Blacks choose military charter

A military charter school aimed at urban black students is starting its first year, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Founder My Lai Tenner , formerly an administrator at suburban schools, advertised on a hip-hop radio station, and “quickly filled the 250 open slots for grades 5 through 8.” Hundreds more students, nearly all black, are on the waiting list for Charles Young Military Academy.

A tightly run military atmosphere with demerits for unclean uniforms or even untrimmed nails: That’s a pledge drawing hundreds of middle-school students to one of the state’s most popular new charter schools this fall.

. . . The rules, Tenner says, aim “to make sure they have the tools to function in society. If they have these skills, we feel, they’ll be able to do some good things.”

. . . Tenner doesn’t have military experience but says his mother, an Army sergeant, instilled him with discipline. “I’ve kind of been in her boot camp for years,” he said. It was his mother who gave him the name My Lai, to mark the significance of the 1968 massacre of Vietnamese villagers by American soldiers.

For the military academy, almost half of the staff he’s hired has a military background, he said, including a retired drill sergeant.

The academy will require parents to volunteer two hours of time a month. Students will wear West Point-style uniforms.

I think there’s great demand in the inner city for schools that provide structure, discipline and high expectations.

About Joanne


  1. superdestroyer says:

    For those of you who have been in the military, many will realize that black americans have a different relationship with marching, calling cadence (singing “Jodies:, and uniforms than most non-black members in the military.

    That being said, I think the idea of a school for black students where marching (a proxy for dancing), calling cadence (a proxy for singing) and neat uniforms (a proxy for shining shoes) is about the most racist idea that anyone ever purposes. No upper middle class white family would every dream of sending their children to a school where shining shoes is considered more important than reading literature, then why should we expect blacks to go to such schools.

    Also, the idea of a military school is always couched in terms of discipline as if black are incapable of behaving in a normal environment and need some sort of special environment.

  2. Marching is a proxy for dancing? Wow, I wish I had known that in middle school. Would have saved me the heartache of trying to learn the Electric Slide and the Macarena.

  3. I’m sure the black parents choosing this school believe their children will learn more literature, etc. in a disciplined environment than in a conventional public school. Nobody’s proposing requiring military school for anyone.

    Some upper-middle-class whites do send their children to private military schools, by the way.

  4. Andy Freeman says:

    > No upper middle class white family would every dream of sending their children to a school where shining shoes is considered more important than reading literature, then why should we expect blacks to go to such schools.

    Who says that military schools have consider shining shoes more important than reading literature?

    Of course, even if military schools did have those relative priorities, it’s still possible, likely even, that military schools place a higher priority on literature than do the public schools that these kids would otherwise attend.

  5. mike from oregon says:

    Superdestroyer – the chip on your shoulder is showing; and I thought it was white folk that were bigots. Might I point out that it’s a charter school, that means NO ONE is FORCED to attend it. Obviously, the parents who WANT (and to me, a waiting list represents a want) to send their kids there believe that instilling some of the discipline required in a military type of system will be good for the child; I agree with them.

    As for sending a child to a military school, I had a daughter (I’m white by the way) that I seriously considered sending to a military school. Look at how many military schools are expensive and private and have almost nothing but white students.

    Sorry, your posting is the old tired ramblings. I guess you’d prefer to continue to send them to the public schools that continue to fail them. If you say, “Well, fix the public schools” – we’ve been trying, that’s what NCLB is all about but even that is getting messed with. Eventually you have to dump what isn’t working and try something that WILL work.

  6. superdestrroyer says:


    I just find it racist that the upper middle class white want science and technology magnets or social science magents in their school districts but think its OK for blacks to have schools where shining shoes is more important than algebra or world history.

    Another thing to consider is that an all white military school will be a different place than an all black military school. In the military, it is the black NCO’s that have the tradition of running drill teams and singing Jodies (calling cadence). Blacks in the military view their uniforms differently than whites in the military.

    An all black military academy play to strong themes in the black community than most whites just do not comprehend and those themes have little to do with academic learning.

  7. Gang, “superdestroyer” is being satirical. Considering the number of middle-class whites who send their children to military school, and the upper-class doing it to the point that it’s become a cliche; not to mention the collegiate military academies.

    Heck, I went to a Hawaiian school where JROTC was mandatory.

    Superdestroyer’s post is obviously a farce or him being satirical, since no one could actually be that ignorant. Could they?


  8. Mike in Texas says:

    Hmmm, parents required to volunteer two hours a month? Too bad the public schools can’t have this rule.

  9. Mad Scientist says:

    Required to volunteer? Sounds like forced labor to me.

  10. mike from oregon says:

    Superdestroyer –
    You’re just HARD to believe, as you can see, some believe your writings HAVE to be a farce or a joke, because that’s the amount of sense it makes. Allow me to point out some things that you are obviously unaware of –

    1) You say that “white” areas want magnet schools. Please note, magnet schools and charter schools are not the same. You could start a charter school that had extra emphasis on science or technology, in fact, some have. However, someone decided that they would start a charter school that would help kids obtain a sense of discipline and respect using the principles based on the way the military does things. This does NOT mean that the school can not meet certain levels of achievement. In fact, since it’s a charter school, if it doesn’t meet the standards, it’s gone – an option that we DON’T have for regular public schools. So your argument that shining shoes will be more important than algebra or history is WRONG.

