Miami New Times.This week, Luke gives Miami-Dade's top educator a passing grade.
A group of parents and alumni representing predominantly African-American inner-city public schools recently accused Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho of being a "slick operator." In a six-page manifesto, they alleged Carvalho has turned his back on black schools and broken promises made to the African-American community.
They are wrong. Carvalho has done more to help African-American children than any of his predecessors did.
See also: Alberto Carvalho Ignores Black Schools
When the Florida Department of Education wanted to stop me from volunteering as a high school football coach two years ago, Carvalho stuck up for me. He defended my abilities to mentor African-American teenage boys. And when the same education department wanted to close Miami Edison and Miami Central senior high schools, Carvalho fought hard to make sure those inner-city institutions remained open.
He appointed a black woman, Valenta Brown, to the most important position in his cabinet. She is the school district's chief operating officer. That is the highest rank of any African-American working for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. When Carvalho took over in 2008, Rudy Crew left him with 12 failing schools from Hialeah to Homestead. Last year, not a single school in the district received an F.
Three historic inner-city high schools -- Edison, Jackson, and Northwestern -- received a B, a B, and an A, respectively. And the 69 percent graduation rate for blacks in Miami-Dade high schools outperformed the rest of the state's 64 percent graduation rate for black students. The numbers don't lie.
The black alumni and parents dissing Carvalho claim he's done nothing to replace outdated buildings and technology at inner-city schools. Yet Carvalho spearheaded a $20 million renovation of Miami Central, including a new main building. In November, the school district broke ground on a $35 million state-of-the-art building to replace Norland Senior High's 56-year-old structure.
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Rome wasn't built overnight. There's still more work to be done. But Carvalho is doing a good job getting us there.
Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday, 2 to 5 p.m., on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.