SEARCH BLOG: EDUCATION and AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Two years ago I wrote:
I applaud efforts for "reaching out to students" in Detroit and elsewhere, but simply speaking to an auditorium full of students who have poor preparation and little interest in your message is nothing more than taking bows for "trying". If you and the University are serious about wanting to have more black students enter U of M as qualified applicants, then perhaps you need more than just a few pep rallies.The other day an article appeared in The Detroit News:
...U of M has the resources to help address the root causes of dysfunctional education processes, and that is where its efforts should be. Create in-school assistance programs in schools deemed under-performing. Create seminars to explain to under-performing parents the economic impact of their lack of responsibility. Offer free, on-site university programs to grade school and new high school students that show them the range of opportunities that an education offers. Create an excitement for education. Then "special considerations" will not be used in place of real effort.
MacArthur Elementary School will reopen in the fall as MacArthur K-8 University Academy, thanks to a partnership with the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Engineering Society of Detroit.
The plan is to take the school to a new level of excellence in math, science, technology and leadership skills, while keeping the students with the same classmates and teachers for three additional years.
This is a great step forward... except for one thing: MacArthur Elementary School is in Southfield which is Oakland County, a relatively affluent county (Southfield's median income in 2000 was over $51,000). My article was about Detroit (median income under $30,000) which in Wayne County.
The idea is right; the location is wrong. Also, the effort is through the smaller satellite Dearborn (ironically Wayne County) campus of UM rather than the main Ann Arbor campus.Perhaps this can be viewed as a "pilot program" that could be expanded to the Detroit schools, with over 80% black student population, where the program is really... really... needed and using the resources of the main campus in Ann Arbor. Until then, this is nice PR for UM, but not really putting "their money where their mouth is."
Meanwhile, the University continues to argue for racial preference programs as the way to overcome poor preparation and economic disadvantage.