Field trip for blacks only riles parents

An Ann Arbor elementary school sent black fifth graders — and blacks only — on a field trip to meet a black rocket scientist. Parents complained.

The school has created a “Lunch Bunch” program for black students in an attempt to raise achievement. In a letter to parents, Principal Mike Madison wrote:

. . . “as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children’s eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American rocket scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.

“It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars.

. . . “The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.”

When the field trippers returned to class, there were boos from the children who’d been excluded from the trip. Parents say the principal yelled at the class and “belittled a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination.” The principal said he was just explaining the Lunch Bunch idea.

Via The BlogProf and Instapundit.

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Comments

  1. superdestroyer says:

    I wonder if the African-American principal, Mike Madison, who established a separate and unequal program realizes that he is not only violating the Michigan Civil Rights laws but also going against the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court that race based school programs are illegal. IN addition, according to the Ann Arbor news, the principal is violating the anti-discrimination rules of the school district.

    I guess being African-American in the U.S. means that the rules do not really apply to you. That this principal still has a job shows why schools will never be able to compete against the rest of the world.

  2. That this principal still has a job shows why schools will never be able to compete against the rest of the world.

    If that’s an example of your thought process, I’d say you don’t really have a thought process.

  3. What is wrong with whites or other non-black children from getting inspired by seeing a black rocket scientist talk? Shouldn’t all kids be able to be inspired?

    I am for EVERY child having opportunities to strive to do well in school and to see adults with lofty career goals.

  4. ChrstineMM, I completely agree. If the principal wanted to make a true impression that might last, ALL the students should have gone. When you segregate the experience you make it clear that it’s somehow different than a regular experience. ALL the students need to see people from all different backgrounds and physical appearances doing great things.

    So, will this principal only let girls go on the field trip to see the female rocket scientist? Really.

  5. If that’s an example of your thought process, I’d say you don’t really have a thought process.

    Very thoughtful. Nothing to say about the rest of superdestroyer’s post? You know, the stuff about racial discrimination, violating the law and various Supreme Court decisions? You think Principal Madison is under the impression that Brown v. Topeka doesn’t apply to him? Or maybe the members of the board of the Ann Arbor School District don’t think Brown v. Topeka applies to them?

  6. What does it say to the African-American children that their principal doesn’t think that white children would be equally as immpressed and motivated to meet an African-American rocket scientist?

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    The prinicipal is confirming low expectations of black kids.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    What is it with this thing?
    Anyway, he’s implying that black kids can’t be impressed if there are white kids around.
    Figure that one out.

  9. So, by segregating the experience, he’s actually fueling racist feelings in the white kids. Perfect.

    He has beclowned himself with rare perfection.

  10. How bizarre to segregate high achievers by color. I wonder if the rocket scientist knew he would only be meeting with black students. What would supporters of the principal’s actions think if the meeting had been only for boys?

  11. Matt Fanny says:

    I’ve lurked for a long time at this site, but I have to comment on this. This principal’s actions are disgusting, pure and simple. To blatantly state that “the intent of our program was not to segregate…” when that’s _exactly_ what he did shows he is either a total liar or a complete idiot- either way he has no business being a principal. Just disgusting.

    -Matt

  12. Diana Senechal says:

    Ok–this trip was for the members of the “Lunch Bunch” club. The “Lunch Bunch” club is for black students. So there are two separate issues here:

    1. Is it wrong to have a field trip for members of a particular club (and not for a whole class)?

    2. Is it wrong to have a club for black students only?

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    Diana.
    “Wrong” has several meanings. It appears “wrong”, according to occasional court cases, for college Christian groups to restrict their membership to Christians, for example.
    So a blacks-only club is probably “wrong” in that sense.
    It is not “wrong” among the PC-let’s balkanize America crowd.
    Aside from “wrong” one way or another, it is stupid.
    It is also counter-productive. It teaches black kids that they can’t learn or be impressed if white kids are around. It teaches white kids that the public establishment is racist, discriminatory, and not very bright.
    Other than that…no problema, as we say on or about Camerone Day.

  14. We routinely separate students by race, calling it SES. For example, their are many programs like MedCamp to which only poor schools receive invitations. As a result, in California, we have free Hispanic summer camps and non-free Anglo camps. This is common throughout the country. Whether this is good or bad is a different call.

    However, officially, to segregate a school activity by race crosses the line.

  15. Roger Sweeny says:

    Patti,

    So, will this principal only let girls go on the field trip to see the female rocket scientist? Really.

    There are many all-girl programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematices), the rationale for which is that females are under-represented in those fields.

  16. As well meaning as that principal may have been trying to be, segregating and excluding the other children from going on that field trip solely on the basis of race was not the right thing to do. Legally, this was a public school and unlike private schools, such violation are not allowed. But from a purely moral standpoint, there are many children regardless of race who face immense challenges, if he had allowed all poorly performing children to go that would not have eroded the ultimate lesson he was trying to convey. But in the same way that Arizona has overly impeded on people’s rights for a legitimate purpose that could be solved in another fashion: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/04/30/preliminary-thoughts-on-the-arizona-immigration-law/ This principal has done the same thing and discriminated against many children in the process.

  17. bandit says:

    Another idiot who should be on the unemployment line.

    The “Lunch Bunch” club is for black students.

    Problem #1

    1. Is it wrong to have a field trip for members of a particular club (and not for a whole class)?

    If this is the intention it certainly is

    2. Is it wrong to have a club for black students only?

    Is that a real question? Try putting the shoe on the other foot for a second.

  18. Diana Senechal says:

    Wow. I was separating out the two questions, not answering them, and I get called an idiot?

    A lot that does for intelligent discussion.

  19. Ok–this trip was for the members of the “Lunch Bunch” club. The “Lunch Bunch” club is for black students.
    _______________________________

    Wow! There just happened to be a club that included all the black kids and only black kids? I guess any claims that this was just a singular incident are blown to bits.

  20. Richard Aubrey says:

    mollo
    I think that goes under “fake but accurate” with a soupcon of good intentions.

  21. Richard Aubrey says:

    Ya know, since all white folks are racist–can’t help it, born that way, use the privilege, et tedious cetera–it strikes me that taking those potentially crypto-racist white kids to see a black rocket scientist might have led to an attitude adjustment.