Here are two different perspectives on who is being "silent" about backing Wake County Superintendent Tony Tata's efforts to recruit more minority teachers.
In a blog post Wednesday for the conservative Civitas Institute, Bob Luebke questions why teachers who've shown up at board meetings to expound on the importance of diversity in student assignment are now "strangely quiet" in backing diversifying the teaching ranks.
But in an article in the latest issue of The Carolinian, Cash Michaels quotes from an e-mail message from school board member Keith Sutton blasting his colleagues for not speaking out in support of Tata's recruiting efforts.
Here's the text of that e-mail message that Sutton sent to his fellow board members on Tuesday:
"As critics attack efforts of what I think is a very noble effort of our Superintendent to increase the number of minority teachers, where is support from our board? Why are we silent? We have all agreed on goals such as improving educational quality, and closing achievement gaps, and have supported plans to accomplish these goals. Yet, as "Tata's minority hiring plan slammed" appears as a headline in Saturday's N&O, I for one, support the effort of our Superintendent to close the gap between our minority student population and our minority teaching force.
We may not all agree on all of the things that we do as board members or that the superintendent does. But it does seem to be quite inconsistent and paradoxical that we continuously talk about the failures of our minority and economically disadvantaged students and the strategies that are needed to improve their chances, but we don't support the things that will ensure they are successful. We parade speakers in from all over the state and country to talk about the resiliency in African American children and research on the racial achievement gap, and we do this for what? When the exact policies and strategies that they promote such as cultural competency and cultural relevance, we can't or don't support.
If we are serious about ensuring that minority and economically disadvantaged children reach their full potential, then we must follow through on that promise. All of these students will become adults, and when they reach that potential and if we can't support them as adults then are we really being truthful with them. Are we really being sincere in our own efforts?
I am certain that as time goes on, and the minority recruitment efforts prove to be fruitful, there will be some of our board members who are silent now, but will be quick to take credit for boosting the number of qualified black teachers and administrators, or to take credit for closing achievement gaps for poor, minority students."
So while Sutton and Michaels are challenging why members of the board majority aren't speaking out in defense of Tata's efforts, Luebke is asking the same question of "activist teachers."
"I wonder: does the silence mean these teachers oppose more minority hiring or the prospect of being assigned to a school based on its racial composition?," Luebke writes. "I guess it’s fine for activist teachers to fight for grandiose education and social goals – as long as those plans don’t impact them."