School Separates by Race, Gender to Boost Scores

Sunday, 30 Jan 2011 07:49 PM

By Hiram Reisner

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A Pennsylvania public high school, which separates students by race and gender for a few minutes each day in an effort to boost test scores, is practicing racism – plain and simple, a civil rights activist Friday told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“Here's the news flash: We do not have seats assigned to people based on their skin color on a bus, on a train or in a public school. We don't do it anymore,” Michael Meyers, of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, said on “Hannity.”

“We do not believe skin color is a basis for stereotyping, segregating, separating children from other children,” Meyers said, adding the school “should be ashamed of themselves.”

For six minutes each day, McCaskey East High School divides its African American students by gender into separate home rooms, arguing that it gives advisers a chance to counsel them on challenges believed to be unique to them.

The program began in December, based on research "that shows grouping black students by gender with a strong role model can help boost their academic achievement and self esteem," according to a school statement. In addition, the junior class is voluntarily segregated by the students themselves, said Kelly Burkholder, a spokesman for the school, which is disappointed by the negative perception.

Deneen Borelli, a fellow at Project 21, a conservative black leadership network, said although she was initially angry, her research shows that the school is trying to help these students.

“Well, here's the thing no one is being denied and no one is being harmed because this is open,” Borelli said. The students who volunteer for the program “know they have a chance now.”

Meyers disagreed: “They separate the blacks, from all other students. They further separate the black students, black boys with black male teachers and the black girls with black female teachers in the guise of mentoring, meaning blacks can only have black role models.

“I don't care about how temporary the racism is. Racism is racism,” he continued. “This is a dysfunction of the education system. It is an abuse of children and it is going to end because we are going to challenge it.”

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