It’s time for me to talk about someone new on my blog. Sekou Biddle is running for D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown’s former at-large seat on the Council. He won the seat in the special election in January and will have it until (and hopefully after) the general election on April 26.
Sekou Biddle is THE education reform candidate in this race. He has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the council’s work on education because he has spent his entire career in education – most of it in D.C. Biddle grew up in D.C., graduated from Wilson Senior High School in Tenleytown, studied business at Morehouse, and taught in Atlanta (as a Teach For America corps member), New York, and D.C. Since leaving the classroom, he has worked for Teach For America, KIPP DC, and Jumpstart for Young Children, and prior to serving on the Council, he held the ward 4 seat on the State Board of Education. (He got that position shortly before Michelle Rhee became Chancellor.)
It is not often that the public, in D.C. or elsewhere, has the opportunity to elect someone with such great experience in education to public office. Last year I watched every D.C. Council hearing that involved Michelle Rhee and was always infuriated by the hubris and lack of respect demonstrated by many of the Council members – people who have no experience in schools have no right to lecture the Chancellor or any other school leaders on decisions related to instruction or teacher quality. That being said, I don’t dispute the Council’s right to ask questions when controversial issues come up; I just want reassurance that at least someone in that position of leadership has the perspective necessary to ask the RIGHT questions. Sekou Biddle has that.
In the wake of the recent scandals in the newly elected D.C. government, Sekou Biddle has come under fire for having received the support of Kwame Brown (criticized for using city funds to buy two SUVs) and Mayor Vincent Gray (accused of paying off another mayoral candidate to criticize former Mayor Adrian Fenty during the election season, among other things). Let me tell you: Sekou Biddle is no corrupt politician. I’ve met him numerous times in recent months and over the course of my four years in D.C.; each time, he has impressed me with his passion for education and his down-to-earth personality. He’s not egotistical like Marion Barry or Vince Gray; he’s not unapproachable like Adrian Fenty – he’s just a genuinely good guy, the kind of person you would want to hang out with… not unlike Barack Obama.
If you’re a D.C. voter, make sure you get out to the polls on April 26. If you care about education, cast your vote for Sekou Biddle. His main competition, Joshua Lopez, doesn’t even have an Issues page on his website; you can read what Biddle thinks about education here.