Saturday, February 07, 2009

CCSD Plans for Segregated Sanders-Clyde

What white or Hispanic parent, given a choice, will send a child into a school with a curriculum specifically designed for African-Americans?

If you ever suspected that the Charleston County School District not only accepts segregated schools but actually works to create them, the plans for the revamped Sanders-Clyde will prove it. The truth of this statement is hammered home in the story in Saturday's P & C [ see Green Wins NAACP's Image Award] of artist Jonathan Green's success in receiving the Key of Life NAACP Image Award .

While Green's involvement with Sanders-Clyde reveals his admirable desire to inspire children who might otherwise not know of black artists, CCSD plans for a school that will not be as welcoming to students of other races. First CCSD approved the mural depicting only African-American children (shown here) to grace the new building's entrance.

Here are the latest components:

"Several years ago, Green began a partnership with Charleston's Sanders-Clyde Elementary School.

"'I think the school is important because the African-American and Gullah-Geechee culture must be preserved. But also, kids should be taught more about their own African-American heritage. In school, they mostly learn about the European influence in our country.'

"The artist adds, 'These kids, from the first through the fifth grades, will learn that 40 percent of the slaves in this country came through Charleston, and they will also learn the great contributions these African-Americans made to our culture today.'

"To teach these lessons, Green says the school will bring in local historians and speakers from the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African-American Culture, among other resources.

"'Our goal is for this curriculum to become a role model for the nation because all over the United States, African-Americans don't know very much about their own heritage and its importance; also, those in the private schools, which consist mainly of white students, don't know about this either.'


"'Jonathan has been very much involved in the design and curriculum of this school over the past three years,' says John Dinkelspiel, a community activist involved in the project. A 16-by-25-foot mural designed by Green will grace a new building at the school."

Here is an excellent example of why CCSD needs content standards. All elementary school students should learn about African-American culture, not one school singled out on the basis of its present racial makeup. CCSD clearly intends that Sanders-Clyde will remain segregated forever.

Can you imagine the uproar if a newly-built school in Mt. Pleasant put up a welcoming mural that depicted only white students? We'd all be on the Today Show.

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