Get our free newsletter

Last month, the Wards 3 and 4 school-board race heated up when Takoma resident Mike Robinson informed candidate Mai Abdul-Rahman that he would never vote for her. “Every page of your web site is filled with…errors,” he wrote on the Takoma neighborhood e-mail discussion group, referring readers to the site, which includes a complaint about “law” (meaning low) teacher salaries and stresses the need to “insure” (meaning ensure) successful schools. Abdul-Rahman, who moved to this country when she was 16 and taught in D.C. public schools for three-and-a-half years, calls Robinson’s complaint “petty.” “I’m an immigrant,” she says. “There’s a certain style that’s taught in American schools that I don’t particularly have.” Also, she says, she’s dyslexic. Pointing out that Abdul-Rahman’s subsequent e-mails have been filled with misspellings, Robinson, who supports opponent Victor Reinoso, stands firm: “I’m not gonna apologize, because it’s too important.” —Bidisha Banerjee