Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ann Arbor’s Blacks-only Field Trip vs. Outrage

The reason that the job of a leader is lonely is because a leader must not play favorites, less the disfavored rise up and spite him. Our constitution does a good job in demanding that the citizens of these United States get treated equally. Over the years, more work has gone into seeing that White men following these laws of our land, and now we can add Ann Arbor’s Dicken Elementary School Principal Mike Madison to that list, with a twist.

It seems that Madison is Black, and recently authorized a Blacks-only field trip, for a science class to hear a speech by a rocket scientist, who (you guessed it) happens to be Black. White class members were excluded from the trip, on the basis of their race. Madison’s goal was to expose the Black children to new possibilities for their futures. He may have done this, but he also exposed himself as a racist idiot.

Who is he, as the chief-educator for the entire school, to suggest that there was not mutual benefit available and responsibility to all the kids who might hear the inspiring words of a rocket scientist? Who is he to direct that resources, provided for the benefit of all the students, should be directed to educational programs for a select group? What kind of strategy for closing the achievement gap for Black kids includes limiting educational support for non-Blacks?

This is simple. If, in seeking more White players in the NBA, a White principal made a Whites-only field trip to meet Phoenix Sun’s star basketball player, Steve Nash, who is White, Blacks would not hesitate to express their outrage. So put me on the record for some Black outrage at Principal Knucklehead. If my kid were in that school, Madison would need to explain to the school board why he should get to keep his job. Period. Story (here).

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

He should be fired. There's no two ways about it. His actions after the trip has shown that he's nothing but another black racist on the taxpayers' dime. Seen many of them during my 13 years of public education. Hard for a man to discuss race relations and racism when he's racist and sets race relations back.

Clifton B said...

I completely agree with you. In his apology letter to parents Mr. Madison wrote:

“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."

What I would love to ask Mr. Madison is what exactly would have prevented the black children from feeling the same excitement, enthusiasm and energy if children of other races were present? Somehow, I think Mr. Madison would have given his best Ralph Cramden impersonation for an answer.

Topher said...

It would be interesting to know whether this group was specifically targeted because of lower achieving test scores. Almost across the board black students are scoring much lower than all other students (specifically black boys do the worst). Specific services that target lower achieving students should be commended (whether it be gender, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status). Also, readers should check out U of M's Carla O'Connor's research into black student groups and her (perhaps to some) surprising findings. What is very interesting to me is that AA started an initiative to address and bring race to the forefront - this is doing that. I commend Dicken and AAPS for aiming to make a more equitable world. For parent and community memebers that are outraged - let's continue the dialogue and work together to make sure that all students succeed. Different groups of students will have different needs. Until the achievement gap is closed, groups and programs like this are necessary.

Anonymous said...

Topher, maybe we should segregate the schools again to focus on these problems?

Anonymous said...

This story is so confusing. I've heard the following possibilities:

1. The principal excluded White students from going (what you posted), but that doesn't make sense when they say about 30 students went, because that means some Black kids (and Asians and Hispanics, the school is relatively diverse) were excluded too.

2. The kids who went were part of "The Lunch Bunch", a group for struggling students that just happens to be all-Black.

3. The students were part of "The African American Lunch Bunch"...'nuff said.

4. The principal hand-picked the kids to go on the trip.

I'm sure there are other possibilities, but those are the ones I've heard most often from various news sources. It seems like there's some contradiction as to whether a) "The Lunch Bunch" club, b) the field trip group, or c) both were deliberately segregated by race, so I don't really have an opinion until the real story comes to light.

Anonymous said...

JCC, love seeing you comment on this. But it wasn't just one field trip, there was apparently a weekly pizza and basketball party (where's the educational value in that?) exclusively for black students. He also allegedly berated the non-black ten-year-old (!) students who were upset about it. He should be fired, disgraced, and blackballed but he won't, which speaks volumes about both the asymmetrical racial dialogue in this country and the grotesque abuse of our public school system by teachers unions.

Bennett said...

Exposing children of ALL ethnic backgrounds to a black rocket scientist would go a long way towards inspiring ALL of the children. He did his black students a disservice by excluding white students from this experience. It's one thing to KNOW you can achieve great things, it's another thing to know your white classmates know this too.

As we move further and further away from being a manufacturing nation, a focus on math and science is our only hope for rebuilding the middle class. We need every child to understand that they can contribute to the future, but only if they embrace the opportunities.

I'm a member of the local school board, and we would not tolerate this disturbing short sighted behavior by a school principal.