Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 10/13/2009 - 19:56.

Mayor Frank Jackson answer Pee Dee on criticism of his scholarship program.

Jackson tells Terry Egger, Pee Dee publisher, that he has both his “head and heart” in the right place – together.


Here’s the letter:



October 13, 2009

Mr. Terrance C.Z. Egger

President & Publisher

The Plain Dealer

1801 Superior Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Dear Terry:


I hope that you are doing well and want to acknowledge that The Plain Dealer

has covered an issue over the past week that is key to the future of Cleveland:

education. Based on your coverage, I felt compelled to write you this letter so

that I can address statements made in your paper regarding the Cleveland

Scholarships for Education and Training (CSET) program.


First, let me say that these are children, not “drop-outs” as stated in How to

reach those who reject our help. It was also stated that our children “squander

life and chance.” That statement is applicable to many, including adults. It is

particularly applicable to those who have no excuse because life and society

have been good to them.


Finally, today’s editorial states, “Mayor Jackson’s heart was in the right

place…but his head was not.” Let me assure you that my heart and head are

in the same place and that is to create an environment for success for all our

children and to serve all our children, no matter who they belong to.


I have said many times that the key to our success and future is the education

of our young people. Traditional educational systems are focused on educating

children from Kindergarten to the 12th grade. I am focused on pre-

Kindergarten to a bachelor’s degree, or at minimum, to an associate’s degree.

All post-12th grade education, including community college courses, should be

treated as college, which means that a young person can be successful, fail or

choose to stay or leave. In either case, young people deserve the opportunity.


I have several scholarship programs because I recognize a cookie cutter

approach will not work. Through money raised by employee contributions to

the United Negro College Fund, the Mayor Frank G. Jackson Scholarship

Fund gives out scholarships to CMSD seniors, City of Cleveland employees

and City of Cleveland employees’ children who are high school seniors or

undergraduates. This scholarship is competitive, including a minimum GPA of

2.5, an essay, and community service.


In addition, CMSD has an arrangement with the University of Toledo that

allows CMSD graduates that meet certain criteria, including a minimum GPA

of 3.0, to attend that university tuition-free. The school district is currently in

conversations with Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State

University and The Ohio State University to see if we can replicate the

University of Toledo program.


On the other hand, the CSET program is designed specifically for CMSD

graduates and Cuyahoga Community College. This program has two

requirements: graduate from CMSD and apply for financial aid. Its purpose

is to provide a college education opportunity for all CMSD graduates.

Much has been said in your paper about the fact that under the CSET

program there is not a minimum GPA requirement and that 54% of the

students did not return to Tri-C for the second year of the program. Your

paper has said the program is “rife with dropouts”, implying that their lack of

enrolling in Tri-C for the second year is only negative. This and similar

statements largely ignore the fact that some of the students who did not

return to Tri-C likely moved on to other colleges, the military or vocational

training programs. While we don’t have the tracking data to prove this, I am

relying on common sense to know that not all of those who didn’t return

simply dropped out of college.


Your paper has suggested that I set a minimum GPA as a criterion to ensure

what your paper defines as success. I will not do so. It reminds me of the

times that I’ve been asked “why are we spending this money on these

children.” I will not set a minimum GPA for the CSET program because I do

not have any throwaway children. I will not say to any child that you are

unworthy of an opportunity for higher education.

I do recognize that there are some changes that have to be made. Since

beginning the program in 2008, we have identified that there are some needs

that CMSD students have to address. We recognize that many CMSD

graduates were unaware of the options available to them in terms of financial

Cleveland Scholarships for Education & Training aid and in applying for college.


We know that many of our students need help

in transitioning from high school to college and how to take advantage of the

opportunities that are available to them. That is why last year, Dr. Sanders,

the school board and I began developing a course for all CMSD juniors and

seniors to help address these issues.


Starting with this school year, all 11th and 12th graders must take the twoyear

“Colleges and Careers” course in order to graduate. This course includes

a strong financial literacy component and instruction on how to apply for

financial aid. It provides knowledge to all CMSD juniors and seniors to help

prepare them for college and understand what they have to do to be



What they do when they get there is a choice they must make – that is part of

the learning curve of college. The “Colleges and Careers” course is designed to

help them make good choices for their own futures. CSET is designed to get

them in the door. Only the students can decide what happens next. This is

also true for those who are part of other scholarship programs that require a

minimum GPA.


Finally, what about the 46% of the 2008 CSET recipients who are enrolled in

their second year at Tri-C? The coverage in your paper has mostly dismissed

this accomplishment. More than 200 young people – who might not have had

the GPA or the money to go to other colleges – are in their second year of

college. I am proud of them. Their families are proud of them. And we as a

community should be proud of them.


I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and your

commitment to making Cleveland a better place.



Frank G. Jackson, Mayor

City of Cleveland


( categories: )

Mayor Jackson's Scholarship Program

  Mayor Jackson can be rightfully proud of the scholarship program.  I wish that students understood the financial and scholastic responsibilities of attending college.  The program is a good program. It just needs to find the right students.  I commend Mayor Jackson for making this available to those kids who do try hard, despite the obstacles.

This almost reads like the Mayor wrote this

It seems the only words I ever hear or read from Mayor Jackson are soundbites in the PD or, far worse, press releases from City Hall, almost always related to big corporate interests, almost always sounding like the work of a PR writer for the GCP... gthe PD doesn;t even bother taking a fresh picture to go with the coverage...

This letter looks real - from the hand, heart and mind of Frank Jackson, together.

I've always suspected there was an intelligent, good person behind that all corrupted GCP facade of Cleveland City Hall - I hope he will be far more real in his second term... and will get that extra set of keys to the mayor's office away from Ronn Richard and his PRstitutes who have writen our plans, policy and news for far too many years.

Time to break and cut loose, Mayor Jackson - you have four more years to set your record straight, and that will not be accomplished as the Mayor who brought casino gambling and all its evil to town.

Disrupt IT

The easiest place to start

The easiest place to start criticizing Mayor Jackson is on the condition of Cleveland Metropolictan School District (CMSD).

The fact is that the schools went from a rating equivalent to D- to D back to D-, etc.  Please forgive me for not using "state board of education speak," that is, "continuous improvement, etc.

The mayor should relinquish control of the school board and allow elected school board members to control the schools (note: I understand that Mayor Jackson is only continuing a policy instituted by past administrations, councils, ...).

Our most important asset is our youngsters and their education.  Mayor Jackson had let each and every child down by allowing the school to scuttle above the failing grade.


'nuf said.

the option

We Clevelanders had an option to return the school Board to an elected board, and voters choose to keep it under mayoral control. I am not sure if that is now permanent and would require organized effort to change it.