    2) I don’t know what ‘old time’ films you’ve been watching, but the military is about as color blind as they come. Drill sargents are of both colors, chances are equal that a white, color, hispanic or asian might be calling out cadence on any given day. I know, I was in the military.

    3) As for your “Blacks in the military view their uniforms differently than whites in the military.” I hope not, at least not in the front of their drill instructor. He’ll throw your locker on the floor for having the socks as little as 1/4″ out of line, just like he’ll throw mine on the floor for it. He doesn’t care the color of your skin. Your uniform better be pressed and clean or you’ll be doing the same KP duty and worse, just like I will be. If on the other hand you mean they take a lot of pride in it, they should and so does any white or hispanic or asian who is wearing ANY kind of military uniform. Among other things it means you are doing something special, something extra that others weren’t able, or capable or willing to do and that makes you special and you should be proud of it.

    4) “…all white military school will be a different place than an all black military school.” The only thing I will concede you is that the majority of black military schools seemed maybe a tad bit harder and better than the whites. As though they felt they WANTED to show that they were as good or better. Military school instills pride, dedication, ambition and even morals to some degree. I would be proud to have any child of mine graduate from a military school; and if my family was trapped in poverty, I’d give my eye teeth to get this kind of opportunity for my child.

    You are SO wrong that the academics won’t be taught, they WILL be taught and they will be taught with a degree of discipline and respect. My bet is missing homework won’t be tolerated, poor test grades will be gone over again and again till the lesson is learned. The children will be taught to address teachers with respect, including “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am”. I, for one, consider this area very lucky to have such a charter starting up in their area.

  11. superdestroyer says:


    I am not being satirical. The idea of a military academy for blacks is about a racist an idea as it is. People think it will be like a mini-West Point (a selective university with an 80% white student body) when a black military will more resemble the band in “drum line.”

    Kalroy, if you have never been in the military you will not understand that blacks view the military very differently than whites. A black academy will quickly become a place where shined shoes and calling Jodies will be important and academic success will be unimportant.

    Comparing residential military academies that rich whites send their trouble children to is not the same as an urban children attending a military academy.

  12. “A black academy will quickly become a place where shined shoes and calling Jodies will be important and academic success will be unimportant.”

    …and who will make it that way? Distant white meanies wanting to keep the minorities down? Or the people who actually comprise that school?

    In addition, the same principles (marching, cadences, uniform) that you declare racist for military academies also exist in the military proper, not only in the United States but throughout the world. Are all the world’s armed forces, then, institutionally racist?

    (By the way, the US Army is transitioning to tan boots that do not require shining. I guess the army “man” will have to come up with something new to keep you down.)

  13. The Oakland Military Institute in Oakland, CA, was created by former California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, a raging liberal democrat in a raging liberal (and heavily black) city AGAINST THE WISHES OF THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD AND TEACHERS’ UNION.

    Each of you posting should compare OMI’s academic success to that of the local school district. Superdestroyer, I think you’ll find your fears are unwarranted. BTW, does anyone know if this St. Paul school’s founder is black, white, or something else? I couldn’t find that information in Joanne’s original posting, but such information might shed some light on whether or not this is a “racist” idea or not. (I do not believe it is.)

    For the record, I’m a Republican math teacher in Sacramento. And a West Point graduate.

  14. superdestroyer wrote:

    a black military will more resemble the band in “drum line.”

    That would mean there’s something wrong with fostering discipline, dedication, hard work, talent, enthusiasm, confidence and courage because, whatever the shortcomings of “Drumline” as a movie, those were the qualities that were required of the band members.

    To get back to subject though, there’s a simple way to put an end to Charles Young Military Academy if what you say is right, supe’. Open the doors and when black parents find out the awful truth they’ll pull their kids out and the school will collapse. Provided you’re right, of course.

    If, on the other hand, black parents think this is a fine idea and they see their kids learning what the school promises to teach and what the parents want their kids to learn, well, time for a big helping of humble pie, hey, superdestroyer?

  15. With regard to neat uniforms, they are both discipline builders (instilling the importance of neatness and precision of appearance) and something for the cadets to take pride in. To bring up the evil “s” word, self-esteem, the uniform gives the cadets more self-esteem than a million empty compliments ever will.

    Also, the idea of a military school is always couched in terms of discipline as if black are incapable of behaving in a normal environment and need some sort of special environment.

    I’m going to couch this a little differently: Most kids today, of ANY race, are incapable of operating in a civilized learning environment. I’ve known a lot of kids, more white than anything else, who couldn’t behave with an ounce of decorum if their lives depended on it. Military schools are one solution to this severe lack of discipline, schools like KIPP Academies are another. What isn’t a solution, for white kids, black kids, or any others, is to allow this problem to go on without any sort of correction.

