Yes, the Manskis absolutely did target Ananda Mirilli

Ms. Mirilli reached out to this blog today to confirm that Sarah Manski was, indeed, recruited to run against her – and her, specifically. The Madison School Board candidate, defeated in last week’s three-way primary, said the Manskis spread a rumor that she was recruited by the Great Right Conspiracy to run as a stalking horse for school vouchers. News to me!

Forty-eight hours after taking out the troublesome minority candidate – her job accomplished – Sarah Manski withdrew from the race, assured that the school board would appoint “somebody good” if it came to that. (Matt DeFour’s reportage here.)

The Manski campaign was fueled by plenty of big-name Democrats, including the Democrat(ic) leaders in the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate, Peter Barca and Chris Larson, even though they’re from Kenosha and Milwaukee, respectively. (I detailed that here.) It is also clear that the Manski candidacy and the Madison School Board election itself was, to these Democrats and unionistas, a partisan battle against Gov. Scott Walker, and forget about addressing Madison’s yawning minority achievement gap.

“There have been many conversations about conspiracy. Unfortunately, I didn’t see many folks trying to dismantle this one,” Mirilli told me. The Latina immigrant-American passed along to Blaska’s Bring It! the following missive from Sarah Manski’s husband, Ben. It was addressed to Latinos United for Change and Advancement. It is clear that “she” is a reference to Ananda Mirilli. (Underlines are my emphasis, bold-faced are those of the original.)

Ben Manski and John Nichols

On Dec 30, 2012, at 20:13, "Ben Manski" <> wrote:

Good evening LUChA ~

You may have already heard the exciting news that Sarah Manski, my wife, is a candidate for the Madison Metropolitan School Board’s District 5 seat. I’m writing to fill you in more about what is at stake in this election.

Many of you have met or worked with Sarah Manski. Yet even if you have known her for many years, you may not know that her advocacy is rooted in her own struggles as a self-supporting high school student living on her own nearly 20 years ago. Sarah’s teaching career and her advocacy for public education has been unflagging ever since.

This will be an important election. For one thing, nearly 300,000 people live in District 5, since this election is at-large. For another, Sarah is determined to protect Madison’s schools from the corporate education lobbyists.

One of Sarah’s opponents in this 3-way race is a supporter of using public tax dollars to fund private schools. She was recruited by the former head of a Bradley Foundation-funded group that promotes the corporate takeover of public education.

In turn, Sarah was recruited to offer an alternative to this other candidate. After weeks of consideration, Sarah filed her declaration of candidacy on December 19th. She is circulating petitions to get on the ballot right now.

A third candidate declared his candidacy a few days ago, on December 27th. He [T.J. Mertz] is a longtime blogger and activist on education policy.

I am proud of Sarah for taking on this challenge. I know why other teachers, education activists, and students urged her to run. They know that Scott Walker has plans for Wisconsin’s schools. Walker wants the power to get rid of local elected school boards and to appoint his cronies to run our schools.

Sarah Manski not only can win this important race, she also is the person best prepared to take on the political and managerial challenges facing Madison’s schools in the future. … [blah, blah, blah]

On Wisconsin,
Ben Manski

Ananda Mirilli

Ananda Mirilli commented to Blaska’s Blog: “They made assumptions based on a conversation … at a Community United meeting and my statement regarding to institutional racism,” in which she said:

It is about race. There’s racism in every school in Madison, and a lot of the achievement gap is about racism. It’s ridiculous to see how long it’s been going on. The question is: what are we going to do about it? How do we hold elected officials, and ourselves, accountable?


For extra credit: John Nichols, employer of both Manskis (see here), actually praises Sarah in an editorial today for blowing off the school board election:

Sarah Manski did the right thing when she quit the race for an open Madison School Board seat just days after finishing first in the Feb. 19 primary. Manski’s strong primary finish had positioned her as the front-runner in the general election April 2. But after she learned that her husband had been accepted for graduate school in California, she recognized that it is not appropriate to seek a term of office she could not complete.

Disgusting, lame, and pathetic. But that is how Madison’s minorities get used when the sanctity of the teachers union is at stake. Tender readers, Madison’s minority community is accustomed to being used, but I can tell you they are not going to take it anymore.

Mirilli will announce her intentions on a write-in candidacy on Thursday.

Remember folks: No control is more local than the kitchen table.

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