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Posted on Thu, May 6, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

Black-only field trip that sparked controversy in Ann Arbor receives national media attention

By David Jesse

Marian Wallace is upset. So steamed, in fact, she had to take a walk to calm down after reading about Ann Arbor Dicken Elementary School’s African-American Lunch Bunch.

“If this was a group of white students only going somewhere, everybody would be up in arms,” she said. “It’s not right. It’s not legal. The district needs to fire the principal.”


Principal Mike Madison

But unlike the Dicken parents and others in the Ann Arbor community debating the issue, Wallace has no ties. She doesn't even live in Michigan.

Wallace, who resides in Phoenix, is among many across the nation now weighing in on the issue, thanks in large part to a link to an story about the issue on the front page of the Drudge Report this morning. 

Since the story broke Monday, multiple regional and national media have reprinted stories, linked to or offered their own commentary.

Fox News posted a story this afternoon, and it’s shown up on websites from the Detroit Free Press to the Michigan Sportsman online discussion forum.

Ann Arbor school district officials said they've been receiving a torrent of e-mails from across the country.

Most of the e-mails to the district and to are from people upset with the decision to take the Lunch Bunch, which consists of only black students, to hear a black rocket scientist at the University of Michigan speak.


The trip, and Principal Mike Madison’s reaction to those students who stayed behind, have drawn fire from some Dicken parents. A parent meeting is scheduled for this evening with top district administrators.

District administrators are looking into whether the trip violated state law, as well as Madison’s reaction afterward. They have said the group was formed as part of the district's effort to close the achievement gap between white and black students.

As the story has gained steam across the Internet, it has drawn plenty of criticism - but not all of it has been against Madison.

“I don’t think he’s getting a fair shake,” said Ron Miller of Boston. “He was just trying to inspire students. Why that’s bad, I don’t know.”

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

"I don't think he's getting a fair shake," said Ron Miller of Boston. "He was just trying to inspire students. Why that's bad, I don't know." Hey Ron, maybe we should just simply reward those students who try hard to achieve and maintain a high GPA regardless of race. Unfortunately (at least in this school district) that appears to be only white students. Could this be seen as an incentive to perform better? Or , like our welfare system, reward underachievers for not doing what's expected of them with a field trip. Sure, Obama doesn't see a problem with it but motivation, initiative and hard work made the America a great country.....Kenya, not so much.


Sun, Jun 6, 2010 : 11:37 p.m.

Give me a break people...Give me a break!!! Of course... it is wrong to divide students on the basis of race for a friggin field trip but if thats what it takes for you all to go up in arms...over some dumb decision of an obviously confused principal (given the statements of former students), then you all need to re-evaluate what really matters in society. This is NOT a real issue and it is sad to see this much of a response (116+ comments?!?!?!!) for something you all really dont need to be that upset about in the first place. If its your job to complain about this kind of action, make it also your job to take action about the underlining problem at hand which is the achievement gap. If not...STFU!!! gosh, sometimes its so embarrassing to be from Ann Arbor!


Tue, Jun 18, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

OH, but things reversed what would happen. Eric Holder would launch a formal federal investigation, our President would mention that if his kids went to that school they'd have missed the field trip. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and throngs of unemployed(wearing lots of gold?!?!)/angry people would fill the streets in protest. Let's not forget wanted dead or alive posters with a $1m bounty. All from poor judgement by a person who didn't notice how stupid and unfair an idea it was. At what point do you not allow various groups to stomp your head and rights into the ground. When does it end? Those who look the other way are the real embarrassment.

future educator

Mon, May 10, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

This article, and many others, which educators such as Principal Madison have seen clearly links race and education.


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

Mr. Madison is clearly a decent human being. It appears he made a mistake. Let's hope he learns and becomes a better person for it. All this talk of firing,etc. is really overblown. Let him and Dicken get back to business and do their best for our kids.


Mon, May 10, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

Yes, Madison if he really cared about the students would resign! Is this post OK, Censorship?


Sun, May 9, 2010 : 8:08 p.m.

It has been said in the articles that the School district is looking into whether Madison operated against the law. Why aren't the parents of Dicken students getting their own attorney to look into it? It is obvious the School Board and School District have a conflict of interest here. The representatives of the School district have already begun spinning this thing, by changing their statements. How can we hope to get an impartial answer here?


Sun, May 9, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

If Madison was truely a professional, he would tend his resignation. I haven't been embarassed to be an Ann Arborite like this since Sadie the squirrel had the cross bow bolt in the neck.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

After so many comments, I still find 2 neglected points to make: 1) As a scientist, I know that science requires superior academic performance, which in turn requires exceptionally hard intellectual work. Kids that underachieve in elementary school are not likely scientist material. If any are to make it, that requires academic remediation and tutoring, plus instilling a work ethic. The pizza and basketball program aims to make them feel good about their lack of performance. That is counterproductive for raising achievement. 2) It is the School Board that wastes hundreds of thousands on consultants, not the professional staff. It is the School Board that sets policy, which is carried out by the staff. The principal precipitated a firestorm by his clumsy implementation, but the buck stops at the School Board. The School Board is elected, often in uncontested elections. If you disapprove of its policies, run for the Board and vote!


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 1:54 p.m.

I'm not from this state,Michigan is not by any stretch the be all and end all of experiences. I know my family, and while they would complain about prejudice, lack of achievement just hasn't happened to them. They keep going and are doing very well. I have seen AAPS up close and personal with the achievement gap in full force, it's not pretty. It seems like the teachers are often at a loss to really correct the situations for a variety of reasons. They need better direction and resources from administration. The PEG program is a bust,a dead end, in my eyes. Look at DPS for the worst of achievement gap. The point is of course kids can succeed. It's how you teach, but people have to have expectation that the children can succeed, from the first day of school on. They can achieve at school, doing school work,the same school work that everyone else is doing. Of course they can. Thinking anything less is a disservice to them, a cop out from the staff and administration. I believe the MEAP is one problem, expulsion and suspensions are another.. Both are problems can be ameliorated significantly with competent positive behavior support. It's desperately needed in this community. A productive dialogue can't occur if people hang on to bad feelings, and you need a productive dialogue before learning can occur.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

@Josber 1. How exactly do you know he was drawing some huge line? Do you know the man? 2. The fact that you just pulled the "I know Black people and they're just fine" reveals a touch of ignorance on the subject of performance in our schools. 3. The self-pity appears to be coming from the parents of the kids who are suddenly trying to victimize themselves over this trip. There was no problem until the group got to go on a field trip. If this group was for deaf kids, or autistic kids, or ESL, it wouldn't be a problem. 4. We should all realize that the most important thing for this country is for all children to start performing better in academics, so that we can compete in the modern world. This affects all of us, it is our collective problem, and it should be resolved thoughtfully. If we keep turning on each other, then we have no chance of success in the global sphere.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 9:06 a.m.