    Lastly, on the playing of the race card itself, I could probably paint Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as racist if I tried. It’s not hard to turn something into a racist act, and quite frankly when the race card is played it’s usually an act of rhetorical cowardice, revealing an irrational position which can’t be defended in any other way.

    In closing, I would like to hear those on this board opposing this military academy form an defense of their position without mentioning race. If that can happen, we might just be able to get a good debate going.

  16. Superdestroyer,
    I’ve been in the military. Nine years. From my personal experience blacks view their uniform and service in just as varied a way as whites do. They are just as proud as whites, asians and Hawaiians. Their treatment of their uniform runs the same gamut, much of that depending on their jobs (the blue-collared jobs tend to be more about “clean, dry, serviceable” and white-collared jobs tend to have a bit more spit and polish (oddly enough like much of the rest of the country).

    Oh, and it turns out white people can sing a jodie too.

    Admittedly the school could be a drum-line if that is what the school is planning, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Also, being a minority doesn’t mean adhering to a certain style. As a Hawaiian, going to a Hawaiian-only high school with a long military tradition, I spent a lot of hours polishing brass and boots, pressing my uniform and even studying leadership development. We drilled IAW Army FM 22-5, and not IAW the Don Ho show. Blacks can drill and comport themselves to 22-5 just fine; after all millions of blacks have done just that.


  17. Superdestroyer says:


    The military academies are always promoted in the black communities. You never hear of a military academy suggested In Rockville, MD; Plano, tx; Katy, Tx; Highland Ranch, Co, etc, or the parts of California with large asian populations. Why? Because those parents know to demand strong college prep for their children instead of a strong emphasis in memorizing Jodies or shining shoes.

    The easiest way to determine if an educational proposal is racist or not is to ask yourself: Does the proposal make the schools more like the schools that Clinton’s, Gore’s, Kerry’s or Edwards’s children attended. My guess is that at Sidwell Friends or Saint Albans there is zero emphasis on shining shoes and a lot more emphasis on literature, science, foreign language, and academic learning.

  18. bluemount says:

    I don’t have a problem with some military schools. Uniforms can be used to simplify a child’s understanding of social presentation and send a fair message to parents regarding appropriate attire. It should mean a child would need to seek some means other than dress to distinguish themselves. When there are problems simple, basic rules are a good place to start.

    I have a problem with using punitive means to cover social problems. When military schools are abusive, target specific individuals or groups; when military schools lack academic strength, they are bad. The biggest consumers of ritalin are suburban white middle-class boys. Why isn’t this article about them?

  19. superdestroyer says:


    It is not about middle class white boys because their parents understand that academic achievement is more important than singing, dancing, and shining shoes.

    The biggest three problems in academic achievement for african american boys is separatism, ant intellectualism, and misogyny. Having an all black military academy with drill sergeants yelling about shined shoes along with drum lines and step shows does nothing to overcome those problems.

  20. What’s up with the obsession with “memorizing Jodies or shining shoes?” Why is there the assumption that this is ALL that a military school for black students will boil down to? Why are the schools that Clinton’s, Gore’s, Kerry’s, or Edward’s kids go to held up as the gold standard? You aren’t assuming that black folk can’t be innovative and create something successful on their own are you? They have to immitate what the white folk do to be credable? Sounds like what that’s your assumption.

    “…a black military will more resemble the band in ‘drum line.'” What’s the justification for that assumption? And for this one, “A black academy will quickly become a place where shined shoes and calling Jodies will be important and academic success will be unimportant.”

    There’s the stench of racisim wafting around here alright but it’s not coming from the direction that you seem to think. And I am not one to use that term lightly. I also sense some poorly concealed hostility towards the military. Are you perhaps setting up to begin the lame argument that the military unfairly targets poor minorities?

  21. It is not about middle class white boys because their parents understand that academic achievement is more important than singing, dancing, and shining shoes.

    As opposed to black parents who disdain academic achievement in favor of singing, dancing and shoe-shining? Too bad I can’t introduce you to some neighbor’s of mine. They’d set you straight about the relative merits of academic achievement versus shoe-shining when it comes to their children.

  22. superdestroyer says:


    Then how do you explain the difference between black parents wanting “military academies with “discipline and uniforms” versus white and asian parents wanting college prep schools with advanced math, science, and foreign languages?

    I do not believe is lower admission standards for black children applying to universities versus white students. How does sending black students to “military schools” going to improve the science, math, and foreign language performance of black children? How is having drill sergeants getting on children about their “ate up” shoes, unforms or hair going to help a black child learn a foreign language or calculus?

    I have always believe that schools are for academic learning and not for social engineering. What I am reading here is a belief that somehow black students are inferior and need to be put in schools where they can be socially engineering into second class citizens because that is all they are capable of.

  23. The fact that you would regard soldiers as second-class citizens speaks volumes to me.

  24. mike from oregon says:

    Superdestroyer –

    My, am I glad you asked, “How does sending black students to “military schools” going to improve the science, math, and foreign language performance of black children?” – the answer is rather simple. Discipline and pride, but before you go racist on me, hear me out. Answer me this, the public schools that we presently have, do they have any kind of discipline? The public schools that we have now, do they presently place importance on learning math, science, and other subjects? The public schools that we now have, do they enforce dress codes?

