DAAREL BURNETTE II Wrote this piece, "Race-specific groups take aim at academic disparity" for the Star Tribune
This article discusses a new program that seeks to improve the academic standing and social integration of racial minorities at the increasingly diverse Woodbury High School. As the school got more diverse over recent years, achievement, which was historically very high, slowly began dropping. The majority, white teachers did not have the skills to support their new student body. A new group,"Be The Dream" meets after-school with students of color and teachers. Teacher education and student awareness of opportunities are two key components of the group.
The article makes the policy claim that the new group is effective, and a good investment for the school. The introduction is by heralding it's successes, before any information about the program has been shared. In addition, the student and teacher opinions that start it off and are shared throughout are single-mindedly supportive of the program.
The policy claim is upheld with the credibility of statistics. The test scores of the students have improved dramatically in the few short years of the program. Interestingly, the scores of the majority, white students who are not a direct part of the program have also improved. This adds a wider base of support to the program, as it is not skewing the use of resources unfairly; it is good for all students.
The article explains distinct differences in components of high schools that hit close to home for every reader, and also highlight specific changes. Lunchroom seating, hallway fights, and test scores are common high school characteristics that many are familiar with.
The article loses some credibility in two brief moments. In one, the article identifies the white majority teachers as being distanced from the students of color by being more "grounded." They also bring up racial tensions, but in their hallway fight example, highlight a fight between African-American students, and African students over traditional African garb that was worn on school spirit day. These choices are subtle, but implicate negative connotations with the students of color, and fail to highlight any concerns about the white students. The former also is stereotyping the students of color as less grounded, and places them in stark relief based solely on majority assessment of what "grounded" consists of, as this is an unfounded assumption with no grounds or backing.
Overall, the article is excellent. There is no discussion of negative components of the program, which clearly makes the policy argument that the program is good.