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.
Realize that the field trip is sort of wasted time (kids not on-task with reading, writing, math while traveling around town).
So, the kids who didn’t go on the field trip were getting better instruction, at least as it pertains to any upcoming standardized testing.
If I were a parent of a minority child who went on the trip, I would want to know what my child missed/what the other kids back at the school were learning in their lessons that day so that I could go over that material myself with my kids.
I don’t understand the problem. They were just celebrating ‘Take Your African-American to Work’ day.
Unbelievable! A field trip for black kids only??????
It’s amazing how much time is wasted in the classroom on crap like this. I agree with an earlier post that what these kids and all kids need is quality instruction. It’s not going to do these kids any good to finally get to college and not be able to complete the necessary work because they wasted their valuable learning time on a field trip. I see this all the time as a substitute teacher. Some days I add up the time we spend on legitimate lessons and a lot of the time it’s less than 2 hours (remember I’m following the teacher’s lessons, not my own.) Kids who are homeschooled really don’t miss a lot.
Ultra leftie Ann Arbor?!! ack! I hope you keep educating those twins!
one lawsuit....that’s all I ask.....do we have any courageous patriots who will stand up for their children and the constitution?
I can't believe people are taking this lying down....Americans are growing more pathetic as time goes on...
I guess Obama being on television every day doesn’t count.
“The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported”
Let’s see. You exclude whites and segregate the kids, but exclusion and segregation wasn’t your intent.
I’d say you are a lying sack of excrement.
The principal is black, and like many, if not most, blacks he is racist.
What they don't seem to understand is conservatives do not care about the color of a persons skin, we care about how a person uses their God given (not government given) talents to succeed.
LOL! Well played. That video was just an instant classic.
close public schools
State representatives in Michigan could stop everything like this with the passage of just one well written law. Its up to the people of Michigan to make them do it. It CAN be done.
50% - Would Obama have qualified?
They have made teaching secondary to social engineering.
Don't you just love the teacher who thinks you're too dumb to teach her class so makes it a movie day?
diversity..except when seperate but equal is better.
Sadly, this school is a microcosm of American Public Schools.
Actually, Ann Arbor isn’t “majority white” - technically, it’s a very mixed-culture community, due in large part to the number of people from a lot of different cultures who work at or attend the University of Michigan. Although the majority of the white folks who live there are the typical granola-crunching, tree-hugging liberals that infest many large “college towns.”
I live in Macomb County, where there are also a number of different ethnic groups, all of which are represented in the public schools. Black children in many of our school districts - in part, we believe, because of the variety - seem to be more focused on getting a good education and doing their best.
That attitude comes from the parents at home - and it’s supported by the schools; not the other way around. It’s only in places like Detroit, Pontiac, Ann Arbor, and other areas where the leftist-liberal agenda is tied to money coming in from out of the district or the state that there is such a focused effort to perpetuate the black entitlement mentality.
Well, Wikipedia lists Ann Arbor as 75% white. So, yes, it is correct to say that it is majority white. Only around 8% of the population there is black. The largest group of minorities are Asians. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor, and believe me, it is *very* white compared to a lot of places I’ve lived in and visited before. I guess one’s perceptions of these sorts of things are relative to one’s own previous experiences.
The comments are the source’s web site are interesting. Yes, there are people defending racial discrimination.
We need to spend billions integrating schools, we need to do all we can to foster diversity because, like you know, diversity is our strength.
Then, once everyone is together in one big group hug, we can pick out the black kids and send them off by themselves on a field trip.
The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported...Correction:
The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students
as has been reported, even though that's what we specifically did...
The liberals are setting the black kids up (at least the majority of them) with the idea that they don't need to try as hard, because they are entitled to special treatment. They are training the white kids to doubt that any black person has earned the right to his position, either in school or in career.
If such policies are practiced widely, any of the black kids who excel in academics or in their chosen career will have this cloud hanging over them until they achieve wide recognition for their abilities and accomplishments, usually late in life.
Typical liberal problem. It's not whether the program works, it's whether your heart was in the right place. If you were trying to do good (by the liberal creed), it doesn't matter whether your efforts were beneficial or deleterious. It's the thought that counts.
Here's a thought: Wouldn't it have been beneficial to the white kids to hear the black scientist talk? Wouldn't they have learned something about science? Wouldn't it do them as much good as it did for the black kids to see a successful black professional? Wouldn't it have been good for both white and black kids to see all of the students treated equally?
We have a bunch of gutless state legislators in Michigan from both parties, so don’t hold your breath. They’ll huff, they’ll puff, then they’ll go sit themselves down. They have better things to do like raise taxes and suck up to public employee unions—both parties.
>>>diversity..except when seperate but equal is better.<<<
This is even worse than “seperate but equal”. If the non-black kids had their own, equivalent field trip, that would be separate but equal.
This is seperate and unequal.
The principal is in direct violation of the Michigan law against discrimination, but we all know these laws (just like "hate crime" laws) go only one way.
By the way......
the Obamas get to go on taxpayer funded "field trips."