    Until the school takes the lead to show the kids that you don’t have to look like a hip-hop artist or pimp to be successful; often (too often) those are the “success” models that minority kids aspire to be like. Until the school DEMANDS accountability regarding homework, tests and grades, it’s not important to the kids. Do the public schools that we have now help install pride in both themselves and their school? Until the schools do that, how much concern is the school in the children’s lives.

    To me, the good news is not only that this military style school will open, but (and you apparently refuse to address this issue) if it fails in the area of academics (which is what EVERY parent considers the MOST important thing in school regardless of color) the school will close and it will close within one to two years of it’s opening. One of the only reasons that we don’t have that option with the present public schools is because we would be closing so many of them that we wouldn’t have anywhere to put the children.

  25. Then how do you explain the difference between black parents wanting “military academies with “discipline and uniforms” versus white and asian parents wanting college prep schools with advanced math, science, and foreign languages?

    I don’t have to explain anything. All I have to do is assume that the people who gave birth to those children are much more likely to have that childs best interests at heart then anyone who’s paid to see to the child’s interests.

    And while I disagree categorically with your characterization of military academies, even if you’re right about them you’d still be wrong, if it were in your power, to prevent black parents from sending their children to them.

    The presumptousness embodied in your dismissal of military academies would be breath-taking if it weren’t so common. Are black parents too dumb to know what’s best for their children? That’s certianly the hard-to-ignore assumption that you seem to be making. And further, are white parents so much smarter then black parents that they actually do know what’s good for their children?

    Do I have to spell out how those sorts of assumptions are generally characterized?

  26. The first requirement for learning is to “sit down, shut up, and pay attention.” Public schools often struggle with that. In a military academy, it’s a given. All that cultural baggage of academic excellence being “acting white” is canceled out – because paying attention and doing your best is simply what the institution requires of everyone.

    In military academies, spit and polish, marching, and jodies do not come out of the class time. They come out of the time other kids spend watching TV and playing video games. And class time is truly class time – no minutes lost while the class settles down after the bell, no time lost to clowning and misbehavior.

    No, it won’t measure up to a science geek charter school in academics – but the geek school couldn’t function at all with the kind of kids that get sent to military school. Military school will get kids who weren’t learning anything in public schools to stop fooling around, apply themselves, and learn as much as they can.

    So what’s the racism here? Using the same solution for undisciplined poor black kids as has often been successful for undisciplined wealthy white kids? Or assuming that because the school is full of blacks, it isn’t really teaching?

  27. Does anyone find it odd that the spokeman for this thing is named “My Lai Tenner?”

    I did a little googling and found this:

    “Message is: I was named after the MyLai Massacre in Vietinam. My sister is named Mylaissia as well. I would like to me Captain CAlle. I wouldlike to hearthe words that he speaks personaly about the MyLAi Masscre”

    I have to wonder about someone who is so obsessed as to name their children after a massacre.

  28. “…if you have never been in the military you will not understand that blacks view the military very differently than whites. A black academy will quickly become a place where shined shoes and calling Jodies will be important and academic success will be unimportant…

    That’s about as racist as anything I’ve seen in a long time. And that’s without knowing whether SD is a black who views whites as inherently racist, or a white who thinks that blacks are somehow prone to fixation on “singing, dancing, and shining shoes.”

  29. mike from oregon says:

    Superdestroyer –

    And anyone else, click on the link in Joanne’s snippet and go to the article. Yes, the fellow running the academy IS black. The academy is named after the 3rd black graduate from West Point (something I didn’t know). Bottom line, to everyone (especially superdestroyer) click on the link and read the article, very informative, very interesting.

  30. Superdestroyer says:

    Bart and others,

    Blacks look at the military differently than whites just like blackslook at education differently than whites. I don’t know how many “step shows” they have at Harvard but I would guess it is fewer than at Grambling St. Look at the pep bands at Florida A&M or Southern versus the pep bands at Stanford. Look at the academic majors at University of Virginia versus Norfolk St or Virginia Union.

    A black military academy run by black former drill sergeants will be as academic a back water as Alcorn St is as a back water university.

    Many black activist have pointed out that no one ever proposes public military academy high schools in the suburbs where the white and asian kids live. Yet, somehow blacks need “discipline” and “control” and “leadership” to be able to read Shakespeare when the white kids seem to be able to figure it out without the heavy hand of the school.

    Fr0m about the Chucago Military academy

    Wearing Army greens and spit-shined black shoes, the cadets stand ramrod straight and silent. It is 7:30 a.m., time for dress inspection. “Drop!” barks a platoon leader, spotting a uniform infraction, a cadet without a name tag on his jacket. Busted, the cadet hits the deck, pumps 10 push-ups, then asks for mercy: “Permission to recover, sir?”

    I wonder if the drills will ever ask them if they are ready for their chemistry test or if they can conjugate a verb in Spanish? I doubt it because those shoes are much more important. And most white parents and virtually all asian parents (correctly) think that such inspections are a waste of time.

