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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    How to encourage racism.

    By JGillman, Section News
    Posted on Wed May 05, 2010 at 11:06:42 PM EST
    Tags: Race, Michigan, African Americans, ann Arbor Schools, Students (all tags)

    What might you think is a main underlying reason for racism?  Why would someone have a problem with another person who has skin of a different shade or color?

    I would argue its not the color of skin, but what people have been taught to believe are commonalities within people who share the skin color.  Stereotypes that are taught from an early age, and persist until "unlearned" through social interaction.  The sharing of tasks, duties, and similar life experiences are crucial as a demonstration that the difference in skin color is simply THAT..  A difference in skin color.

    So why do we still see attempts to encourage thinking otherwise?  Its happening here in Michigan, and its apparently quite blatant.

    A heads up from Leon Drolet through a ( quite informative) email newsletter brings to our attention a recent outing of African American students that was exclusionary of their fellow students who might have been white or a different color.  From the Detroit News:

    "A school trip for African-Americans pupils only at an Ann Arbor elementary school last week was meant to inspire them to greater achievement, but instead ignited protest from other children and their parents.

    The 25 Dicken Elementary School students were taken to a talk by a rocket scientist. They were members of the "African American Lunch Bunch," a club started by teachers and administrators to improve their test scores.

    Children who went were booed by classmates when they got back to school, said Ann Arbor School Superintendent Todd Roberts."

    How incredibly shortsighted.  

    The trip was not merely to see a rocket scientist but as it turns out, an "African American" rocket scientist.  Presumably the intent was to inspire the children and let them know that THEY TOO can aspire to such things.

    Let that stew for a sec.

    Indeed, they too should aspire, but the motivation to do so should no more be influenced by skin color than waking up in the morning should be affected by skin color.  The interest should be one of self interest.  The lesson they took away however, is that they must have special coaxing, because no one assumes it to be natural that they would aspire to such things.

    How incredibly sad.

    Sad too, is that the very act of taking them from the other children promotes the stereotype that they NEED special assistance.  The other children throughout their life will have those attitudes reinforced already, but to have it start so young, and at the most impressionable of times,makes it even more tragic.

    The rocket scientist being African American could have served a greater lesson to all students, if he would have been presented with no consideration to his skin color.  Presenting him as he should be, NORMAL, would have been far more a productive force for the social growth of all the children.

    Racism will always have some part in reality, and it will go both ways.  But Until the schools, media, and government truly becomes colorblind, we will face  a continuation of general stereotypes and a broader distrust of our brothers who have different pigmentation of skin.

    < Cox Files Today | Candidates for Governor Debate AND The MI FairTax >

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    This AA fiasco accomplishes at least 2 things..... (none / 0) (#1)
    by RushLake on Thu May 06, 2010 at 06:00:35 AM EST
    It reinforces in the minds of white children that they too can be the targets of racism, no matter the pc justifications by the board, principal, and "enlightened" parents. It reinforces in the black children that they are different and are entitled to special treatment all of their lives.

    Plymouth Canton Schools is all proud of its new african-american curriculum which will be taught as part of its sham "Closeup" curriculum. It starts at 1890 and goes to the present. All the better to underline Jim Crow, F. D. Roosevelt and L.B. Johnson's reenslavement of african-americans, and the rise to power of the 0ne. Reparations anyone?

    Defining our terms (none / 0) (#2)
    by rdww on Thu May 06, 2010 at 08:43:00 AM EST
    "Why would someone have a problem with another person who has skin of a different shade or color?"

    This is only one among many possible definitions of "racism."  Perhaps a better question, is -- why would someone have a problem with a person who IS "racist?"

    Why do they always say this... (none / 0) (#4)
    by KG One on Thu May 06, 2010 at 10:35:21 AM EST
    ...when they get caught.

    Parents of children who stayed behind raised a ruckus, and Principal Mike Madison sent home a letter saying the trip could have been approached and arranged better.

    "This was an effort by staff to provide a group that was struggling more than any other group with extra support and address" the achievement gap, Roberts said.

    I'm sorry, but they are telling me that all of the students couldn't benefit from a literal "rocket scientist" speaking before the school?

    I find it difficult to believe that given the nature of the day, that arrangements couldn't have been made to bring them to the school to speak to the students, rather than the other way around. Even paying for their expenses, it probably would've been cheaper for the school as well.

