Suppose for a minute that your kid was struggling in school, had been suspended a number of times, and was thinking of dropping out. What would you do?
I asked this question of my wife, and she suggested (1) finding out who the kid is hanging out and causing trouble with, and getting the kids' parents together to stop whatever's going wrong, (2) working with the kid's teachers to get an assessment of what the academic/social problems are, and (3) getting remedial tutoring. I concurred.
But this is not the thinking of the Greensboro Human Relations Commission. They are one of several groups holding a workshop at the Genesis Baptist Church for parents of at-risk minority kids in Guiford County, and here's what they're going to help parents to do, according to the N&R:
[At the workshop] parents can sign up to educate others about navigating the school system, appealing student suspensions and filing grievances with the district.And that is a powerful indicator of the perceptual chasm that exists between white people like me and black parents in Greensboro.
It's pretty clear from this agenda that the Human Relations Commission believes that minority kids' school problems are mostly caused by institutional racism that results in unfair suspensions and treatment of students that merits filing a grievance.
And the fact that most white people -- me included -- would say that's way off base would only be further evidence to the Commissioners of our white racism, either conscious or unconscious.
But let's not have that argument today; it's boring and I'm tired of it.
Instead, let's see what works. Try out your plan, then assess its outcomes.
Compare the dropout rates of suspended students with those of students whose suspensions were appealed. Do the same for students whose parents file grievances and for those who don't, and for students whose parents take a workshop on navigating the bureaucracy and those who don't.
But also track the dropout rates of students whose parents formed networks with other parents, of students whose parents worked with teachers on their kids' academic problems, and of students whose parents actively sought remedial instruction for their kids, then compare them with kids whose parents didn't do those things.
Then, once we find which things work and which don't, make the results public and do the things that work.
Update: As if on cue, the N&R writes in an editorial this morning that the New Light Missionary Baptist Church will be offering a program of "one-on-one mentoring and tutoring" for students receiving suspensions, as well as alternative schools in Greensboro and High Point for students serving longer suspensions.