@ Flea a couple of things I ain't prairie folk. What the???? and Mo lives in a world of categories. For him it's us versus them. And us, via him, don't have and them do. All right, that's enough self pity, I have black relatives, though I am not black, and they are the last set of people who you could ever call disadvantaged, and their kids are the last people who live by categories and are out there doing their thing, making the world a better more creative place, and don't pick white or black because they are white or black to sit at the table with. It's the old line, there's two kinds of people in the world, those who categorize and those who don't. Do you see who the President of the United States is? People, open your minds.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

The Cambridge of the Midwest: so true in so many ways. As Harvard is a shining beacon in the sea of just-beneath-the-surface racism permeating the metropolitan area of liberal Boston, so the University of Michigan is a shining beacon in the sea of just-beneath-the-surface racism permeating the liberal City of Ann Arbor. And make no mistake: that is the over-arching story here: not what may or may not have happened at Dicken; but the largely uncivil reaction of the citizenry to this still short-on-fact story. The way folks spin the web of their opinions about what did or did not happen in the classroom, based on nothing more than channeled testimony (hearsay), exposes our prejudice on so many different levels. The blindness we have to our prejudice and the self-righteous indignation we express when someone plainly points it out to us: thats the real story. For the last few days, this town has suffered a complete lapse of integrity. And the whole world is watching. The President of the United States still had the taste of a Zingermans sandwich in his mouth when the story broke. Now hes watching the real story unfold, thinking, if hes lucky, thats his last taste of Ann Arbor. What happened happened. Our reaction gives it epic proportion. And thats the real story. Think democracy here is robust and thriving? Think again: theres a thin veil of civilization in these parts and it could all come crashing down at a moments notice, because none of us knows or appreciates how to behave. Democracy takes work, and were too impatient to take on the responsibility of nurturing it, because were Mad as Hell. And supposedly that entitles us to act irresponsibly. I overstate this crisis of civility, civilization and democracy, but only a bit. I hope well resolve this controversy and move on, but the self-righteous, short-sighted, blindness-to-bigotry I see almost daily makes me wonder. Yes, the good, decent folk here are the vast, mostly silent, majority. They go about their business, live and let live. And maybe thats part of the big story too. Are some of us being too civilized to stand up and fight for the community we have built? We have come together on this Midwestern plain to build community, infrastructure, institutions, a place to thrive and worship and celebrate and love. Are we going to stand by and watch helplessly while rudeness, incivility, cynicism and the racism of the holy and self-righteous tears everything down? When the dust-cloud settles, and the last horse-cart leaving town is a speck on the Midwestern horizon, the monument we leave behind, the monument that recently erupted into the national view, will be a tall bottle of the special brand of discrimination we brew, drink and then attempt to function under the influence of here in Ann Arbor. Thats the real story. Thats the next headline. We prairie folk, were all from someplace else upon a time, and weve all brought our big hearts and family values along with us. Can we save ourselves? I dont know. My favorite part of the story so far is when the Great Spirit sends us a true prophet in the form of Mo the Educator, and, instead of reflecting on his message, we tell him he has a chip on his shoulder. I just dont know.


Sat, May 8, 2010 : 3:46 a.m.

I applaud Mr. Madison's efforts to expose this special group of students to a role model of their own ethnicity, gender, and color. He took advantage of an opportunity that does not occur often. I do think that Girls in the lunch group should be included in future field trips. Critics, if this were the Language Group trip do you think students who were not members should be included in the Language Group's trip? Critics and disapprovers read the statistical reports, Black male students are not keeping up with the educational gains of other students. This should be another wake-up call for the Administrators, teachers, and parents in the District to bring in speakers who are representative of ALL Racial Groups, and can motivate the students to strive for higher career goals. LW

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

As I commented 7 hours ago, I think that Mr. Madison missed an opportunity. That said, I think that most critical comments posted here miss both the legal and the pedagogical points. Anti-racial-discrimination laws were enacted to prevent systems from depriving minority students of the opportunities they need. This is not the case in the Dickens matter. The needs of individual students and of groups of students almost always differ from the average. In so far as we are able, we should strive to provide our children with the educational experiences that each needs. And, this is what Mr. Madison was attempting to do.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:59 p.m.

We can find better ways to improve all of our childrens GPA if we start working on the problem at their homes. A Saturday class at the local YMCA or local Church will do just fine to accomplish our goal. Any instruction offered at a public school cannot exclude other races or sexes regardless how good the intentions. If you would only think, there are many different ways to accomplish our goal. I have found using tutors from higher grades that are closer in age can make a big improvement and also helps the older students at the same time. My comments are not intended to be personal or snotty, however You can't fix a problem with a problem.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:28 p.m.

How sad, a man of his intellegence does not see the perceived harm in all of this. Regardless of his intentions, it affects the other children personally and through their family discussions. Just listening to mom and dad talk about the whole fiasco will shape childrens future thinking. Just when we think we are making progress, Mr. Madison pulls a stupid stunt like this! Just be ready for the all white fireside chats, all white glee clubs and such. There are people in the world who are watching closely and will take advantage of the situation. I think you have out lived you usefulness as an educator of children. Thanks Mr. Madison for your insight!!


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Can anyone identify the African American rocket scientist by name?


