Against the Wind: African Americans and the Schools in Milwaukee, 1963-2002

By Bill Dahlk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 19
THE FULLER
SUPERINTENDENCE:

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR A
“SYSTEM OF SCHOOLS”

I do intend to make a difference.1

We must move decisively and soon to make concrete changes that
are real and deep before the window of opportunity closes on us,
possibly forever
.2

—Howard Fuller in 1990–91

I’m more convinced than ever before that change of the magnitude
needed will never come
[in the existing school system].

—Fuller in 19973


THE OUTSIDER MOVES IN

It is ironic that in a sense Howard Fuller was hoisted with his own petard. During the 1980s, Fuller was a vigorous advocate of high expectations: low-income minority children could learn, he asserted, but achievement would reach satisfactory levels only if educators held them to high expectations. No one was more subject to this imperative than Fuller himself. Early in his superintendence he confessed: “Sometimes I worry about it—are people expecting me to do too much, more than any one human being can do realistically? But on the other hand, I have high expectations for myself.”4 These ambitions drove him to impose an unrealistically

1 Alan Borsuk, “‘I Do Intend to Make a Difference,’” Wisconsin Magazine, MJ August 25, 1991, 7.

2 MCJ January 17, 1990.

3 MJS May 28, 1997.

4 Borsuk, 6.

-555-

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