A Pennsylvania high school has abandoned an education program built around racial segregation after national attention generated unflattering coverage. Lancaster, Pa.’s McCaskey East High segregated students by race and gender for specific short periods of time each day and twice a month to meet with mentors.
“This is a study in unintended consequences,” Richard Caplan, president of the Lancaster school board and a supporter of the program, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Caplan and other officials at the school thought that students with strong mentors performed better in school.
“One of the things we said when we did this was, ‘Let’s look at the data, let’s not run from it. Let’s confront it and see what we can do about it,’” McCaskey East principal Bill Jimenez told CNN. “In visiting the classrooms, I saw students planning their path for success after graduation.”
The program will be extended to all students now, regardless of race.
However, the segregation is part of what many see as a dangerous pattern among America’s schools. Some school districts around the country are seriously considering re-segregating is school districts. One of the more prominent cases is in Raleigh, N.C. where the Tea Party-backed Wake County School Board is advancing its agenda to end integration in the school system.
“Our fight in Wake County against re-segregation should be our fight throughout the nation,” said North Carolina State NAACP President Rev. William J. Barber in a statement. “We will never back away from our struggle to ensure that every child has access to a high quality, constitutional, well-funded and diverse public education.”
The NAACP is planning a rally on Feb. 12 in Raleigh to protest the proposed action. NAACP President Ben Jealous says it’s not time for the nation’s school systems to move backwards.
“Separate but equal was wrong then, and it’s wrong now,” Jealous said in a statement. “We cannot in good moral conscience separate the struggle for diverse and superior education from the struggle for jobs and economic solutions.”