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Field trip for black students sparks controversy at Ann Arbor elementary school
AnnArbor.Com ^ | 5/3/2010 | David Jesse

Posted on 05/04/2010 4:06:51 PM PDT by Altura Ct.

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 school’s 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 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.”

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 there’s 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 school’s School Improvement Team and is tied to that team’s 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 district’s 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 district’s 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 don’t feel heard about it.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: blackstudents; multiculturalism; publiceducation; race; racism; segregation
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1 posted on 05/04/2010 4:06:51 PM PDT by Altura Ct.
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To: Altura Ct.

Can you imagine what might happen if they had a field trip for white students only?


2 posted on 05/04/2010 4:08:23 PM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like what you say))
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To: Altura Ct.

Maybe they’ll schedule a field trip for the White kids, to where Toby Gerhart is training. That way, they can get encouragement that they too can become white running backs in the NFL.


3 posted on 05/04/2010 4:10:43 PM PDT by MuttTheHoople
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To: Altura Ct.
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 didn’t 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.

I hope Madison learned something from the "discussion", because the kids got the message loud and clear.
4 posted on 05/04/2010 4:12:15 PM PDT by LostInBayport (2010 - The Second American Revolution. The first shot was fired 1/19/2010 -- here in Massachusetts!)
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To: Altura Ct.

Separate and unequal... How liberal of them.


5 posted on 05/04/2010 4:12:30 PM PDT by RJL
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To: Altura Ct.

I would have been P!ssed beyond measure if my daughter had been left out of a field trip to see a Rocket Scientist.

What kind of bigots are these people to deny those students this trip, solely on their race?

Martin Luther King is rolling in his grave.


6 posted on 05/04/2010 4:12:33 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: freeangel

Yes, I do. I would have heard the shrieks and screams all the way down here in Texas.


7 posted on 05/04/2010 4:13:16 PM PDT by bigredkitty1 (March 5,2010. Rest in peace, sweet boy. I will miss you, Big Red.)
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To: Altura Ct.

No public school should have any difference in what they do for their students reguardless of race. If he wanted thses kids to see the guy the whole clkass should’ve went not just the black students.


8 posted on 05/04/2010 4:13:34 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: LostInBayport

I like the next line...

“He wasn’t yelling at them. He was very passionate about it,” Margolis said.

BS, he yelled at them. They got chastised for being ripped off a field trip and Margolis accomplished JUST what he wanted. The non-black kids are now less than the black.


9 posted on 05/04/2010 4:14:40 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Altura Ct.
a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination

Good to see that the children are getting early in-depth training in how to use the race and victim cards.
10 posted on 05/04/2010 4:14:51 PM PDT by chickadee
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To: Altura Ct.

Ummm, isn’t that segregation?


11 posted on 05/04/2010 4:15:18 PM PDT by marstegreg
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To: Altura Ct.

This is so stupid, it makes me sick! Damn, we black people have some FOOLS in charge. If the FOOLS had thought about it a little better, then they would have taken all of the kids. White kids could have benefited by hearing from a Black rocket engineer. Think about how that would have helped race relations. Don’t let ANYONE dumb your child down in the name of “equality” or “progress”!


12 posted on 05/04/2010 4:15:39 PM PDT by Clock King (There's no way to fix D.C.)
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To: freeangel

Can you imagine what might happen if they had a field trip for white students only?


Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jackson, and every other Afro-Racist would be looking for rope and a strong tree to string up some white folks...if they had a whites only field trip

Need to start calling blacks, Hispanics...when they commit racist acts...as “racists”. Time to get some backbone...and cut out the wimpy political correctness


13 posted on 05/04/2010 4:15:43 PM PDT by UCFRoadWarrior (JD Hayworth for Senate ..... jdforsenate.com)
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To: Altura Ct.
"...it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.

Wow, even them?

14 posted on 05/04/2010 4:16:31 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Altura Ct.

Separate, but equal?


15 posted on 05/04/2010 4:19:38 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: Lancey Howard
"Wow, even them? "

The soft bigotry of low expectations.

Bush was right, about this, and apparently several other things.

16 posted on 05/04/2010 4:20:57 PM PDT by OldDeckHand
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To: netmilsmom

I missed that! A defensive admission. Sounds like the parents have given the school an earful, and rightfully so.


17 posted on 05/04/2010 4:21:08 PM PDT by LostInBayport (2010 - The Second American Revolution. The first shot was fired 1/19/2010 -- here in Massachusetts!)
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To: Altura Ct.

racist, racist, racist


18 posted on 05/04/2010 4:21:27 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)
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To: LostInBayport
She said he and the class had a “discussion” about race issues.

She told them that some pigs are more equal than others.

I heard many parents refused to comment to the media, because they were afraid of the backlash from the schools.

