Below is my response to this article about an elementary school principal in Ann Arbor, MI, the city in which I went to school. The synopsis: a Black principal started a group called “Lunch Bunch” for Black children. The goal of this social and academic group was to help address the so-called “achievement gap” in education by helping these students to become more successful. They took a school-sponsored field trip with just these children to see a Black rocket scientist talk about his job and his challenges and triumphs as a Black man in general. The community in Ann Arbor – the affluent, predominantly White city in which the University of Michigan is located – is apparently outraged over this principal’s “transgression”.
I graduated from Huron High school in Ann Arbor almost 20 years ago. As a Black student, I was privy to, helped by, and hindered by all different types of programs to close this so-called “achievement gap” (yes, I do mean all of those verbs). What I took from all of these meetings and trial-and-error programs were two things: 1) Our teachers, for the most part, had no idea how to teach Black children effectively and 2) no one cared enough to actually change things. Nineteen years later, it appears that nothing has changed.