Tuesday, February 27, 2007

High school divides students by race

Shirley Dang:

With schools under increasing pressure to improve test scores, Mt. Diablo High School has resorted to a new way to motivate students: by race.

The Concord campus on Friday held separate assemblies for students of different ethnicities to talk about last year's test results and the upcoming slew of state exams this spring.

Jazz music and pictures of Martin Luther King greeted African-American students, while Filipino, Asian and Pacific Islander students saw flags of their foreign homelands on the walls. Latinos and white students each attended their own events, too, complete with statistics showing results for all ethnicities and grade level.

"They started off by saying jokingly, 'What up, white people,'" said freshman Megan Wiley, 14. Teachers flashed last year's test scores and told the white crowd of students to do better for the sake of their people.

"They got into, 'you should be proud of your race,'" Wiley said. "It was just weird."

Several parents later told MediaNews that the meetings smacked of segregation resurrected.

"Why did they have to divide the students by race?" said Filipino parent Claddy Dennis, mother of freshman Schenlly Dennis. "In this country, everybody is supposed to be treated equally. It sounds like racism to me."

Principal Bev Hansen said she held the student assemblies by ethnicity to avoid one group harassing another based on their test scores. The 1,600-student campus, one of the most ethnically diverse high schools in the Mt. Diablo school district, is roughly half Hispanic, 30 percent white and 15 percent black, with Asian nationalities rounding out the mix.

Last year, the school improved its academic performance index score, largely based on test scores, to 613 out of 1,000. Among the races, Asians scored highest. Whites earned a 667. African Americans scored a 580, while Hispanics earned a 571.

"I don't want students being teased," Hansen said.

Ultimately, however, Hansen said she did not know why parents seemed so concerned. The state has reported scores based on race for years. The school assemblies simply reflected those same categories in reporting the numbers to students, she said.

"In this country, race is a very uncomfortable topic and it's time we got over it," Hansen said.

Good point.


At 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IF race is SO unimportant, then why did she separate students by race then? Fear of students being teased? Well, those students doing the teasing should get reprimanded! That's how you deal with that! seems like principal Hansen is in denial about her own racial issues.

At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Principal Hansen should be fired, or the ACLU should sue the school board, if they don't.

The students shouldn't be motivated by their race to perform better - that can only produce the counterproductive competition Hansen supposedly sought to avoid. Instead, students should be taught to take pride in their performance as *individuals*. Only then, will they succeed.

At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, the students could be told the school's average score, collectively. Knowing their classmate's average score, some students will then know if they need to perform better than their peers in the future. Furthermore, if the school has been making year after year progress, then that can give the student body something to be proud of as a single group.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger BunBun4life said...

ANONYMOUS #1 and #3 (apparently the same person) You're stupid. If you knew ANYTHING you would know that the american schools with large populations of hispanics have almost continuous fights, brawls, attacks, based on race - particularly hispanic vs. black. In some areas of California they are talking about putting them in totally separate SCHOOLS, because nothing they try helps.....

I find it particularly TELLING that the white student said "it was WEIRD - you should be proud of your race" Do I ever heard a black, asian, hispanic student say that it was WEIRD that that someone in authority told them to be proud of their race? HELL NO!

Because all I hear is 'brown pride' 'black pride' black history, mexican history, be proud of where you came from, be proud of your history, be proud of your 'ethnic group' for EVERYbody EXCEPT WHITE PEOPLE.


Nothing that principal does is going to PRODUCE the competition Hansen wanted to avoid, IT'S ALREADY THERE. All blacks & mexicans ever FUCKING talk about is race race race, and how whites are racist and they're not, even though they're HORRIBLE and feel they have the right to say any horrible thing directed at whites; but whites can't even say 'white pride' or they get called nazis or KKK, even though they walk around talking about 'mother africa' and 'viva mexico.

I'll tell you one damn thing, when I went to a mostly white school I was a straight A student, STRAIGHT A's, and the year I got force bused to nigger town shit school, my grades were C's D's and F's, because being around them was SO disruptive, I could not concentrate at all, it was horrible. I had migraines every week.

I would never allow my kid to go to a 50% hispanic 15% black school. I prefer that mine not be killed before they're out of high school.


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