Katherine Flagg wrote a pretty good synopsis of the race-related issues facing the Burlington School District for today’s Seven Days titled:
“Color Bind Everyone agrees the Burlington School District has a race problem. Now what?”
The title is a little weird, but the piece is good. Katherine Flagg interviewed me at the OP last week for my contributions to the article. Nice work Katie! Click the text-link or the image to go to the story at Seven Days.
I may as well say now that I will vote to extend Jeanne’s contract on June 12, although I don’t know what the board will decide collectively. I think she’s doing well enough not to deserve to get fired. That isn’t to say the schools aren’t grappling with issues of racism, cultural insensitivity, achievement gaps, harassment of all types, bullying, ignorance and everything else. Of course we are. Issues like these are more pronounced as an environment becomes more heterogeneous, and Burlington schools are arguably the most heterogeneously popluated societal microcosms in Vermont - The Schools are responsible for the safety and the education of all children so we can’t tolerate any of this type of baloney.
The fundamental philosophical element of human rights, most religions and the American Way is equality. Equality. The board has recently passed a tough new anti-harassment policy the prohibits attacks for all manor of protected characteristics. Jeanne has been getting cultural training to the staff. We will be doing a new bullying policy soon. I would like to hear that Amy Mellencamp is integrating the ‘English Language Learners’ more both physically and educationally at BHS so the kids can all get to know each other better… but I don’t see how firing Jeanne is going to get me that. We did create a standing board committee on diversity and equity too.
The arc of the moral universe doesn’t bend itself toward justice. We have to bend it with persistence and hard work. Simply getting rid of Jeanne won’t solve these problems at all in my opinion.