    A what point (none / 0) (#5)
    by LookingforReagan on Thu May 06, 2010 at 02:08:39 PM EST
    Did white cease to be a color? Some people in this country seem to have forgotten that. They want respect, then earn it. It cannot be taken by force, it cannot be demanded or legislated. It must be earned. And make no mistake, some people in this society mistake fear for respect. Ever heard a gangbanger say he needed to teach people to respect him. What he really means is teach then to fear him.  It is fear that causes racism. When people live in fear they soon become angry and that leads to resistance by violent means.

    Get a load of the verbal gymnastics... (none / 0) (#6)
    by KG One on Thu May 06, 2010 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    ...performed by Principal Madison.

    This was sent to me this afternoon.


    The link has been slow this afternoon, so in case you cannot open it, here are the contents of his mea culpa.

    Dear Dicken Families;

    I have been made aware that some parents in our community are concerned about an initiative that the Dicken Staff has embraced to help close the achievement gap that exists in our building. As a result I am writing this letter to try and address some of the concerns I have received from parents and to clarify information regarding the AA Lunch Bunch groups and their recent the field trip. This is just one of many initiatives that have been put in place to address the individual needs of our students.

    As a District and a school, Dicken has been working on Educational Equity Issues and closing the Achievement Gap.

    All Ann Arbor Schools are addressing these issues. The district is working hard to raise overall achievement and eliminate predictable achievement gaps between groups of students. Last week the district shared its annual report to the Board of Education regarding achievement and instructional priorities. While we are making progress there is still much work to be done. Differentiated strategies for different groups of students will help us accomplish this very important goal. One size does not fit all students as we consider instructional best practice and learning environments.

    When our staff reviewed November Report Card data and Fall MEAP results, we realized we still have a long way to go in closing this gap. Our goal "Achievement for all Students" had fallen short for our African American students who were under performing and not at the same educational learning level in all subjects as other students. As you probably know, this is true across the district, not just at Dicken.

    Even though I am the principal of Dicken school, these strategies and interventions were not made in isolation by myself. The entire staff at Dicken decided that we needed to do something different. The staff started to brainstorm, create and then implement intervention strategies to help all underachieving students including our African American students. When new and innovative strategies are put in place for struggling students, achievement for all students rises. I have spoken about the Equity initiative and the Achievement Gap in the Dicken Data over the last several years and at PTO and Curriculum Night meetings. It has become a state as well as a district mandate to look at data and address these disparities. Both our School Improvement Plan and Title 1 Plan reflect initiatives and strategies to increase achievement for Dicken students. I know that the whole Dicken community values closing the gap as well.

    As principal, I serve all the students in our community, but I am also keenly aware of the challenges that African American students face in our schools. All principals across Ann Arbor are striving to learn and implement strategies that will benefit our struggling students and at the same time help all students achieve.

    In hindsight, this field trip could have been approached and arranged in a better way. But as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children's eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American Rocket Scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them. It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars. I also think it's important that you know that I have talked to the children who did not go on the field trip, and I think they have a better understanding of the purpose of the AA Lunch Bunch now, as I hope you do. I'm sorry if any kids were upset by the field trip or my discussion afterwards with them, and I have let them know that.

    The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.

    I want every parent at Dicken to feel comfortable talking to me about these issues, and I will make every effort to help you understand why we as a staff feel this program is important. Please contact me with additional concerns or questions.

    Going forward, everyone is welcome to join our school improvement team meetings where we continually look at the data to come up with new strategies to improve the educational outcomes of our students. The next school improvement meeting is May 10, 2010, at 4:00 p.m..

    I am committed to all Dicken students. I want to leave a legacy that we have improved educational outcomes for all students so that we have no gaps in academic achievement.


    Principal Madison


    Any work yet on when Mike Cox will throw him in jail?

    Nah, here's how to encourage racism (none / 0) (#11)
    by Corinthian Scales on Fri May 07, 2010 at 10:32:52 AM EST
    It's don't p!ss off a beaner day!

    The American Flag is now "incendiary".  Such and accomplished people them Mehican's are... they beat the French.  BWAAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Then again, the Halfrican-in-Chief doesn't like the American Flag either.

    Make no mistake about this.  I don't like his white side either.

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