You've probably heard of the kind of person who can not suffer fools gladly.  That's not me. I'm a very patient man.  However, even my patience can be put to the test. My reply to Jerry refers to several letters I've gotten from complaining Union leaders. There seems to be alot of self-pity in the Duluth Schools.
        Three years earlier I took George Balach to task for refering to Jerry as a "union hack" during the school board meeting where Jerry was appointed to the School District's Endowment Fund. Maybe George was right after all.

My Reply to Jerry Cleveland


Dear Jerry,

I have added your letter to my collection of letters from current or past DFT union leaders. There was Frank’s "open letter." There was Jim Melander's "I’ve written you off" letter. There was Judy Gillen’s "disinformation" letter. Now I have your snide missive, which betrays an extraordinary degree of self-pitying, class-consciousness. Hell, Jerry, my flyer was a harmless bit of political puffery. I can hardly comprehend the hypersensitivity required to interpret my flyer as an insult to teachers.

I was content to let AFSCME’s steamroller work its will until one of your red shirted allies on the School Board started letting me know she couldn’t wait to treat me like dirt after she took control. The unholy trinity she Al and Frank would have formed to run the District into the ground persuaded me to defend myself as well as my "remarkable" colleagues. I have no regrets for my labors over the last six weeks, or the last four years for that matter.

As I write this, Jerry, I have in mind a first grader. He is the son of a single mother who can barely support herself on welfare. She did poorly in school and is going to keep making mistakes with her life that her son will have to pay for. Her son entered school with a bright, inquisitive mind but it will sour long before he reaches high school. By that time he’ll be reading at the fourth grade level and hate school. His most likely career path will involve breaking the law and going to jail. It will be too damn late for this kid to ask why ISD 709 didn’t use its creative powers to teach him when he was six years old. By the time he’s exiting the school system his teachers, people like you, will be quick to explain that his failure was his family’s fault not theirs. All the witty nonsense you’ve written won’t mean diddly to this kid. It doesn’t mean diddly to me either.

As long your successors continue to worry more about their "high fives" than children like this, I’ll be your adversary. As long as your successors keep misleading young teachers into thinking it’s the School Board’s parsimony and not the DFT’s chip on the shoulder that mires this district in ill will, I’ll beg to disagree. Program cuts and staff cuts are what keep those high fives up there, where you cynical old teachers like them Jerry. You are a young teacher’s worst enemy.

Call me up after the election. Whether I win or lose I’ll be happy to tell you just how I orchestrated my many campaigns. Unlike some people I’m an open book. I’ll buy you a beer or two at any blue-collar joint you suggest. I’m not as fussy as you think I am. I would have certainly taken union money had it been offered without any Faustian bargains. Unfortunately, most of it was directed against me.


Harry Welty