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.