My Dear Friends,
After much consideration and with a heavy heart, I write to you to announce that I am withdrawing my candidacy for Denver School Board At Large. I want to thank you all for your support and for your encouragement, which has powered my campaign these last few months.
Politics is a difficult path, and sometimes there are roadblocks that cannot be surpassed. That is where I find myself today. As you know, I have been dedicated to a team concept for the four open seats on the board. Though we had secured agreement for a team of three candidates, that agreement ended very abruptly. I learned that DCTA consultants had pressured the other two candidates to withdraw from the slate and then informed me, “You bring nothing to the table.”
It appears that the union has newly hand picked candidates in place and ready to run. From the beginning, I have expressed that I have no desire to pursue less than a majority of the board seats to effect immediate change in the Denver Public Schools. Consequently, I am forced to withdraw.
However, I must express my strong belief that the community should have as much say in putting forth candidates as the teachers union or any other institutional entity for that matter. Given this dramatic change in circumstance, the viability of my candidacy has been significantly undermined. Clearly, the quality of a candidate is measured by the amount of money he or she can raise. I still believe that a unified message to SAVE PUBLIC SCHOOLS will win.
Despite what has happened, I will continue to fight for every child in Denver and in Colorado. I may not be running for school board, but my commitment to protecting our public school system will not waiver. We cannot allow the charter school system to destroy communities, segregate students and to perpetuate unequal access to high quality educational opportunities for students living in poverty. I firmly believe that public education is essential to sustain our democratic society and for the future prosperity of generations to come. We must do everything in our power to protect it.
Jo Ann Fujioka