    I am amazed how many whites support a form of school that is one step above StepandFetchit High. Why aren’t the parents demanding a charter school like Minnesota Math and Science Academy which is 93% white?

    Why are people purposing inner city charters that expel trouble makers and do not have special education students so that the black middle class students who want to achieve academically can? Yet, people had rather believe that blacks just can’t help themselves and need the “discipline” and “control” so that they can achieve some sort of margain education.

  31. Why don’t white suburban neighborhoods have military schools? The answer is not because they are white, but because they are suburban — the children (white/black/asian/sebian/etc) in these neighborhoods are not exposed to the same environment that riddles urban areas. Thus, the need to compensate for a surrounding lack of discipline and order is not as necessary.

    One of Booker T Washington’s points of emphasis was for people to take pride in their appearance, and in doing so they would take pride in themselves and be more productive and successful members of society. (His number one piece of advice: own a bathtub.) Of course, he pioneered a school for a black students, so that probably makes him racist, huh?

  32. The endless search for racism has become a dreadful bore.

    Superdestroyer, you should find a better use for your time than this venemous search for racial revenge.

    Blacks making their own decisions about how they want to educate their children is white racism?

    Really, Super, you are wasting your time.

  33. The latest victim of racism? Serena Williams.


  34. Superdestroyer, there are significant differences in academic and social behavior between white, Asian and black kids in suburban schools versus black kids in the inner city schools. You’ll notice that no one is proposing these schools for black kids who live in suburbia. You need to recognize reality and understand that different problems require different solutions. If no students can get an education because there isn’t basic public order and discipline in the school system, then you are going to need to create schools that specifically emphasize order and discipline. 2+2=4. No matter your skin color.

    If suburban schools had as extensive and as severe problems that inner city schools have, parents would be begging to get their kids into military school.

  35. Walter E. Wallis says:

    The comboot bats issued to me in ’48 were fuzzy side out. You can make fuzzy side out boots shine, but it isn’t easy. Military discipline seems silly to an outside observer, but sometimes it is all that keeps you alive. That last mile back to the garrison after the 20 mile full field pack forced march is just a little bit easier when the band steps out in front.
    I try to convince my Grandnephew and grandson, one there, one going, that if you survive the first ten minutes of combat you will live forever, and you survive that ten minutes only with discipline [and a bit of luck].

  36. Superdestroyer says:

    You can look up the school at

    and guess what is missing from the academics: foreign language, advanced math or science, or much in the way of electives. It seems that the school supports the three R’s along with shining shoes and marching.

    I wonder if you asked the kids at Whitney High in Ceritos, California or Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax, Virginia what they think about such a school. I guess the words: lacking, too easy, and not preparing for academic success would come up very quickly. Oh but I forgot, those kids at Whitney or TJ are genenrally asian and thus don’t need to know about shining shoes or memorizing march steps.

  37. lazygeorge says:

    All the Drill Sergeants and Drill Instructors, black and white, I have known encouraged civilian education. I was in the Army for 7 years and even served with Marines. I knew several men who were former as well as active Drill Sergeants and Drill Instructors. The gun batteries I served in were overwhelmingly black. I saw and heard nothing to suggest there is a special black attitude towards the armed forces, uniforms or calling cadence.

    It is interesting that military academies do not appear to exist in suburban public schools, but how many are in urban school districts? We only know of a few examples. Military schools are not overwhelming the urban environment. I think this controversy is a bit overdone.

    I do feel that there is plenty of time to learn to be a soldier after high school. I prefer kids learn to be literate and numerate in school and if they want to learn about marching and shining boots later in their lives if they should volunteer for the privilege. I find it hard to believe that we must put kids in uniform and drill them to educate them. Maybe we need teacher who know how to act like adult authority figures, coaches and mentors. Still, I have seen kids respond to a military environment when previously they were unholy terrors in school. I believe it was not the uniform and drill. The sergeants controlled our lives all day, sleeping, eating and training. There was immediate punishment for any infraction and a severe legal code that cannot be allowed outside of the armed forces. That kind of complete control cannot exist in a public school. It is easy to believe that uniforms and drill make the difference, but they are only eyewash. Great armies did not need uniforms, they had pride and discipline.

    When I was in the Army we washed out those incapable of adapting to the life. One third of our recruits failed to complete their enlistment. The public schools cannot do this.

  38. Hawai’i has a lot of public high schools with a JROTC program, and many private schools. Seems to work fine.

    Many of the college prep private schools do too. Mine did, and it never ate into academics. In fact it taught something that absolutely no other class teaches. Leadership development.

    That’s one thing military schools, and those with JROTC offer that absolutely no other schools offer. Sure speech class might teach you how to debate, but it doesn’t teach you how to motivate your people, or that putting the needs of others ahead of yours is an important trait in leadership.


