Friday, May 20, 2011

Shelby, Mississippi School Board and Superintendent Discontented With School Kids’ “Favorite Teacher”

Your Black World reports

Recently, black high school students in Shelby, MS were polled and asked, “Name two teachers that have taught you the most at Broad Street High. The responses disturbed the members of the North Bolivar School District of Shelby, Mississippi.

Katana Frazier, one of the members of the peer group, Students Involved in Community Change-an organization that works with high school students in the Mississippi district, explained, "The main purpose of the survey was to show what kind of teachers have shown significant improvement in the school system and made big impacts in the lives of students." They tabulated that out of the 45 students they asked, the majority chose two employees--both of them white -- of Wendy Kopp's Teach for America, the national organization that recruits recent college graduates to commit to two years of teaching in urban and rural schools while earning a Masters degree from a cooperating college or university.

The students reported the results during a school board meeting. In their statement, they announced that of the students they surveyed, the majority had chosen teachers who "were not from around here, did not look like us and were all successful at improving student learning."
According to Bobbie Reed, vice president of the school board, the survey was not conducted with proper administration or board approval. Reed stated that the survey had deep racial implications in a community where the teacher and student population is mostly African American.

Reed said, "The teachers of North Bolivar -- they're working hard and doing a great job. They don't need this negative talk in the community. It brings down the morale of the staff, pits the white teachers against black teachers." The students claimed that neither the survey nor their observations were intended to be racially insensitive.

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