<p>My younger daughter attends a inner city high school that is fairly diverse- 43% are white-and 33%are african american.
It is a wonderful school- full of opportunities for students and has by far one of the highest rate of graduation and college entrance of any school in the district ( for all groups)
However often the perception in the larger community is that of a school divided. While students are encouraged and supported to take challenging classes, not all students do, partly because some aren't interested in the level of work, and partly because some haven't been supported in earlier grades to be at the level where going to college or even taking a challenging course is on their wavelenght I suspect.
In the media it is often painted as having white kids on 3rd floor- asian kids on 2nd floor- AA kids on 1st floor. Adding to the idea that it is segregated.( my daughter who is white & her 4 best friends who are not have classes all over the school)
However you ask the kids and they will disagree- much of the problems have come from adults- who remember what the school was like when they attended 50 years ago, or from adults who seem to be afraid of their children succeeding and so train them to think that they can't.
As part of a concerted effort to engage students in dialog re: race & history, the chair of the history dept introduced a race relations class that has been well received by the students ( but not so well by district as the subjects coverd aren't needed on the WASL)- it is an honors level class and the teacher is fighting to keep it so, because he wants students who take the class seriously .
A very vocal minority of community members( mostly not from the school community)- are arguing because the class is honors and because students are expected to do more work than in a minimum level class, that it is racist and should be ended unless anyone with any GPA can participate.</p>
<p>I disagree and find it very ironic that the africian american community members who are arguing that the class is * too tough* for black kids- often have Ph.ds themselves- received in a time when it was much tougher for AA students to succeed.
I feel that if the teacher feels that the honors designation needs to stay- then it should- the class has inspired others to particpate more fully in their other classes so they can participate in racerelations.
I work with many of these kids, I know they can do the work, I have a feeling that these older gentlemen who are arguing that it is too tough, are blinded by their prejudice regarding how these young men dress. Anyone who wears pant 20x too big can't possibly have a brain in their body!
I have been very frustrated however recently as upon being alerted that the closure of the class was on the table that these older members of the community overran the PTA meeting, allowing very few others to speak ( including the principal who is black) and lectured on Brown vs board/lynching/slavery etc, and refused to wrap up or give specific questions/suggestions when asked by PTA chair.
I came home and just cried- I was so frustrated- additionally students who came to the parent meeting in support of the class- were not allowed to speak and were in shock as they had never seen such anger directed at ( mostly white parents) ..
I want to keep the lines of dialog open, but how do you deal with bullies?
These men are very articulate ( even though they don't get to the point) and cry racisim every time they were asked to finish up.
personally I don't think community members if they haven't been asked to participate should over run the parent group meetings.
Unfortunately there apparently isn't a precedent to limit their time-and while I have been asked to be on the board next year- I am afraid that I will allow them to push my buttons as I don't have patience to wait until they decide we can get back to the agenda.
any suggestions? thoughts? should it be canceled because it doesn't "teach to the test"? because it is above basic requirements?</p>