Thursday, November 14, 2013

Race: Card or Reality

I am a former employee of the Ferguson Florissant School District and I can't recall too many times when the discussion of RACE failed to enter one of my personal or professional rants about the climate and culture of the district. Though the district made attempts at facing the elephant in the classroom through such vehicles as "Higher Achievement for All", "Courageous Conversations", or Dr. Hollie's Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (all euphemisms for RACE), a good-old-boy system prevailed and  returned to school politics as usual.  As far as the Ferguson Florissant School District's current decision to get rid of its first African American superintendent, I am NOT surprised! I am only sick and tired of being sick and tired of the black community's reactionary behavior to racially-charged injustices. Moreover, I am annoyed by those in leadership roles who wait until catastrophic events before addressing the issue of RACE.

I have been a Dr. Art McCoy supporter since the day I met him. Before his official superintendency, he would frequent the McCluer North building and never hesitate to drop by my office to offer words of encouragement and inspiration. I respected his down-to-earth and student-friendly style so much that I even considered staying another year in the district just to serve under his leadership. However, RACE appeared to be his Achilles Heel. And very similar to President Obama, he did not deal with issues of RACE boldly and "courageously" enough for me. I liked him as a person and I respected his passion, but I suspected his credentials, charisma and connections would all fall short while trying to appease a district more interested in maintaining the reputation, wants and desires of its stakeholders (white property owners) than meeting the wholistic needs of the students and families it serves.

The FFSD's decision to relieve Dr. McCoy of his duties may have nothing to do with RACE or the school board being all White, but clearly the all-White school board's lack of respect for his leadership and handling of the situation do! Unfortunately, the elephant will continue to remain in the classroom unless parents and students make a daily commitment to education and district missions. Otherwise, the reality of racism will continue to be perceived as just a playing card .

"If only this same number of people actually cared as much about their childrens educations as they do about the race card.." -Rich Akins

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