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

@barefootdave: The MEAP data for schools statewide is broken down into subgroups. In order to achieve AYP (adequate yearly progress), scores for all of the subgroups must meet targeted goals. The district doesn't choose the subgroups. They are predetermined and based on ethnicity, special education status, and socioeconomic status.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

@havefun If Mr. Madison is such a terrific administrator, why was he moved from school to school, with a history of "incidents" along the way. Perhaps a look at his career history is in order. Whether he is a nice guy or not, is not the issue. Whether his intentions were innocent, does not matter. The same laws apply to all people, regardless of race,color or creed. He broke the law, and now must be held accountable.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 3:25 p.m.

Carl, you seem to say a lot but this is not about you or me it is about the kids left behind and this particular principle. Your throwing curve balls all over the place on this issue try sticking to this incident which is, A bunch of kids were left behind becuase this principle divided these kids do to??? It's time to blow away the smoke and mirrors on these issues, when it comes to our children there is right and wrong and neither is dictated to a child by a bunch of smoke screen. This issue is not about you or me, we had our shot years ago and most of us years ago grew up in a society that paid little attention to it's children and adult behavior. Let's quit making excuses for the past 300 years and start behaving responsibly, amen.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

When I was on the Haisley School Improvement Team, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what do do about the achievement gap. This was 20 years ago and the gap has not gotten smaller. Mike Madison was trying to think out of the box and got speared by the Politically Correct who are on the upper side of the achievement gap. Sorry Mike, to solve the achievement gap, you can only do what the people who do not suffer the consequences of the gap allow you to do. I understand what you and your SIT team were trying to do and I guess thinking out of the box is not to be tolerated.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:30 p.m.

@PleaseHelp, You are assuming that black folks want to assimilate....I dont. Why can't white america assimilate to our culture? And, I will be willing to bet that most black folks feel the same way I do. Definition: to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like: The new arrivals assimilated easily and quickly.

Carl Duncan

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

What with Obama defunding NASA and gutting the space program I don't see where there is going to be much demand for rocket scientists black or white. This opportunity was a rare moment in history for black children to see a black rocket scientist for the last and only time in their life. I'm not a rocket scientist, and I figured that out.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:07 p.m.

Any comments regarding segregation or racism are extremely off base. This is not an instance of telling kids they have to use a different bathroom, or that they have to eat somewhere else, or that they had to sit on the back of the bus, or anything else that is demeaning or insulting. I believe his heart was in the right place, which was not to single out white kids and have them feel belittled (which would fall in the racist / discrimenatory category), but to prop up and provide a little morale boost to a group of kids. If my son came home from school and mentioned this, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. In no way would it have taken away from my sons academic opportunities, and he probably wouldn't have wanted to go. So, lighten up francis. You have no idea what true racism or segregation feels like. This is absolutely not even 1/100 of 1 percent. The fool in the background during the principal meeting is an embarassment - "That's racist!" Please.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

UMalumni96, I could not agree more. Excellent point. "I completely support activities to address educational gaps in our schools. However I do not support an analysis of test data based on race. It should simply be those students that need additional help or inspiration get it. In my opinion this issue began long before the field trip took place. This issue began as soon as the district segregrated the students by race for performance measures. "


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 1:52 p.m.

@ypsilivin "And meanwhile, somewhere in the AAPS, a kid performs below grade-level and prescriptively, the school buys him pizza and let him shoot hoops." Actually this approach makes sense if you think about it. For students that aren't cutting it in the classroom, AA schools are giving up on them succeeding in academics and banking on them making the NBA. If that doesn't work out, they will have some knowledge of pizza to work at Papa Johns. I guess the principal did know what he was doing.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

As a former AAPS student, I have to say I am surprised. When I was at Tappan, it was a well-known fact that Mr. Madison had an issue with black students, particularly black males. As a black student we definitely noticed that he picked on, and was harder on the black males. This story certainly shows that he has perhaps had a change of heart, albeit his lack of tact hasn't changed. I have a bi-racial daughter, am married to a white male, and anyone who wants to pretend that race can be ignored is ignorant. Yes, we should move towards all being Americans, but we need to FIX some of these issues first. Let's look at this logically. If there was a program for another disadvantaged group, with speech impediments. Why would I get mad because my daughter is not invited? As far as socially it also seems like people are getting ahead of themselves. If my daughter and her playmate each got a cookie, and she stole his cookie and ate both, it only seems fair to give the other poor kid a cookie to make up for it, he is at a disadvantage now and she is in the advantageous position (cookie-wise). Not to mention my daughter still got two. It seems to me that the people throwing a toddler fit over this need to realize that we will never just all be Americans until we start trying harder to repair our racial divide, not ignore them. Furthermore, at Pioneer there was German Club, French Club, Asian Student Unions, etc, etc...if you want a group for your children, MAKE ONE! Sure, allow anyone who is interested, but don't complain when others make groups, do something about it. Half of you people wouldn't want your kids involved in an all-black student organization anyways, give me a break.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

Who and where was the teacher in the classroom at the time? Was he/she OK with the principal yelling at the kids in a clearly inappropriate way? Can someone with more information please fill me in on this detail.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 12:38 p.m.

The "excuses" provided by Margolis and Madison are nonsensical. No covering up this one.

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

I think that Mr. Madison made a mistake. Providing models for African-American students is very important, but respect for African-American scientists by "whites" is too.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

I completely support activities to address educational gaps in our schools. However I do not support an analysis of test data based on race. It should simply be those students that need additional help or inspiration get it. In my opinion this issue began long before the field trip took place. This issue began as soon as the district segregrated the students by race for performance measures.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 11:24 a.m.

Isn't about time for an update from or do I have to rely on Detroit and national media sources? Ed P. and the old (and missed) Ann Arbor News would have weighed in by now with an editorial piece.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 11:23 a.m.