19 posted on 05/04/2010 4:22:45 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)
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To: netmilsmom

I know someone that volunteers at an aftershool science program for minority students at a local college. If they stick with the program until college they get free tuition (if accepted by the school). Fourth grade: 30+ students. By sixth grade there were only 2. If kids aren’t motivated or have significant parental involvement they just won’t do the hard work. You can’t just shove them into a program and hope it sticks.


20 posted on 05/04/2010 4:22:57 PM PDT by NoExpectations
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To: Altura Ct.
Principle Michael Madison


21 posted on 05/04/2010 4:23:06 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Altura Ct.
Principal Michael Madison
22 posted on 05/04/2010 4:26:06 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Altura Ct.

Behold the very epitome...

of racism.


23 posted on 05/04/2010 4:28:01 PM PDT by TruthHound ("He who does not punish evil commands it to be done." --Leonardo da Vinci)
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To: OldDeckHand
Actually, the field trip would have been a good idea if and only if all students had the opportunity to attend.

The next time around, the teacher should take all the students to Gettysburg.


This ain't an exercise in affirmative action, it's the time old segregation action practiced by the other side now.
24 posted on 05/04/2010 4:29:21 PM PDT by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress!)
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To: Lancey Howard

That photo needs to be cropped in order to be accurate. Losing the ‘en’ will do it.


25 posted on 05/04/2010 4:33:04 PM PDT by LostInBayport (2010 - The Second American Revolution. The first shot was fired 1/19/2010 -- here in Massachusetts!)
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To: Altura Ct.

I’m a UofM grad. Believe me, the entire town is Communist!


26 posted on 05/04/2010 4:34:06 PM PDT by Doc Savage (SOBAMP!)
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To: Altura Ct.

So when is the white kids’ trip?


27 posted on 05/04/2010 4:34:36 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: GeronL
She told them that some pigs are more equal than others.

I would have loved to eavesdrop on that 'discussion', because I'll bet there was at least one kid who asked Madison to explain how the segregation was fair or not a racist act. That must have been some tap dance of an answer.
28 posted on 05/04/2010 4:35:11 PM PDT by LostInBayport (2010 - The Second American Revolution. The first shot was fired 1/19/2010 -- here in Massachusetts!)
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To: Altura Ct.

...and the trees were all kept equal by hatchet axe and saw.


29 posted on 05/04/2010 4:36:19 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: chickadee
I'm pretty certain a female muslim card trumps a black race card. I mean you've got female (perceived victim), muslim (perceived victim) both together, and we all know how hard muslims can be on women, so being female and muslim is like victim2.
30 posted on 05/04/2010 4:38:52 PM PDT by 6SJ7 (atlasShruggedInd = TRUE)
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To: LostInBayport

Ha. That would be interesting.


31 posted on 05/04/2010 4:44:03 PM PDT by GeronL (http://libertyfic.proboards.com << Get your science fiction and fiction test marketed)
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To: NoExpectations
they just won’t do the hard work.

hard work....the only way to bridge the achievement gap. We need to stop keeping school data by race. Data based on achievement of individual students and how the succeed with each teacher might have some benefit.

32 posted on 05/04/2010 4:46:30 PM PDT by Freee-dame
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To: Altura Ct.

“Momma! Momma! We gots to hear a rocket scientiss!”


33 posted on 05/04/2010 4:47:53 PM PDT by LiberConservative ("Who is John Galt?")
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To: Lancey Howard
Principal Michael Madison:
Accomplishment most proud of: survived 31 years in AAPS! :)

If you or I singled out one race, our race, for special treatment we would already be dismissed. Sadly, the racist Michael Madison can expect to be around many more years.

34 posted on 05/04/2010 4:48:39 PM PDT by RJL
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To: Clock King

You make a great point. The white kids would definitely have benefited from seeing a black role model just as the black kids did. It’s not only about racial identity, but also racial understanding. Seems as though some people can’t see beyond their own race, regardless of their color.


35 posted on 05/04/2010 4:52:51 PM PDT by Jackson57
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To: Altura Ct.

Fifth grade? Kids being relentlessly exposed to discrimination every which way? Guess it’s nothing Ann Arbor didn’t ask for.


36 posted on 05/04/2010 4:53:49 PM PDT by EDINVA (Ihttp://www.freerepublic.com/perl/post?id=2503873%2C89#help)
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To: 6SJ7
A gal I know in my HR department defines it this way:

Black, female = a Twofer.

Black, female, lesbian = a Threefer.

Black, female, lesbian, over 40 years old = Untouchable beyond CEO.

37 posted on 05/04/2010 4:55:55 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: Clock King

If they thought about it more, they would have taken all the students ...

Definitely agree. All the kids should have been able to hear the special speaker. Perhaps he could have come to classrooms. My kids ought to think more about careers other than farming and-or professional rodeo.


