Skip to comments.Field trip for black students sparks controversy at Ann Arbor elementary school
Posted on 05/03/2010 9:41:52 PM PDT by FenwickBabbitt
An Ann Arbor elementary school principal used a letter home to parents tonight to defend a field trip for black students as part of his schools efforts to close the achievement gap between white and black students.
Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison wrote the letter to parents following several days of controversy at the school after a field trip last week in which black students got to hear a rocket scientist.
In hindsight, this field trip could have been approached and arranged in a better way," Madison wrote. "But as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these childrens 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 its 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. Im 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.
A handful of parents have complained to district administrators about the trip, the group and Madison. More than a half-dozen parents contacted AnnArbor.com to raise the complaints, but none would agree to talk on the record, citing concerns of reprisals to their children by Madison.
While theres no clear agreement between the two sides about exactly what happened, most of the controversy centers on a field trip taken last week by the Lunch Bunch for African American boys and girls to hear a black rocket engineer talk.
District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said after the trip was over, those who went returned to their fifth-grade class and were greeted by boos by those who didnt go on the trip. Margolis said Madison, who is black, heard the boos, and went to talk to the class. She said he and the class had a discussion about race issues.
He wasnt yelling at them. He was very passionate about it, Margolis said.
Parents have complained he was yelling at the class and belittled a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination.
The program itself began earlier this year after the school received its latest achievement results. Margolis said the Lunch Bunch came from the schools School Improvement Team and is tied to that teams goals. She said several other schools in the district have similar programs targeting specific subgroups of students who are at risk.
According to meeting minutes, Madison introduced the club to the PTO in February as part of the school and districts equity work.
Parent Vicki Haviland, who is white and has three children at Dicken, said she is supportive of the overall program. Haviland is the secretary of the Dicken PTO and has filed papers for the open school board seat.
I think the African-American Lunch Bunch is totally in line with the districts equity work, she said. I think the field trip was a fine idea.
She said she hopes the school and the district would do a better job in talking about (race in education). Clearly there are people who dont feel heard about it.
Intimidation, or fear of intimidation, is a powerful tool in education.
Reading, Writing and Math!
It’s criminal when they do not just teach these children the basics of what they will need to survive. I don’t care what color they are.
Homeschooled ours and our youngest is graduating H.S and starting college a year early. In the top 10% of the SAT’s. Like she said, “Not that hard to do Dad”.
Not that hard because it’s being dumbed down more and more. (Her words)
Unbelievable. So he’s saying kids can’t succeed unless they “see someone like me”?. BS, I was a teacher. This is liberal, Bill Ayers, PC crap.
Can you imagine what would be said if they had done this for a group of white kids?
Kurt Vonnegut must be relishing this story in his grave. His satire (Harrison Bergeron) is proving so prophetic.
A note to the professors whose children no doubt go to that school...DIVERSITY IS GREAT...until your kid is the victim of it. Then it kinda sucks, doesn’t it.
Come on professors - stand up and be counted. Minority kids were given preference this time...what the hell do you think your law school (and, no doubt, every other department) does? Come on guys...if you bitch about your kids getting shafted, how about the very smart kids that went to high school in Bloomfield Hills and got rejected, so that some unqualified kid from Pontiac could be admitted to the university (just to drop out, once enough diversity photos had been taken) - how about it?
Justifying discrimination as a means to reparate 2 1/2 century old discrimination.
This guy is absolutely tone deaf. If this letter to Parents is his starting point, then how does any parent find a way to resolve this short of withdrawing their children from this school?? This guy is a Public employee, and he is obviously blindly clueless to that fact, because he has probably been allowed to get away with this kind of thinking for far too long. Too many people listen to guys like this and blindly accept them as experts on how best to teach their children.
I’ll be he pulls down well over $100 Grand a year in taxpayer financed salary too...
Textbook case for home schooling.
This so-called education professional should be immediately fired.
Does this principal not see the benefit in having ALL students listen to a rocket scientist who is also a member of a minority? I would think that the white students would have learned something, as well. But by separating the students, he only created more division.
Frankly, Bob, I doubt that most U of M Marxists...um, professors would oppose what this man did, even if it did happen to their children. I think a lot of them would use it as a teaching lesson on why Affirmative Action is necessary (because blacks are kept down so far that they need a special hand up, blah, blah, blah). This sort of thing just springs from the same mindset as Affirmative Action, i.e. that it’s OK to discriminate, just so long as it is against the right groups of people.
Loopy Louie Hayes?
Where did the Honky Lunch Bunch go on their last field trip? Is there a special racial group for each lunch bunch and each trip? Are they assigned specific tables when they’re not on field trips? Segregation, it’s baaaack!
I hear you, but even Marxists have a way of getting their backs up, when it’s THEIR KIDS being burned. They may be on their quest to destroy the evils of capitalism, but they also want to be sure that their kids don’t leach off of them when they grow up.
But who knows...it’s even possible that the parents are simply blue-collar...although no one would bother caring what that bunch thought.
“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS” comes to mind.
Should have done lunch at State Pen, Cell Block 7, lots of AA “Rocket Scientists” there.
Perhaps some of the class could be “Scared Straight”.
I cannot imagine that black kids in Ann Arbor face a single roadblock or challenge in their pursuing education. If anything, I suspect they face quite the opposite.
“Does this principal not see the benefit in having ALL students listen to a rocket scientist who is also a member of a minority? I would think that the white students would have learned something, as well. But by separating the students, he only created more division.”
We have a Bingo at Post #18.