As a tool to define a problem, measurement is always good. Since there's incessant talk of an "achievement gap" I assume that someone measured the performance of students and determined that fewer black than white students were successful in school. Apparently, this lack of success is a chronic problem, since some people say that they've heard about the achievement gap for as many as 30 years. Efforts to close the achievement gap apparently include hiring a consultant at a cost of $340,000 to design programs like the Lunch Bunch, segregating black children (who may or may not be in the gap, btw), feeding them pizza, letting them play basketball, do crafts and talk to a rocket scientist on school time. Fine. What measurement tools have been put in place to assess the success of the Lunch Bunch program? Has the program been extended to other schools in the AAPS and what is the success rate there? What improvement has been noted on standardized test scores for the black students who play basketball at lunchtime versus the black students in the control group who do not? Similarly, what is the improvement rate on standardized tests for the black students who do crafts at lunchtime versus the control group, which neither plays basketball or does crafts? What impact does eating pizza have on standardized test scores for both groups, and what was the control group fed? Which approach - basketball or crafts - closed the achievement gap better than another method proven to improve standardized test scores like tutoring? Lastly, was the program just trying to isolate the impact of the black rocket scientist on black, pizza-eating, basketball-playing boys compared to the black, pizza-eating, craft-making girls? If so, when will the results be announced? If I were a black parent of a student in the AAPS and this kind of nonsense was being passed off as a serious effort on the part of the district to close the achievement gap, I'd be mad enough to become the lead plaintiff on the lawsuit. Where exactly are the transparency and accountability in all of this? AAPS, as long as this goes on in your buildings, don't for even one second wonder why the taxpaying public doesn't trust you with its hard-earned dollars. And meanwhile, somewhere in the AAPS, a kid performs below grade-level and prescriptively, the school buys him pizza and let him shoot hoops.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 11:15 a.m.

@Mark Ferrell (posted 3 hrs ago) brought up an interesting point when he said, and I paraphrase, that kids from lower income homes often lack the parental support to be academically successful. I completely agree with this (but I don't think is is necessarily limited to low income households). I was a Kindergarten Assistant for many years and saw many little ones who couldn't find their nametags because they didn't know how to spell their names, had never held a pencil or a crayon before, couldn't follow directions, to name a few indicators that the adults in their homes didn't take the time to help them learn even these most basic things.I commented on this to a 'friend' and she said "Well that's what school is for!" No! Parents, it is your responsibility to teach your kids so they don't start out already behind their peers.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

"They have said the group was formed as part of the district's effort to close the achievement gap between white and black students". How does this type of behavior CLOSE the gap? I now see a gaping hole.....


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

Actually, I do not think Mr. Madison acted like a rogue in this instance. Most every AA school has a Black Student Union, or some such club/organization. The whole issue is singling out individuals on the basis of color, and then switching the criteria to achievement. If it is about culture, fine. Open it up to anyone who wants to learn. If it is about academics, open that up to whoever needs it REGARDLESS of skin color. I do have to ask, why does this principal need a color specific role model for the black kids when the President of the United States is ---- a black man. That really is backward thinking.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:28 a.m.

I am only a Mom, not a legal expert or sociologist or anything like that. Yet I wondered immediately how anyone thought this plan was *not* blatant discrimination or a good idea. Were all the black students' testing scores lower than all the white students' scores? I find that hard to believe.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

This is from a story on the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). They are schools that target low income (mostly minority) students with much success. "One key element of KIPPs success is time on task. With a long school day (7:30 to 5 p.m.), Saturday classes and three and a half weeks of summer school for everyone, KIPP students spend 67% more time in class than regular public school students. In the classroom, teachers utilize a variety of devices such as repetitive chants and visual aids to help children remember the material they need to absorb. To help after school, teachers make themselves reachable by phone until 9:00 p.m. to field questions when students get stuck on evening homework. With such extra supports, KIPP students are held to high academic standards no exceptions, no excuses." It was nice of Mr. Madison to try basketball, pizza and a trip to a rocket scientist but that just isn't going to cut it if you really want to see change. We need all the things listed above but unfortunately we don't have the money to pay for it.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

My kid used to go to school at Dicken until recently, and I am not a fan of Mike Madison. However, I hope that there are enough mature, creative adults involved to figue out a way to address this conflict reasonably - without a law suit. Mistakes were made. Mr. Madison should be held accountable, but hopefully the school board will quickly demonstrate its commitment to resolving this so we can avoid a costly lawsuit which will just further divide us and drain an already strained school budget. Let's put that energy into showing our kids ways to fix mistakes without suing and encourage others to enter teaching without creating additional barriers/fears. Also, I like the idea expressed of bringing in a panel of diverse people to address and inspire ALL the kids. Maybe there could also be some workshops for the kids on conflict resolution using this story as a real life example...


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

@ Carl - In your post you asked. "Have you ever been a member of the school SIT where your child attends? Even easier have you ever attended a meeting to understand what people are trying to do for your school?" My answer is yes, I have. I volunteered the first time in 2000. I have served on SITs for between one and three years at three different AAPS schools. I have also served as a parent rep on several other district-wide committees, including the one to develop strategies to implement the Strategic Plan. Mike Madison, who was an assistant principal at Pioneer when that sub-group began, was one of the co-facilitators of the sub-group I joined. SITeams formed during several different school years at all three of the schools attended by my various children had some form of Lunch Bunch, Homework Club or Academy to which African American students were explicitly and insistently invited and (after AAPS lost the Civil Rights lawsuit re. the African American Academies in the middle schools) students of other races were grudgingly allowed to attend. These groups were always led or supervised by an African American member of the staff, who was paid overtime at the standard AAEA "points" for a major extracurricular activity. In at least two cases I recall, these groups focused on African American students received nearly all of the funds allocated for School Improvement / Achievement Improvement that year. In each case, after I made the Principal actually acknowledge this budget allocation during a SITeam meeting, I was told my volunteer efforts were no longer welcome on the SIT, because of my attitude towards their "equity" efforts. Is that kind of blatant racial discrimination what AAPS means by "equity"? While the statistical achievement gap is largest between African American and Asian students, there are individual members of each group who excel and others who struggle academically. Equity demands we both challenge and support all students according to their individual needs. I have and will continue to champion fairness and individual differentiation in instruction. Including schools being sensitive to racial or cultural biases and stereotypes. But I have not and will not condone racial discrimination in our public schools.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

It is about time and I am glad it is under review. I own a business and treat everyone the same but it has gone one way. Everyone talks about being treated the same but the white community does not have White Miss America, White Magazine or White America Day. If they did all hell would break lose. The white community has been silent when these events happen and it is time to even the playing field. What is good for one should be good for all. Also quit the "African American" phrase. Whites do not say "Iam Irish American" or "Iam German American". We are plain and simple Americans and should act as such.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 10 a.m.

