Separated By Race

By Kevin Bushweller — March 30, 2007 1 min read
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The March 30 PEN Weekly NewsBlast points to
a story in the Contra Costa Times
in California that makes you ask: What was the principal thinking?

The principal of Mount Diablo High School in Concord, Calif., apparently organized separate assemblies for students of different races in an effort to pump up their motivation to perform better on upcoming state exams. According to the story, jazz music and images of Martin Luther King greeted African-American students, flags from foreign countries greeted Asian students, and Latinos and whites had separate events.

The principal said the race-based assemblies were held to prevent one racial group from teasing another one based on test results.

Still, some experts suggested the segregated assemblies might actually have been illegal.

Reporting test scores by race and ethnicity is one thing, but actually physically separating students based on race as a motivational ploy seems, at least from this vantage point, ridiculous and insulting.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.