38 posted on 05/04/2010 4:58:49 PM PDT by Cloverfarm (This too shall pass ...)
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To: Altura Ct.

Fuggetabout it, Jake. It’s Ann Arbor.


39 posted on 05/04/2010 4:59:59 PM PDT by No Truce With Kings (I can see November from my house.)
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To: Doc Savage

“I’m a UofM grad. Believe me, the entire town is Communist!”

I was born in Ann Arbor, grew up there, got an Engineering degree there, and headed to Texas as soon as I had my diploma.

It’s what any sane person would do.


40 posted on 05/04/2010 5:01:41 PM PDT by No Truce With Kings (I can see November from my house.)
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To: Altura Ct.

Michigan, home of the Commie Conyers, addled Dingell, and union-created unemployment.

Why not play the race game instead of offering all children the chance to met a real scientist?

Sad. I remember when astronauts, diplomats and actors used to come to my son’s elementary school, and who met with whole classes on safety (David Prowse, Darth Vader), possibly Sen. John Glen (astronaut, politician),etc.

Using the rocket scientist as a person to emulate, during Black History Month, would have been a good means of presenting black achievement in America to all the students, and to show that in America, anyone can rise to the top despite their race, ethnic background, religion, etc.

Another missed teaching moment.


41 posted on 05/04/2010 5:09:40 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: netmilsmom
I would have been P!ssed beyond measure if my daughter had been left out of a field trip to see a Rocket Scientist.

Rocket surgeons and brain scientists are a dime a dozen, I want my g/kids to go on a field trip to meet Walter Williams.

42 posted on 05/04/2010 5:10:06 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (No Romney,No Mark Kirk (Illinois), not now, not ever!)
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To: No Truce With Kings

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that Schools of Education — from which such worthies as Madison are drawn — are nearly the lowest form of “higher” education. Art schools are more chaotic (but, granted, more fun) and varsity athletic students are nearly illiterate (taught some — real data) but education schools seem to produce idiots like this on a regular basis.

So it’s not AA so much as it is the entire way that we train and recruit teachers. A terrible lack of basic skills and common sense reinforced by a mushy leftist ideological educational training program. So, we first need to clear out the ed. schools and start recruiting some more pragmatic folks.


43 posted on 05/04/2010 5:14:39 PM PDT by wjr123 (Schools of Education)
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To: NoExpectations

WOW!


44 posted on 05/04/2010 5:16:17 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Altura Ct.

I think it would be fun for a parents group to organize a consolation field-trip for the kids that got left out. This trip would be just for kids that didn’t get to go on the other trip, independent of their race.

I wonder how loud the screams of racism would be?


45 posted on 05/04/2010 5:25:13 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Made from The Right Stuff)
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To: marstegreg

“Ummm, isn’t that segregation?”

Nope. The door doesn’t swing both ways.


46 posted on 05/04/2010 5:32:25 PM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We are an Oligarchy now and worse if we fail. TeaParty On...)
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To: Graybeard58

>>I want my g/kids to go on a field trip to meet Walter Williams.<<

Oh well I’d be a volunteer on that one.


47 posted on 05/04/2010 5:32:25 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Altura Ct.

I wonder if they let all non-white students go?

About Dicken Elementary School

* Dicken Elementary School is located in Ann Arbor, MI and is one of 21 elementary schools in Ann Arbor. It is a public school that serves 375 students in grades K-5.

Dicken Elementary School made AYP in 2009. Under No Child Left Behind, a school makes Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) if it achieves the minimum levels of improvement determined by the state of Michigan in terms of student performance and other accountability measures. See Dicken Elementary School’s test results to learn more about school performance.

Dicken Elementary School Student Diversity

* Students by Ethnicity (2008)
* White 65 %
* Black 20 %
* Asian/Pacific Islander 9 %
* Hispanic 5 %
* American Indian/Alaskan Native < 1 %


48 posted on 05/04/2010 5:35:59 PM PDT by netmilsmom (I am Ilk)
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To: Altura Ct.

.
Sad that this kind of racism is still around in the 21st century. There is no excuse for segregating children by skin color.


49 posted on 05/04/2010 5:51:06 PM PDT by Touch Not the Cat (Where is the light? Wonder if it's weeping somewhere...)
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To: Altura Ct.

What a bunch of morons. If you are planning something for the kids, you should plan for doing it for all of them, or none, or for those who are willing. In any case, it would have done them all good- black, white, or otherwise- to see a black man who has done well (without chasing a ball around.) It would have also been an eye-opener to possibilities for their own careers- and in no case should they have segregated students by race. White kids, black kids, other kids- they all need good role models. This sort of thing irritates me a lot...


50 posted on 05/04/2010 6:19:00 PM PDT by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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