March 29, 2007

Catch-22

Interesting story from the NY Times where a group of black teachers in the West Windsor-Plainsboro (NJ) school district "complained to administrators ... that they were being treated in unfair and insensitive ways." Now, this itself isn't such a novel story. But I thought this was:

Among other problems, they said they were being asked to "over-represent" their race, administrators said. Other teachers would come to them for help in working with black students.

Black teachers have stressed that it wasn't racism they were dealing with but a lack of cultural sensitivity that became a problem as more black teachers were hired, school officials said.

"For example, if you're an African-American teacher, a (nonblack) teacher may come to you for advice about an African-American student's problem," said school human resource specialist Katherine Taylor. "But you can't always be a representative of your race. As teachers, we need to see students as students (rather than races)."

My emphasis. I certainly agree with that emphasized part. But, again, we see the plethora of inherent contradictions found in the "multi-culti diversity" movement. For example, article author Zack Needles writes "...the administrative and teaching staff are primarily white, which can sometimes make it more difficult for minority students to relate to members of the faculty and staff." Needles is hardly alone in this sentiment. It is virtually a conventional wisdom among the edu-babblers. So, if this is the case, how is it "insensitive" for white staff members to seek advice on dealing with African-American students? Don't get me wrong -- as I noted above, I agree with Ms. Taylor. But if the multi-culti diversity crowd insist upon theories that children "relate and learn better" if their teacher is of the same race/ethnicity (among others), then it is merely a logical outcome of this belief that white teachers will -- should -- seek advice from colleagues of different races/ethnicities. After all, imagine if they did not -- and they "saw students as students": They'd be labeled "insensitive" then!!

As I said, it's all full of inherent contradictions. Stay tuned for a detailed (and fairly large) post about the recent imbroglio over the Christina School District's decision to close two city schools, and the inherent contradictions involved in that with regards to past theories of desegregation and the Delaware Neighborhood Schools Law.

Posted by Hube at March 29, 2007 05:43 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

How one explains the desegregation of New Castle County to a 18 year old. (A response to an actual question that occurring while driving her home from an athletic event.)

In the old days, Wilmington used to be an all black school district. Some people said it was not fair that whites had nice schools like Christiana with labs and playing fields, and blacks had to stay in poor run down city schools. They went to court and the court after looking at the evidence, decided that the levels of education were indeed not equal.

To fix it, they got rid of the Wilmington district. They put some blacks in Colonial, some blacks in Christiana, some blacks in Red Clay, and some blacks in Brandywine. Now blacks could go to school in the same buildings and have the same opportunities as whites.

But when blacks first arrived, it became apparent that they were indeed not on the same level as their white classmates. The whole educational process had to grind down and to bring them up to a level equal of white children.

This proved hard to do. What happened was the level of all teaching was simplified and dropped low enough so that all blacks could understand.

Many parents suddenly realizing that their white children were not getting an education, pulled their students out and placed them in private schools. Eventually both levels of public education leveled out and once again were indeed equal, but they were equal at lower standards than they were before.....

I stop here because some may see prejudice. On the day when my heroes, the Tuskegee Airman finally got their Medal of Honor, for escorting over 200 missions without ever losing a single bomber, and hearing the stories of witnesses who saw first hand the magnificence of those aviators,
I won't sully such a great day with any racial annotations.

What I want is to fix the problem. I want all students to learn. There is no reason now why blacks cannot go to school close to their homes in Wilmington and not get better educational opportunities than their suburban counterparts, which ironically are now racially mixed.

In truth, Christiana District may not be able to afford neighborhood schools. But if the state legislature wants to support it's own Neighborhood School's Sanction on every school district, then it needs to come up with the money to make Wilmington take over it's own district.

Wailing at Christiana School District is not the long term solution. Wailing at the Delaware Legislature, IS..........

Posted by: kavips at March 30, 2007 03:50 AM

Kavips, my uncle flew in B-24 Liberators in WWII, and he once told me that "when the red-asses turned up we knew things were going to be okay." (The Tuskeegee Squadron painted the tail sections of their P-51s bright red, hence the nickname.)

Anyway, in the unintended consequences department, while I attended excellent public schools in Montgomery County, MD, my youngest sister went to Shue and then Newark HS. As a result, she developed a fairly strong dislike of blacks, since the only ones she was exposed to were the students they bused in from Wilmington. She also discovered that black kids with whom she'd been friends in middle school no longer associated with her, having been given the whole "acting white" treatment by the city kids. It's not racial, it's cultural.

Posted by: G Rex at March 30, 2007 12:53 PM

Most pilots did not know the red tailed planes were flown by black pilots. Bomber groups often requested their coverage, or refused to fly. Most of the red tailed pilots did not leave, but chose to stay when their stint was up. One pilot was captured by the Germans and out of immeasurable respect, was treated in the POW camp with the respect due of a German officer.

Those warriors are pushing their lifespans now. Is your uncle still alive? At a Philly air show about ten years ago, a man emerged from the crowd, shook the surviving airman's hands, said "if it weren't for you, I and my children would not be alive today....I think everyone's eyes teared a little......

Comparing such gallantry with attitudes from today's schools, and it hits you......it is cultural.

Posted by: kavips at March 30, 2007 06:54 PM