Friday, July 18, 2008

Letter to DC officials on rehiring Art Siebens

July 15, 2008

Dear Principal Pete Cahall, Chancellor Michelle Rhee and DC Council Members,

A decision was made not to rehire Dr. Art Siebens. The question to Mr. Cahall and Chancellor Rhee, do you stand by that decision, as well as, the decision not to invite other Wilson staff to return?

This is being raised because it is apparent that little to no consideration was given to parents, students and community members that clearly are not in favor of the rehiring of Dr. Siebens, during testimony at two recent DC City Council hearings. This is evident by several council members going on record supporting his reinstatement without any acknowledgement, consideration or discussion to strong opposition to their sentiments.

We the members of the Wilson Minority Parents Alliance unanimously decided not to support the rehiring of Dr. Siebens because of assertions of his mistreatment of African American and Latino students. Attached is a copy of the original June 30, 2008 letter detailing our concerns regarding this matter that we sent to Principal Cahall, Chancellor Rhee, council members and others during the Wilson staff appeals process.

It is egregious and irresponsible for officials to make a public statement supporting those on either side of this highly controversial and sensitive issue without first recognizing and investigating all views. Since we were not aware of last week’s testimony opportunities until after the fact, i.e. the Friday, July 11th and Saturday, July 12th hearings as posted on the Wilson Listserv, we offer the enclosed material for your edification. Members of the alliance are amenable to meeting and speaking with Wilson’s principal, the Chancellor and members of the City Council and Board of Education, where we can have an open comprehensive discussion about our concerns.

Our membership represents the largest of the school population which is 75% students of color comprised of African Americans, Asians, Latinos and those of mixed ethnicity.

The Wilson Minority Parents Alliance