  39. Superdestroyer, did you have a bad experience at some point with shined shoes or marching? Almost every single post from you in this thread obsesses on these two points…

    Look, whether we want to say it out loud or not, schools of this sort are both useful and productive for students (OF ANY BACKGROUND) coming from the chaos of the current public school system in depressed urban areas. This isn’t about race, it is about environment, and I have no doubt that such an environment would be corrosive to anyone of any race, ethnicity, whathaveyou…

    As for whether parents in various upscale neighborhoods (I am writing this from deep in the wilds of Plano, Tx) would look for this as a solution for their children, might I mention that parents with unruly (or simply savage) children have considered military schools entirely suitable choices in the past, and many of those parents have been quite well off….

  40. Superdestroyer is correct in noting that the academy does not offer a lot of electives. Superdestroyer is incorrect in inferring that this makes the academy academically deficient in comparison to its peers. It’s a MIDDLE SCHOOL, not a high school. Middle schools seldom have much in the way of foreign language instruction or elective courses. My middle school (named one of the ten best in the country by the Department of Education) had precisely ONE foreign language&#151Spanish, which was useful in South Florida. What electives (if any) are taught at the other local public middle schools?

    SD desperately needs to let go of the fixation on shining shoes, and realize that he is arrogantly attempting to deny school choice to the parents of the children who are enrolled in the school (and those who are on the waiting list).

    It is also important to note that while almost all of the students at the school are minority, not all of them are. Are those (white) students totally irrelevant to Superdestroyer’s racism meme?

  41. Will Elliott says:

    Our friend Superdestroyer complains that foreign languages, advanced math and science and much in the way of electives is missing from this academy’s curriculum. Beyond what looks to be a great set of basics — a great starting point for the future — what does he really expect a 250-student middle school in its first year of existance to offer?

  42. superdestroyer says:

    timekeeper and elliott,

    If you look at the schools that liberal democrats send their children to

    Seventh grade students choose to study one of four Modern or Classical Languages for seventh and eighth grades.

    I use the point about shining shoes because if a group of white politicians proposed a school for black students where singing, dancing, ironing shirts, and shining shoes was purposed to be part of the cirriculum, the politicians would be called racists and mock as wanting to return to the Jim Crow days. Yet, let a black politician propose the same school and everyone falls into line. It is the same with discipline. If I look at the web pages of the elite college prep private schools (the ones politicians promise me that I will be able to send my child to if the US has school vouchers), I never see the term discipline. An example of a college prep mission statement would be:

    Our curriculum is broad, and class sizes are small, allowing students to achieve their potential, and find the areas that will continue to spark their interest in years to come.

    If braod curriculum and academic interest are good enough for the children of senators and diplomats, then why isn’t it good enough for the children of middle class blacks?

  43. M. J. Wise says:


    So, because the curriculum of this school doesn’t match up with the uppermost elite of prep schools in the country, it’s completely unacceptable from an academic viewpoint? I went to a Catholic K-8 school, and we never had any electives at all — we were basically told what we were to take, and yet I feel I was well-prepared for high school and college. I can only imagine your opinion of Catholic schools though, what with the forced recitations of the Hail Mary and Our Father and the focus on making rosaries and attending Mass, we must have barely had time for any academics at all…

    I’m also glad to see you think a focus on discipline is somehow racist too. It goes along well with your shoe-shining obsession.


  44. superdestroyer says:


    Who is the racist? The individual who believes that the children of black, blue collar parents can’t possible be expected to learn the same material or behave the same as the children of elite whites or those individuals who think that a minute waste on shining shoes is a minute not used for learning.

    The question that should always be asked of any educational reform is: does it make the public schools more like the private schools that the elite send their children to or does it make them less like those schools. I believe that making black children shine shoes, march around, memorize jodies, perform step shows, etc does not help those children compete in a world where the children of the elite are learning advanced subjects.

  45. Super, your arguments are racial dementia.

    Really, I strongly urge you to find something better to do with your time.

    I was born into poverty and ignorance. I didn’t have the opportunities or the style of education that the rich had. So what? I had the type of education that my community could afford.

    Do you have any idea what you want from life? Why do you want to spend your life in dreams of racial vengeance?

  46. superdestroyer says:


    It would have been nice if you could make one coherent argument in why a public school systems should set up college prep science and technology high schools for white and asian students and military academis with inspections, formations and a lack of advanced classes for black students. But maybe playing on personal stories makes up for a lack of rigorous discussion.

  47. Super, you are not making any logical or rational arguments.

    You are obsessed with racial vengeance, and that’s it.

    I strongly suggest some sort of mediation, or religious introspection… anything to rid your mind of racial hatred. You are destroying yourself with racial hatred.

    So, here’s a coherent argument to counter yours. Blacks (and in particular black men) are so far behind every other group in academic achievement that they are in desparate need of learning the basics. Arguing that blacks (and in particular black men) should have a wide ranging education when the majority of them are failing basic math and reading is insanity. It’s sort of like arguing that people who are starving to death should be given a diet of French haute cuisine.

    Not incidently, I’ve noticed that black women don’t spend much time in the racial vendetta so dear to black men like you. As a result, black women are leaving black men behind in terms of education and employment.