I applaud AAPS for directly addressing the achievement gap. As more and more black students across the country are failing, targeting specific groups for mentoring and one-on-one attention from teachers is necessary. Across the board in the country black students do poorer on standardized tests. This is for a variety of reasons. But if schools can create a climate where those students have access to mentor teachers, experiences they might not get at home, and teachers and admin. who care about them, their test scores will increase. It would be interesing to see if the students in the group were targeted for low test scores (some posters seem to think it is only based on race - I just don't know the facts). The truth of the matter is that right now in the U.S. achievement and race (and socio-economic status) are very much linked. Targeting underachieving groups is necessary in order to get closer to social and educational equity (depending on the data groups targetted could be based on gender, socio-economic status (free/reduced lunch), race/ethnicity). To the privaledged white people who do not need extra help to achieve - your children will most likely be fine. They will go to good universities and will be successful. You have more privaledges than you know (Read Tim Wise's "White Like Me).


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:53 a.m.

Wow! I am shocked and disappointed by the number of people demanding that one of the districts best administrators be fired. I worked under Mike in a different building a few years ago and found him to be a wise, passionate and effective leader. Mike was always open to ideas for improving the school and worked at an impressive pace to make things happen. Administrators have to make countless decisions everyday and its inevitable that they will make some unpopular(if not poor decisions) along the way. Mikes risk of making controversial decisions is increased significantly because he is more active than the typical administrator. I think Mikes biggest mistake was underestimating the growing anti-affirmative action climate in Ann Arbor. I am confident that he has learned from this experience and will take it into consideration in future decisions he makes for the benefit of staff, students and community.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Stories like this are why race will always be an issue. Past events cannot be changed and only so much can be done to try to rectify things, however, it seems that nothing can be done to make amends. Nothing is ever good enough. Singling out a group of people based solely on skin color flies in the face of what the Equal Rights Movement was meant to achieve. If this Lunch Bunch is to help bridge the achievement gap, playing basketball and making crafts will not accomplish this. I've also read comments from others about how it's laughable that (presumably white) people are complaining about how their kids were excluded when black people have been dealing with this for years. Such as this may be, the fact that this trip was the other way around does not make it right. Don't complain about years of being excluded if you're going to turn around and do the same thing to others. Equality should not be about getting even.

Atticus F.

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

Ann Arbor is a progressive town, and I consider myself to be a progressive person... But I think it's wrong to exclude any child from any activity based on race. Also, I've sat in Mr. Madison's office many times as a child, as he was my principal at several different Schools, and I was a bit of a trouble maker in my younger years. But I can tell you I don't believe he's a racist. Just that he made a poor decision that had a positive impact on some students, but at the same time unfairly excluded others.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

>> LET IT GO! So we should let all violations of the law go? If a law has been broken, why shouldn't someone be accountable? If no law has been broken, than by all means, let the kids continue eating pizza and drinking pop. That is, if it really is helping their education and closing gap.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

Carl, If you want to compare basketball & crafts to a work meeting, then that is a whole other issue. As far as why parents did not know about the program, it was cloaked in secrecy. only when children started trickling out information did it become known to parents. Any information about what the SIT was doing was always very vague. Lack of information is the crux of the problem, and again, this is not the first time, there have been other incidents.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

After reading the comments submitted and sitting back to think about the situation, I have some comments and constructive criticism. What Mr. Madison attempted to do is exactly what Bill Cosby has been promoting. Help fix the problem. Don't expect others to fix it for you. By trying to show those students who have been historically disadvantaged based upon race that the world is an open window and their future is a blank page, Mr. Madison takes a step in the right direction. What Mr. Madison failed to do was to include those students that have not been historically disadvantaged, to show that persons from other races can perform in positions traditionally held by white individuals (or should I be politically correct and call them European Americans). Blacks, Hispanics, and other disadvantaged individuals need to see that their futures can be anything they may want. However, perceptions need to change within the proverbial "golden spoon" group if we want our society to be "color blind".

Rhe Buttle

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

See that picture of Principal Mike Madison? I have exactly the same racial mix as our president, only I favor the "white" side. I look like Principal Mike Madison, only, "the white version". I wonder if I would have been allowed on this trip? How would he have chosen? Wouldn't I have had the right to go? I think this principal stepped in it, deeply. And it better not get a brush-off. Oh, he had the best of intentions. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". This country can never move forward if ANY differentiation is made by race, whether positive or negative.

Bridget Bly

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 9 a.m.

I think that some of the most interesting points that have been raised here have to do with whether it is beneficial to make the black kids part of a special group or not. As a woman, I have often been a part of women's subgroups within larger organizations, and I have found them very helpful at times. I also have found (as both parent and student) that elementary school lunchrooms are particularly difficult social situations to navigate, so I sympathize with the impulse to provide a safe relaxing environment during that time for anyone who would benefit. That may be as close as I can get to the experience of black kids, and perhaps it is not very close, but I encourage all of us to try to find our own experiences that fill in the outlines of this story. If you grew up poor or stigmatized, what help did you wish you had had? If you have seen your own kids disadvantaged in some way, how have you helped them without hurting others? I would encourage people to try to come from that place, not the "OMG laws were broken" place.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

I hope this story dies! IDK why the white families are being soo immature about this. I bet they don't even care who this Rocket scientist is TBH. we want to pretend we live in a color blind society but COME ON we're talking about showing black children their potential. to dilute that with oh let the white kids goes in tells the black kids seee you really can't get along with out these white people. stay close to them and forget everything it means to be black and all will be ok. LET IT GO!! i am NOT threatened by this nor should i be.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

