need to be clear that we are not taking this sitting down... This is not a joke, we are not playing. We are serious about the education of our children and we believe she is the one we need right now to move our children's agenda forward.

In the same article, Rev. Ian Bethel said:
Her leadership style is what attracted the school board to bring her here. Leave her alone and let her do the work. Performance-wise, she has proven it.

Unfortunately, Peebles's leadership style is rubbing some folks the wrong way. We say, bully to Superintendent Peebles. If she broke a few eggs to make some omelets, if she had the audacity to assign extra homework over the winter break, give her a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People, and get out of her way. Education is about the children. Neither African American kids nor our society can afford to wait another semester, another year, another generation for help. For the sake of those children, we hope that Peebles will not ultimately suffer the same fate as another strong female education leader who put academics above politics.

UPDATE: Peebles showed that she has her priorities in order when she told Minnesota Public Radio's "Midday" call-in show on Wednesday, "Student achievement must be a priority, but if style is getting in the way of that, then you need to change that [style]."