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DC’s Segregationist Schools?

DC’s Segregationist Schools?

Everyone’s talking about the new book club at Truesdell Education Campus in Washington, DC.

The club was started last December after 11-year-old Devon Wesley complained that his poor results on an English test didn’t reflect his true reading ability. 

Devon and two of his friends were told to read Bad Boy: A Memoir, a book about author Dean Myers’s childhood experiences growing up in Harlem. They loved it. 

Other students soon took interest, and with the help of Assistant Principal Michael Redmond, formed a minority boys-only book club that focused on books with black characters. 

“The books that we read here, we can relate to,” says Devon. 

Redmond, who wrote his college dissertation on the educational advancement of minority boys, says most people don’t expect black kids to be interested in reading. So he started a reading club that is only open to minority boys.

“What a beautiful thing, for teachers to be able to see boys who look like this be so into reading. We did not imagine that kids would be this serious about reading and about doing something that we didn’t ask them to do,” says Redmond. “We’re disrupting the notion of what public education can be and what little black boys can do and be.” 

I’m sure Redmond means well, but his comment is the perfect example of the worst type of racism: the bigotry of low expectations. No wonder DC schools are failing so badly. 

Black male students are the lowest performing demographic in DC, but that doesn’t mean we should applaud them for normal behaviors like reading.  

The author of Bad Boy actually touches on this issue when he says he doesn’t want to be remembered for “Negro accomplishments.” 

When asked about the line, 10-year-old Kemari Starks pointed out that “you can be smart, not because you’re black, but because you’re smart, period.”

Truesdell’s student body is comprised mainly of black and Hispanic students from low-income families. In 2017, just 33% met or exceeded expectations on the English portion of a national standardized test (up from 18% in 2016). 

It is unclear whether the book club will boost test scores, but it certainly has changed the students’ attitude towards reading, says Vice Principal Steve Aupperle. “They are now seeing that reading is amazing and, through reading, you can find people to relate to,” says Aupperle. “That’s what reading is.” 

The book club meets once a week 30 minutes before school starts. Next on the reading list is Monster, another Myers novel, about a teenager on trial for murder charges. 

Editor’s note: Are we teaching children now that its OK to have a club that excludes people based on race? If a Republican said anything like this they would be fired and protested by hundreds. And yet this is applauded by the liberal media, indeed heralded on the front page of the Washington Post. 

Having lived near D.C. for many years, I can tell you D.C. is one of the worst run cities in the country. It is an embarrassment for the nation’s capital to have such poor schools. 

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3 Comments

  1. DC

    I grew up there. For a fact, the public school education up through grade nine, anyway, was always a problem. But it was less of a problem before they took corporal punishment out of the schools. English, however, was always its weakest subject; math, foreign language, and arts were in decent shape. In fact, though all of my grades were good, and though I loved to read without any encouragement at all, writing a decent sentence of more than one clause was a problem. I did not understand that until I was pushed to a private school by one of my Jr. High teachers (that lady was a hero) – they actually just as rigorously taught English along with the other subjects. English was the only subject I had to take in summer school there in order to qualify for entry the first year – and I excelled after that. Young Devon is right: the problem is not his intelligence, but the teaching; Redmond is actually a bit biased – his comment indicates a fundamental belief that being non-white is a handicap. It isn’t; being poorly taught, however, is. The system is creating and building the handicap, and attempting to blame it on you. For those wondering, I am part black, part Scotts-Irish and part Cherokee – like a great many of us. Keep reading people, and since they won’t teach you decent English, get a Harbrace an learn it anyway.

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  2. SteveLC

    I attend my last half of Jr High at Kelly Miller and went on to attended Phelps Vocational school in the fifties . Phelps teachers were a joke. First there were the dark skin and the light skins issue in the school. Phelps had its share of light skin damn near white teachers, and Blacks were discriminated twice from DC whites and from the light skinned blacks in. The chemistry and English taught in Phelps was a big joke. I knew somewhat then that Washington, DC schools were bad then and even when I graduated from Cardozo High. I had a run in with the light damn near white English/ Literature teacher, because I asked too many questions. There were no white teachers in the black schools.
    OH! I dropped out of Phelps a month before graduation because I could not afford a suit and the fees. But I return to Cardozo night school to get my diploma after I return from four years in the Navy, so I could pursue an electronic engineering career.
    I blame the DC uppity Blacks and BS black leaders then and now for the poor condition of the buildings and the poor level of education in the DC schools.
    I did tutored young blacks in the poorer neighborhoods in reading, using comic books before leaving DC.

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  3. Steve Crawfordd

    God bless Assistant Principal Michael Redmond, to help black and other non whites children to read. But how come no other black teachers and non teachers are not helping Redmond to teach DC black youngsters to read? It is hard for me to believe that after SIXTY YEARS, DC schools are still bad. DC schools should have one of the best STEM program. DC and all black students must have reading skill to comprehend and be able to understand information. This is very sad to hear when Trump’s sorry azz Betsy DeVoss is trying to return US schools to benefit Whites with legislative segregated schools, with major funding going to private, charter and parochial schools. DC black spokespersons (I don’t call them leaders, Leaders Lead) must assist M. Redmond in helping non White children to read. It is a Christian thing to do, God Bless.

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