Well it is good to see that the Ann Arbor, where I have resided for over 40 years has not changed. We all talk about the importance of equality, being fair and everyone having the same opportunities, not experiencing discrimination and not having to live in a racist society. But deep down we all truly follow the principle that I want the best for my child and not deny my child anything that someone else might get. So the issue as I see it is are you a "Have" or a "Have Not". Madison did not establish the "African American Lunch Bunch" it was developed by the School Improvement Team (SIP as I used to know it). This program was developed to try to close the achievement gap that has been in Ann Arbor since my youngest son was in the 3rd grade. He is now a junior in college. The question I would ask of the readers who have been commenting over the last two days is: Have you ever been a member of the school SIT where your child attends? Even easier have you ever attended a meeting to understand what people are trying to do for your school? Probably not. If there was an error it was in the title of the program or who was identified to participate. It should be all who are suffering from the gap regardless of race, etc.. This can be easily fixed so lets talk about what is important. The GAP. We want to fire, punish someone who is passionate about kids getting an equal chance. I would propose that since our kids do not see the overt racism of 20 or more years ago, this might be a "Teachable Moment". Perhaps those kids who did not get to participate could be taught what is racism, discrimination and its subtilities. Perhaps they could be helped to understand their feeling about being excluded because... This is what we shuld see from this experience. But alas if the parents don't see the discrimination and problem with the GAP then surly their kids will not see it either. But we can teach them "How to Sue", punish those who try and continue our problems into the next decade. A quick note on the PERKS. How many of you attend business meetings during lunch, attend church breakfasts or go to events where there is food served. These are rewards for giving up something to participate in an elective event. Should every one in the company be provided lunch because it asked 5 employee's to give up their lunch for a meeting? For most of your careers have you not expected to be rewarded for your extra efforts (at personal sacrifice). This program is no different it is trying to reward success and build positive attitudes to achieve. So mom and dads if you think that your child was denied an opportunity ask yourself why you did not know about this program and how your child could participate. What were it goals and how was this program going to be successful in lowering the achievement gap. Again, I venture to say the most vocal of you would not identify your child as suffering from the achievement gap because they are a "Have". A "Have" is not just money, its opportunity, family structure, successful role models etc. If there is a worry, it should be where are the parents whose kids suffer from "The Gap" in this debate. Well, they probably do not have internet access, nor the time to be tossing out comments during work hours. Racism exists but it is buried in the fallacies of "pulling yourself up by the boot...", everyone has the same opportunities in Ann Arbor Schools etc. These problems and conflicts will only end when truly everyone is equal.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.

I have read the story and listened to the news.. and I ub=nderstand all to well that there is a need for students who "underachive" but it should not be racially divided. I listened to fox news last night and a parent said that there is a need for that and it was ok.. now that was a parent of a child that was in the program. as I sit here I can not help but wonder if that parent would say that if it was "white childeren" only.. as the white childeren were discriminated agianst (and it is the very thing that most african americans base all thier thoughts on.. discrimination that is) how would these same parents like it if it was whilt childeren only..would there not only be out rage..but the NAACP would be here, there would be a fedral investigation, and Jessy Jackson, Rev. Farakkan, etc. would be preaching right here in Ann Arbor about how this just set "the fight" back 50 years... seems to me that that there is a whole lot of "double standards" going on.. now who is being discriminated agianst...Just a thought.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

It seems to me that the root problem with the learning of children is that many parents do not have the opportunity to interact with teachers and thus can't work together to promote good learning habits. Why not use money from activities such as the "pizza group" to bring parents and teachers together. Learning begins at home, be it good or bad learning, and schools can't correct that with programs that promote divisions. The principal should not be in his position if he does not recognize this.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

After reading some of the comments- Ann Arbor is no different then any other District, they ALL make mistakes. I personally was very wronged by a Principle that told a parent she was concerned for the children of the school because of my life style. Sad to say not everyone is excepting of people outside their color, religion or we could go on and on. People today need to learn compassion, kindness and respect of each other and except the simply fact we all are different but we are all valuable to helping young people not grow up to be judgmental, or unkind to others. Again, we can all feel wronged in our life but lets simply come together and make it a better world.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 8:08 a.m.

I hope that people some day realize we all play a role in all of this!!! Kids today have a major disadvantage these days because parents don't stay married, parents both have to work just to survive. Kids learn from the adults that don't set the right example, we fight, cuss, and do illegal things which molds our kids today. I feel if it would have been a white Principle, it would have been o.k. I'm glad someone is reaching out to kids that need a little extra support and encouragement. This is a learning curve, lets not let it stop us from supporting our young people and from educating them. I know people will assume I am black but I am not. I simply have way to o many children of color struggle and it is sad!!!!


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

This principal certainly has issues and in his quest to help black kids he has compromised the law and the rights of all kids. The fact that he does not believe he has done anything out of order is in itself a problem. All the children should have been allowed to hear the black scientist and share in the fact that he represents success. Yes, this achievement gap solution in Ann Arbor has been sought since the 70's with no success and I know the reason. Failure of parents to inspire their children to value education and achievement. It is not about being poor it is about generation after generation of bad parenting. Ann Arbor School Board take action on this issue and principal or look like you are content with the failure of our youth.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:44 a.m.

Why would you concider leaving any child behind? Do any of you think that this man does not have an agenda? Do any of you think this man did not know exactly what he was doing? Do any of you think this man did not concider that this could bring media attention? There are men and women all over this country stepping over the line of decent behavior and in these times it could get worse. Our leader has given carte blanc to many forms of radical behavior, is this a good thing or not depends on each of us as individuals. I do not think leaving any child behind can have a good outcome do you?


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:41 a.m.

There is no doubt that what happened at this school was wrong and whoever is responsible for making this a black only field trip should be disciplined....but, this isn't a rare occurrence in our country and I'm having trouble understanding why Ann Arbor Public Schools is taking such a huge blow for this. Lets focus on finding a better way to educate and enlighten instead of focusing on who we're going to sue next.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

the field trip is what is getting national attention but it is the actual lunch bunch that should be the focus. if it was truly for closing a gap, why no math games, others have mentioned? this principal has not only divided children, but also parents. and this is not a first. he has turned off many parents, but there is always a fresh crop of wide-eyed newbies every year to do the work. thankfully it is my last year, but good luck to all.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:37 a.m.