    Get your act together. Leave the racial vendetta behind. It is the racial vendetta that is destroying you, and many black men. The racial vendetta you are obsessed with is the problem. Do you hear me? Can you hear? The problem isn’t this school. The problem… your problem… is the racial vendetta that obsesses you.

    The reason I am not answering your racial vendetta is because your racial vendetta is your problem.

  48. superdestroyer says:


    A couple of facts for you.

    1. The average SAT score of black children from white collar, college educated parents is lower than the average SAT score of white children of blue collar, high educated parents. Why? Is it that the children start so far behind or is it the anti-intellectualism, separatism, and misogyny that dominates black culture in the US. How is putting black boys in schools where learning is less important than uniforms and without advanced classes and a stimulating environment going to make up for that? If placing blacks in a black only environment, then the historically black universities would not be the failures that they are.

    2. Blacks, on average, have fewer books in their home, are much less likely to subscribe to newspapers or news magazines, are less likely to visit museums, and are less like to visit historical sites. Thus, the average black child comes from an environment of lower intellectualism. How is memorizing jodies, standing in formation, or being of the color guard going to make up for that.

    3. If blacks are behind in education, then how is putting them is an isolated environment going to help? When is the make up time going to occur that allows black middle class children to compete with the likes of the white children at the elite prep schools.

    4. Do the white and asian children at the Minnesota Math and Science Academy have to stand in formation and have their shoes inspected in order to maintain “discipline” and “control?” Then, why is it OK for black children to have to stand in formation every day? Do the white and asian children atthe Minnesota Math and Science Academy have to memorize their own school song let alone the word about that “C130 coming down the strip?” I do not think so. So why is it Okay to send black children to the Stepandfetchin Academy? Why can’t black children behave themselves when placed into academic setting with high standards? I believe that they can and many hear believe that blacks are somehow incapable of acting at part of the main stream culture of the US.

  49. SD,

    I see a huge dichotomy in your argument. On one hand, you claim that black children are perfectly capable of integrating perfectly into a traditionally homogeneous white/asian school culture setting. But if you apparently get too many black children together, it somehow inevitably ends in academic failure? In other words, blacks are incapable of this sort of achievement on their own without a benevolent set of whites or asians to lead them, lest they resort to shining shoes and singing jodies in absence of such leadership. This is the sort of racist thinking that ostensibly justified garbage like apartheid in south africa and jim crow in america for decades.

  50. My wife is Asian. So, I’ve got some answers for you.

    1. “How is putting black boys in schools where learning is less important than uniforms and without advanced classes and a stimulating environment going to make up for that?”

    Asian culture stresses discipline and obedience. Uniforms are a good method of instilling discipline and obedience. I happen to attend a black Baptist church. The constant sad refrain of that church is that young black men are not in attendance, thus missing the discipline and training in obedience necessary for success. Asian kids succeed in such large number because of this training in obedience and discipline. Black kids so often come from fatherless families that training in obedience and discipline are entirely absent.

    2. You’ve got to start somewhere. As I said, although I am white, I was born into abject poverty and ignorance. In my home town, military service was almost universally revered as a way to escape poverty and ignorance. My wife’s family attained U.S. citizenship through the U.S. Army. The second and third generations have college degrees and intellectual jobs.

    3. Very few whites attend elite prep schools. Most black kids need decent basic level education. The issue is not how to compete with the graduates of elite prep schools. The issue is how to become functional, so that you can get a job as an LPN or RN, or a job as a computer programmer or medical technician. Why do you think that the issue is the ability to compete at top prep schools? What is needed here is gradual improvement, not miracles.

    4. Different people need different things. The issue here is not some absolute level of equality. The issue is, once again, how to gradually improve the lives of people. Fifty years ago, my family was poor and ignorant beyond imagination. I am the first member of my extended family to graduate from a four year college. My children, and my nephews and nieces think of college education as something that is required of them.

    Young black men have some very specific problems that need to be addressed. Those problems are different than the specific problems of most white and Asian kids, and thus need a different solution. Fatherlessness is a plague in the black community, and that brings with it lack of discipline and a tendency toward gang membership and violence. This is not the case in the Asian community, where fathers are almost always present and families are almost always intact. Young black men need the hand of a strong father, and if they are not getting that at home, then they must get it at school or in the military.

    Different problems demand different solutions.

  51. Who is the racist? The individual who believes that the children of black, blue collar parents can’t possible be expected to learn the same material or behave the same as the children of elite whites or those individuals who think that a minute waste on shining shoes is a minute not used for learning.

    Obviously the first.

    The question that should always be asked of any educational reform is: does it make the public schools more like the private schools that the elite send their children to or does it make them less like those schools.

    Then your answer is that this DOES make it more like some of the elite private schools (such as the one I went to).

    I believe that making black children shine shoes, march around, memorize jodies, perform step shows, etc does not help those children compete in a world where the children of the elite are learning advanced subjects.

    Then you should do some research on the subject. Talk to adults who have graduated from that situation. You’ll find that your belief is quite wrong.


