Daily Archives: Feb. 2, 2007

NAACP leadership: a case of deja vu?

s Kevin Myles the new Chet Lewis?

At least one Eagle reader seems to think so, saying in a posting on Thursday at Kansas.com: “The NAACP has finally been graced with an assertive and functional leader who is capable of attacking and dealing with issues at hand and as they present themselves. I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of leadership since Chet Lewis.”

For those who need a refresher course: Chet (Chester) Lewis was the NAACP attorney whose lawsuits filed during the 1950s and 1960s struck down segregation in public accommodations and forced the local school district to integrate its all-black elementary and junior high schools and approved. During Lewis’s branch presidency, the NAACP’s youth chapter conducted what is now thought to be the first youth-led lunch counter sit-in at Dockum Drug, which struck down segregation at all Rexall Drug stores in Kansas and Dockum locations in Wichita. He is the namesake of Lewis Elementary school and the newly-renamed Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park, which features a replica of the Dockum lunch counter near Broadway and Douglas.

The NAACP is currently working to outlaw the sell of drug paraphernalia in Kansas, among other initiatives involving workers’ rights and closing the academic achievement gap between minority and white students.

Brooks won’t do it. So stop asking.

Wichita school district superintendent Winston Brooks doesn’t want to be the next education commissioner.

So don’t ask him.

Brooks told me, after other media inquiries, that he has no desire to be the state’s highest ranking educational guru.

As the leader of the largest urban school district in the state (and in the region for that matter) Brooks sits in a high profile position. He is the president of the Kansas Association of School Administrators. His term ends in June. Brooks was also a finalist for the Richard R. Green Award, a national award given to leaders of urban school districts. (He lost out to Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hill.) And he’s also gotten national exposure for the money he receives from area business owners that supplements his salary as well as expelling the Edison concept out of the district.

State education board members are meeting today with Brenda Welburn, executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education, the group in charge of finding the next commissioner.

Who really won the school finance battle?

The Associated Press reported today that a judge ruled against 19 schools districts, who sued the state for more funding, from having their court fees paid for. This group, also known as Schools for Fair Funding, has the Wichita district as a member.

The district shelled out about $150,000 to help the cause. But this is the return on their investment:

  • An additional $28 million for the first year of the finance plan. $18 million for 2007-08 and $16 million for 2008-09
  • Teachers received an 11 percent raise
  • More teachers were hired
  • Expansion a couple of programs or initivatives like Multilingual Education Services on North Broadway.

So who really won?