Black students are doing much better at a Los Angeles-area high school since black educators started a program to create a “village” atmosphere, as in “it takes a village.” But the Cleveland High program is for blacks only, stirring controversy, and it doesn’t seem to travel well to other schools. The LA Times reports:
During the school day, black students gather with teachers in meetings that are often laced with frank discussions about such topics as race, culture, relationships and negative media stereotypes of African Americans. About 315 African Americans attend the 4,200-student Cleveland High. Participation in the Village is not mandatory, but most black students attend. White, Latino and Asian students are not invited.
Critics — including some parents and teachers — have called the approach divisive and stigmatizing.
Pasadena High tried a “village” assembly for black students and drew complaints that blacks were being criticized for bad behavior while whites and Hispanics were getting a free ride.
At Cleveland, teachers showed black students they were being outscored by white, Asian and Latino students, as well as by students learning English as a second language. Black students were shocked. Apparently, they were motivated to try harder. They now outscore the district average on the Academic Performance Index.