CBS: SJ Principal Defends ‘Brown Boys’ Message Board

8 06 2012

“Keeping our black and brown boys in mind,” reads the bulletin board in a staff meeting room. “Tell me what’s racist about this,” says the principal. Well, virtually everything. While the principal may claim that there’s nothing “racist or exclusionary” about the bulletin board, it pretty much defines racist and exclusionary.

First, your singling out a group of individuals based on the color of their skin. Next, you’re drawing a direct correlation between skin color and academic performance. You are not looking at other factors that may have an impact on academic success, such as socio-economic status, education level of parents, ambition and desire to learn on the part of the student, discipline both at home and in the classroom, IQ, language acquisition level, language used at home, enrollment in extracurricular activities or after school programs, enrollment in any intervention or special education/resource programs, religious and cultural impact on the perception of academic importance, how many times the student has changed schools during their academic career, whether parents are together or divorced, effect and influence of both older and younger siblings, and many other factors too numerous to mention.

Nope, it’s just race. Skin color and gender. Black and brown boys. Single them out, give them extra attention, and that will fix things. Don’t worry about the girls. Don’t worry about the whites or asians. They’ll do fine on their own.

I end up in conversations fairly regularly where we discuss “what’s the problem with public education.” This is isn’t the be-all, end-all, this is definitely an article to put in a file entitled, “THE PROBLEM.”

– dEV

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May 31, 2012 5:30 PM

SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – An anonymous email sent to CBS 5 Wednesday criticized a staffroom board that reminds teachers to keep “our black and brown boys in mind” as racist. But the principal of that school said the board is not racism, and isn’t going anywhere.

Principal Joyce Millner has been working in the Oak Grove School District for close to 40 years. She said the board reflects the harsh reality of an achievement gap facing her teachers and students.

“When you look at our data deeper, the most significant gap is between the boys. The boys are struggling the most and the black and brown boys for sure,” said Millner, the principal of Baldwin Elementary. “What I personally consider disturbing to me is that that gap is still existing.”

A look at school data shows that 80 percent of the students at Baldwin are minorities, with only the white and Asian students averaging over 800 on the state achievement exam. Black and Hispanic students fell below the state minimum 800 score.

Millner said that the methods being used to address the gap aren’t working in most places, so she is spearheading the focus on the students who are struggling most.

(Full Story with Video)




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