Some very sad consequences of this ill conceived event may be the introduction of a sense of academic inferiority by African American children regardless of economic background or actual academic achievement. If inappropriate "ranting and raving" to a group of white 11 and 12 year old children did occur the seeds of bigotry, or the inability to relate to authority figures may have been planted in young impressionable minds.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:16 a.m.

I have read with interest the stories following this event. What I know is: if a white school principle discriminated against any person of color like this under a pretense of bridging a perceived gap that person would be expected to resign or get fired after their name and reputation was ruined by the media. What I want is fairness in treatment to bridge the gap and want him to resign or get fired. If he feels he needs to discriminate, as shown he does, then he should go to the inter-cities and teach where allowance for this behavior is more tolerated. His demonstration has taught the children to expect special treatment because of the color of their skin which I believe strains just the thing we should be teaching - looking past the physical attributes and treating people as equals.

Hot Sam

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

I find it ironic that the man leading the field trip to show the kids what they can become is clearly not qualified for his own position...


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

The response of AAPS might be the last straw for parents deciding to send their kids to Emerson or other private schools. The result? These children will not attend AAPS, namely Dicken. The kids that left may have helped to raise average test scores. Lower test scores may make the Dicken area a less desirable neighborhood. Knowledge of the incident and retention of the principal could make Dicken a less desirable school. Again a less desirable neighborhood. All that it will take to drive down housing values in the Dicken area will be several home sales by parents seeking a perceived better educational environment. You don't think this happens? Look at your own neighborhood. Mr. Madison should be put on leave immediately pending a formal investigation.

Mark Ferrall

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Granted that I know absolutely nothing about other errors this principal has made, I feel that this is being completely over blown. I do believe that it was a mistake to a point, in that it was limited to only African American students. However the idea of a "lunch bunch" seems to be a decent idea to me as a way to inspire under achieving students (again with the understanding that it should not be limited to African American students. I'm sure there are white, latino, and asian students in the same situation). However, addressing the posts which try to make light of the achievement gap, or claim that any direct attempts to close it are racist, there is no greater task or challenge to our country's public education system. I think that the debate needs to be refocused not around just race, but around kids from lower income homes. Kids from these homes often lack the parental support to be academically successful in school. And to any very conservative readers out there, why yes that means that in the end the problems of the public education system can be pinned down to parents in the end, but unless you think we should start mandatory parenting classes or start shoving the government down people's throats regarding how they raise their kids, then the responsibility must lie with the schools to raise the achievement level of these kids. The mistake here lies with the limiting of this group to just black students, there are bound to be under performing white students as well. But this is a case of a school simply trying to inspire a group of students. There is nothing wrong with purposefully trying to find an African American rocket scientist (I was in the Aerospace program at U of M for a bit, trust me, there aren't very many at least in that program), it is a good way to show young black students that there are avenues for success. But young white students could have benefited from this trip as well. The principal might deserve a light reprimand, but should continue this group, opening it up to all students who are struggling academically.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

Has anyone looked into this individual's history with AAPS? It would be interesting to know how many other times he has been reprimanded (or not) for other, different kinds of infractions...


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 6:26 a.m.

@a2me2: Dicken, like all elementary schools in Ann Arbor, does not give grades to its students, so there cannot be an honor roll. Small point, but I feel like this principal is already being dumped on enough.

Rick Plester

Fri, May 7, 2010 : 5:51 a.m.

This reminds me of a time about ten years ago when Mike Madison was principal at Forsythe Middle school and I was driving school bus for AA. I, a white male, had some students with behavior problems and these students just happened to be black. I have had white students with behavior problems also during my twelve years of driving school bus. When I wrote up the students on a discipline request form, Mr. Madison did not address the issue with me but instead, called my supervisor and said that I was the problem and should be replaced with another driver. My supervisor, Larry Mitchell, a black male whom I highly respect, told Mr. Madison no, that I was one of his best drivers. Mr. Mitchell then worked with me to solve the problem and all ended well. He held the students accountable for their actions. Behavior problems are not black problems or white problems. I am not calling Mr. Madison a racist. Everybody can draw their own conclusionson on that issue. I am saying that just as the students were held accountable for their actions, so should Mr. Madison be held accountable for his actions. In my opinion his behavior indicates that he should be fired. He is not 'principle' material.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 5:24 a.m.

BLS, As a human being, I believe we need more human beings to ignore the melanin in people's skin and to treat everyone fairly. Practicing racial favoritism does not end racism. My family became Americans when my mom walked off a plane pregnant with my sister, I was born a few years later. My mother was amazed by the possibilities of America. Through hard work and education anything was possible. Everything was in your own hands, something not possible in her country of origin. Most of my siblings have worked hard, have multiple degrees, and have good jobs. The sibling who made lazy poor selfish decisions is in subsidized housing living off food stamps. I would say that nothing could be more fair.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 5:12 a.m.

@BLS: I hear you, however, you're exagerrating when you say that "every day is white history day." Furthermore, that's the way it is in the U.S. for the simple reason that it's been a majority white nation and thus the history was created by white people. Numbers don't know race or conspiracy. If we were in, e.g., Nigeria the tables would be turned, i.e., the vast majority of history would be black history. I don't buy the notion that in Ann Arbor black kids suffer disproportionally than whites - I agree with others that point to SES as the main factor in performance or lack thereof. I went through the AAPS and saw lots of white kids who could have used special attention, but the teachers and administrators didn't offer it, IMO because they were afraid of being accused of racism, promoting "white privilege" or other such nonsense. I also saw white kids held to a higher standard of conduct and thus get punished more often and more severely than my black peers. Now, all you deniers who cling to the notion of "white privilege" are free to tell me that my experiences aren't real or valid, but that changes nothing. Look folks, you can't end racism by practicing racism. This isn't rocket science (irony intentional), it's common sense. Mr. Madison seems to have a long history of exercising poor judgment that has led to missteps and worse. At some point you've got to hold people accountable and mete out punishment, else you send the message that a person is more important than core principles.


