Separate and Unequal: Pa. School Catches Flack for Separating Black and White Students

Good idea? Bad execution.

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Dana Chivvis of AOL News is reporting that a Pennsylvania school is under fire for separating black students from the rest of their homeroom class. McCaskey East High School says the purpose of the program is to provide mentoring to black students in the hopes of buffering their academic achievement, which lags behind their peers. But the policy reminds some of Jim Crow-era segregation and has ignited a debate over the fairness of separating students by race.

In December, the black juniors were separated by gender and placed into homerooms run by black teachers. The homeroom periods last only six minutes, except for a 20-minute period once a week. Teachers use the time to discuss goals, leadership and academic achievement, according to Lancasteronline, which first reported the story. "The intent of mentoring at McCaskey High School is to build strong teacher and student relations, not separate students by race," the Lancaster School District said in a statement. "The high school is disappointed by the negative perception and focus on single racial composition programming."

Perception is reality, and if it looks like they're segregating or giving special treatment to the black students, then that is how some will perceive it. Angela Tilghman is the teacher who came up with the idea after reading a study that black students perform better when separated by gender and grouped with a mentor.

People always seem to be concerned with what black folks are getting but rarely seem to be concerned about what black folks, especially students, aren't getting. Having said that, mentorship is a good thing, but it should be offered to all students that need it, regardless of race. Perhaps they should allow students to self-select into mentorship programs instead of assigning them for mentorship? That might help solve the issue.

Read more at AOL News.

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