  52. superdestroyer says:

    Yesterday, the median SAT scores for high schools were annouced. In Washington, DC area, Thomas Jefferson High school (a school roughly half white and half asian) has a median SAT score of 1489. Yet, those children of the middle class managed to do it without shining shoes, standing in formation, or memorizing march steps. Why? Becuase they attend a school where every is there to learn as much as possible and those that aren’t are shown the door.

    Why shouldn’t black children who want to learn be given the same chances.

    I consider it extremely racist that many of this list believe that the only two choice for black parents is to either send their children to Marion Barry high to learn to be a gang banger to to Stepandfetchit High to learn to be a low level LPN or technician. Why shouldn’t black parents be given the same types of opprotunities as the white parents in the suburbs around Saint Paul where those white parents have no plans for their children to be LPN’s or medical technologist.

  53. Kenneth Jordi says:

    “Why shouldn’t black parents be given the same types of opportunities?”

    Well, SD, if there’s a market and a demand for a high-end middle school for black academically inclined urban kids, as you apparently think there is, then why, pray tell, isn’t there a black entrepreneur who supplies it? Whose business is it to supply working education to urban youth?

  54. superdestroyer says:


    Why don’t you take your kindergarden version of Milton Freidman and think about what you are saying.

    Affirmative Action is currently the method for minorities to get in on the elite schools once they go to college. However, by that time, the average middle class black student is too far behind to compete in science, engineering, and medicine with the asian kids.

    Many people on this blog and others will argue that the way to end AA is to improve the primary and secondary education of black children. Yet, when theory is put into practice, they had rather send the black children to Stepandfetchit High than into schools where they will receive and education that will give them the grades and SAT scores that will get them admitted to schools regardless of their race.

  55. Super,

    I understand now.

    You believe that an absolutely perfect, absolutely just solution must be found for every problem. Anything short of the absolute ideal cannot be allowed.

    I think that most of the people who post to this board believe in finding real solutions that work. Real solutions often involve gradual improvement, not miraculous fixes.

    It is impossible to bridge the gap between those who believe that nothing is acceptable but the absolute ideal and those who believe in gradual, practical solutions.

    In my opinion, those who demand miraculous fixes are simply wrong, and simply determined to ignore the reality of human existence. I belong to the camp that believes in fixing things gradually, piece by piece. For this reason, we cannot possibly understand one another, and discourse is quite impossible.

  56. super you just need to admit to yourself and everyone here that you’re an uppity negro who has no use for LOW CLASS institutions like the army, and that when it comes to your own kids, you dare not send them anywhere that won’t have them on a track to white collar work.

    having done so, you will further illuminate your class bias and disentangle it from your racial witch hunt. what difference do you think one military academy in minnesota is going to make. hell there are more black hockey fans in the twin cities than will be attending this school. stop marginalizing your argument by complaining a fraction of a percent of african america.

    deal with your class bias.

    by the way, i wonder if you personally know any plumbers who make six figures. i do. electricians too.

  57. Superdestroyer,

    Ummmmm, I don’t know how you’re planning on mandating that all children have a stable two-parent household with parents who spend time with them on their schoolwork and motivate them to excell. Since these are the most critical variables in student excellence.

    I don’t know how many asians in poor circumstances and neighborhoods you are personally familliar with, but many of their children excell despite the low quality of their schools. Many of my cousins did well, despite being below the poverty line. My SAT scores were better than that despite being in a financial situation (and having a lot of pride) that meant I missed meals as a child so my sisters could eat. It was and is family that matters the most. It makes a difference despite economic disparity. As do having been incolcated by a strong family with the virutes that promote education and perseverance.

    Oh, and before anyone screams inconsistency, I went to an elite private high school as a boarding student on a work scholarship, and worked my ass off to put myself through it. I worked my ass off in elementary school to get into an intermidiate school that would get me into that high school where so many of my cousins went.


  58. My Lai Tenner says:

    I have read all the entries throughout this topic of discussion. I find it disturbing in many ways.

    1. My Mother named me Mylai yes that is a fact. It is also the fact that it is a very different name and one people will stop and ponder or just look at as different. My mother had compassion for the people who died and for the loved ones who where grieving. My mother who is a sergeant in the army thought that the massacre was uncalled for. However everyone has their opinion. I am also disturbed that because a massacre happened some think its to hell in a hand bag. Please just relax, I am sure we all could poke holes in each others name for what ever reason or negative issues it brings to mind.

    2. Superdestroyer

    You have some strong opinions and I think you are way off base. This school is about helping innercity children who have fallen through the cracks and have been left behind. So like The NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT we will service these children in a variety of ways. The military model of discipline, team work, integrity, hardwork etc.. are the essentials that have made are country what it is. It will also help these students get to where they need to be in education. These tactics will help the school officals, staff and parents “TURN RISK INTO PROMISE” (School Motto)
    If you would like to discuss this further on the phone please email me and we can talk through your anger with the racial tones you have used throughout your rhetoric in this forum.


    My Lai Tenner

    Founder / Executive Director


  1. The School’s a Good Idea

    I’m not so sure about the name. (My Lai)

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