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Mich. District Disbands Club for Black Students

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Ann Arbor public school officials have disbanded a program for African-American students and are investigating whether the district violated state law after 30 black students attended a field trip from which children of other races were excluded.

The “Lunch Bunch” at Dicken Elementary has ended after some students and their parents complained that they were not allowed on a trip in April to meet Alec Gallimore, the director of the University of Michigan’s propulsion lab. Mr. Gallimore is African-American.

School district spokeswoman Liz Margolis said the Lunch Bunch club helped children who didn’t perform well on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program statewide standardized tests. Officials have said the trip was intended to inspire students as part of a bigger push to close a persistent gap in test scores between black and white children.

MEAP results released this school year found that 97 percent of white 5th grade students at Dicken who took the test were “proficient” or above in all categories, while the figure was 78 percent for African-American students.

Administrators and teachers thought the trip would be an excellent mentoring position for African-American kids to see a successful professional in sciences, Ms. Margolis said last week. But when students—mostly 5th graders—returned from the trip, they were met with boos from some classmates who didn't go.

Vol. 29, Issue 32, Pages 4-5

Published in Print: May 19, 2010, as Mich. District Disbands Club for Black Students
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