Sep 11, 2010

A Lesson Plan

City Councilman Michael Donovan is disturbed by this photograph on the Allentown School District Website, showing the new superintendent talking to a predominately white group of teachers. Donovan writes on his blog;
Oh one other point, what is wrong with the picture at the ASD website of the superintendent talking to what appears to be over 80 white people? Are they parents? Teachers? Seems strange when 75% of our students are of color. Do you hear me school board?

Years ago the school system sent a delegation to Puerto Rico, hoping to recruit more Hispanic teachers, to no avail. Well qualified teachers of color are in great demand, exactly because of the mentality Donovan's post exhibits. We are fortunate in Allentown to have excellent teachers and administrators. Every aggressive attempt to become more “representational” in hiring has been less than successful. I can assure him no one of color has been excluded, quite the contrary. Although I agree with the desirability of more minority teachers, let us not go down the slippery slope he advocates, but appreciate the dedication of our current staffs; We may not be so lucky in the future. Perhaps his shot across the bow would be better directed at the minority community organizations, rather than the School Board, which is a thankless job by definition. (as is City Council)

occasionally my point of view is so different from a fellow blogger, I feel that my reply should constitute a separate post


gary ledebur said...

MM: Very interesting that you try to tactfully discuss the issue of teachers in the ASD. To me it seems this is more about Donovan than about the ASD. Nevertheless, your point about trying to recruit Latino teachers, is important. Research and common sense indicate that teachers are role models and that many students identify with their teachers. I teach future teachers and many, particularly those of color, and whose first language is not English, say they were influenced by a teacher like themselves. Education is the key to countering your "poverty magnet."

Chris Casey said...

My information is that the session with Zahorcgak was open to all.
You can't force people to attend something. If the kids' parents don't attend, they are telling their kids that they don't consider their schooling a priority. Twenty years ago there was a great cry against "babies having babies". Now those babies are having their own babies. The cycle of poverty perpetuates.

The answer is education. Now we could argue that ASD doesn't exactly put out much of an overall product, but I think the burden is equally on the parents of this next generation to encourage their kids to make the most of what is offered.

No solutions to cultural and societal ills ever comes easy, but might I suggest that local political leaders like Julio Guridy have an opportunity here to speak to the community, and help get people of ALL nationalities involved?

Looking To Escape said...

Although I agree with the desirability of more minority teachers, let us not go down the slippery slope he advocates,
As I pointed out on Mike's board, are we going to have a special staff for every minority group that comes to Allentown? If we cater to one, we have to cater to all. I mean, it would only be fair.
Keep in mind, Allentown can not even afford a fully staffed police force.
Donald Rumsfeld said we go to war with the army we have, The Hispanic kids have to get an education with the staff the Allentown school district has.
The argument about race also defeats the diversity argument, that we have to deal with people not like us.
The problem is with the minorities, not the staff. I have over the years seen talks about educating minority students, the ethnic makeup of the staff rarely played a major role in the failure of kids to learn, the problem is their culture did not value education.
As an example I have conversations with a Korean girl who attends college. She has NEVER complained about the ethnic make up of the college staff. She has complained about the work load, but she does the work to improve her future. She VALUES education. Keep in mind Koreans are a true minority as they have the smaller numbers in America.
The problem is with Allentown's minorites, not the ASD staff. We need to stop making excuses for failure.

Anonymous said...

I find Mr. Donovan's perceptions and expectations reflective more of his inherent prejudices than a reflection of the realities of life in Allentown.

The assumption seems based on the belief that the issue would be fixed if somehow we could get the diversity index just right.

What he and others seem to forget that of higher priority are the fact that all of Allentown is highly racist (a community issue), gangs are growing, the incidence of drug use is back up and poverty is skyrocketing.

I for one would love to see these issues successfully addressed so we could then turn our attention to adjusting the "diversity" mix to suit those anointed policy makers and academic observers and critics.

Remember the expectation is that ALL teachers are equally qualified according to an increasing standard.

BTW a student from WAHS was slashed across the face on Thurs, (after and outside of school) and was hospitalized.

There was a fight in the freshman cafeteria, that same day. A group of individuals, all dressed in one color and sitting together, started something up with another student.

It is believed the same "gang" is responsible for the slashing. Students in his school were told he will not be returning to the ASD and that all students should expect fights in school as a part of their school experience. But they should not be intimidated.

"Do you hear me school board?"

I expect we will see Mr Donovan and others at the ASD Safety Task Force meeting this coming Tuesday evening (9/13/10) at 7:00 PM. The administration building on Penn St.

Patrick Henry said...

MM -

I also posted this on Donovan's blog:


When will liberals ever see people as just people, and not as part of some samller group?

There should be only one standard for hiring teachers, firemen, police, and anyone else – hire the best person available for the job, regardless of race or ethnic background.

Anything else is pandering at best, and honestly, a bit racist and offensive at worst.

Anonymous said...

...back in the 1980's, Miami decided their police force was not representative of the community, largly hispanics. They lowered standards when hispanics failed to qualify as all others were expected to do. The result? An infiltration of the police department by bad guys. The bad guys (whatever their race) would likely never gotten in had the department simply stayed with their high standards, regardless of "representation". That's what happens in a politically correct world