Former D.C. human rights chief James Baldwin announced last night that he will run for the Ward 7 school board seat now held by the board's vice-president, Nathaniel Bush.
In making the announcement before about 50 supporters at Woodson Senior High School, Baldwin declared that he would bring "persistent and dedicated leadership" to the board and to Ward 7 schools in particular.
Baldwin, 59, was campaign manager for Ward 7 City Council member H.R. Crawford in Crawford's 1980 council race. Crawford said yesterday that he would make no endorsement for the school board seat at this time and that he had no plans to take an active role in the campaign.
"Mr. Bush has done an extremely good job," Crawford added. "He is well qualified and accepted by the residents of Ward 7. I personally feel he has done a remarkable job. . . . "
Baldwin, who was Director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights from 1969 to 1979, said he would rely on his own credentials in his campaign and the fact that he has lived and worked in Ward 7 for 28 years.
Now president of a consulting firm specializing in equal-employment opportunity and personnel matters, Baldwin has served as the first vice president of the D.C. constitutional convention and as chairman of the Ward 7 Democrats.
In his remarks last night, Baldwin contested recent statements by Bush that Ward 7 schools have been improving. "Ward 7's junior high schools are still not achieving at an acceptable standard. It is time for that situation to be reversed," Baldwin said.
Baldwin said that parents, the community, school administrators and the ward's board representative must join together to demonstrate persistence in improving education in the schools.
Baldwin said he has been active in four Parent-Teacher Associations in Ward 7 schools and that each of his three children went to school in the ward.
He added: "I know what's good and what's bad about schools in our ward."