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 2:37 a.m.

All day every day is white history. As a black man, yes, we need more black men to lead the way for our youth. Most of you can't understand that! But your quick to put a young black male behind a jail cell. Most black icons are in sports and emtertainment. Thats what the youth see the most of. How many Ann Arbor Schools recognize black male accomplisments? Not many. You mite see MLK on the wall, maybe Obama now! But they see ALL THE WHITE PIONEERS AND INNOVATORS each day we live or turn a book!


Fri, May 7, 2010 : 12:56 a.m.

Congratulations to all the people that spoke out regarding how they felt. Now you know that when enough people speak up, anything can happen. It's not over yet. All of you need to keep complaining about this until something is done about it. If you don't, who will? Don't let this quietly go away. You make sure the school board and your elected officials know that you demand answers and accountability for this inappropriate act. This is unacceptable and we need to make it known that this principal needs to be held accountable for the mistake he made. Here is the link to the website for the Ann Arbor Board of Education:

mike from saline

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 11:34 p.m.

A learning experience should have already occured in 2006, when the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative passed with 58% of the vote! You've had your chance Ann Arbor. Now it's time to pay up!! When it cost's the tax-payers some money, They'll get it right. Count on it.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:57 p.m.

@ AnneB...The last part of your comment is confusing. ***"And, puh-lease, will those of you who are caucasians quit "being concerned" and presuming to speak for the muslim-mexican-asian students. I can't begin count the many ways that this is wrong. "*** Is it you implying that Caucasians cannot show concern for others outside their own ethnicity? Why is that "wrong"? Just curious.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:50 p.m.

This is not Mr. Madison's only "error in judgment", just ask those who removed their children from Dicken due to his ineptitude. This is a continuation of a pattern of bad behavior on his part. What about all the other schools he has been shifted around from? What was his good intentions there? Putting aside the racial issue for a brief moment, how can he justify, giving pizza, play time, and field trips to students who are not performing well academically, rather than offer them academic assistance? Lunch bunch and field trips are not going to raise test scores, good study habits do. Plain and simple, he is rewarding mediocrity. Dicken does not offer honor roll status to students who do exceptional work, so as not hurt the feelings of those that do not do well, yet those who do not do well, and according to Mr. Madison, happen to be black, are given extra privileges. What type of thinking is that? How will that assist them in life, other taking away the desire to succeed? Shame on you Mr. Madison! Instead of sending the boys to play basketball, and the girls to do crafts, why not spend that time teaching. By giving this group treats, he is rewarding their supposed inferiority, instead of helping to improve it. The fact that the district spending $314,000 to have a company tell educators that black students need more help is ridiculous. Just think how that money could have been spent using a proven method such as sylvan or kumon, to help student who have fallen behind. From a racial aspect, as a black man one would think he would be sensitive to discrimination, yet he appears to practice it. School is no place for race. He has sadly failed, and in real life when you fail at your job, you are fired, and there is no free pizza involved. Jobs are too precious to be squandered on those that are not doing them correctly. Families at Dicken need to sue, as sadly when money is at stake, change happens quicker and we sorely need change. His behavior is inexcusable, and he needs to be fired to show that we as tax payers and parents will not subject ourselves to anything less than superior service, and refuse to reward mediocrity.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:44 p.m.

Wow. This story was a hot topic amongst our play group out here in Maui. Can anyone report how the meeting went? I hope all was resolved. Could the school make arrangements for the guest speaker to make an appearance to the school to benefit ALL students regardless of race?


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:44 p.m.

@ John Maguire Did you read your own definition? What in the story at all says that it had anything to do with blacks being superior to whites. It is not racism. It was not racism. And, puh-lease, will those of you who are caucasians quit "being concerned" and presuming to speak for the muslim-mexican-asian students. I can't begin count the many ways that this is wrong.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:36 p.m.

But Madison isn't admitting there's a problem. He insists that he is correct in his decision and in his behavior shown towards the children. That's not teachable. That's just wrong.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:33 p.m.

I'm with with braggslaw. Instead of acting out in embarrassing manner in front of the nation, let us lead the nation. We should be ashamed if the best we can do is to let knee-jerk reactionary sentiments dominate. Ann Arbor can do better. Lets have a discussion that looks deeper. Lets not scapegoat a man who was attempting (obviously with some mistakes) to solve a problem that ALL of us own. Or perhaps the children should lead the way. Perhaps some student leadership from other schools without the interference of adults who are stuck in the past.

Michael O

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:28 p.m.

Well intentioned,but misguided.Find it surprising that no one is asking the obvious-did a caucasion student ask to be included? and was that student denied?...if the answer is yes to both,AAPS has a huge problem on it's hands...but that just defies logic,doesn't it?...excluding a race? Hope this is all a huge misunderstanding.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

I'm with braggslaw. Ann Arbor can be proud if this becomes a learning opportunity where we seek to understand one another rather thank repeat tired, outdated, knee jerk reactionary responses. Let's show the country that Ann Arbor can do better. Let's not make Madison a scapegoat for his attempt, however problematic, to solve a problem that belongs to all of us.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

I think there is opportunity for "teachable moment". Mr. Madison probably had good intentions but the execution of the field trip and lunch bunch was against the law and, in my opinion,racist. I think after further reflection Mr. Madison will understand the error of his ways.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

Lucky for the rest of us, "significant harm" isn't necessary to prove that State and Federal laws were broken.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 10:14 p.m.

No investigation is needed here, nor attention from the AG, who wants to be governor. No significant harm occurred. An investigation may inflame things and from comments here and on the original stories, it has burned enough. I think this will never happen again in the AAPS, its a "learning experience." Maybe send Mr. Madison to diversity training. No, send all principals to diversity training and have the superintendent attend the class too.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 9:48 p.m.

I've been following the 'achievemnet gap' story since it began in the early '70s'. There has been a lot of attention, some money, and a lot of publicity paid to this issue. I was actually a part of something like it in another inner city in NY state in the early 60's. There was a speech given for separate students in order to inspire them to become good educated citizens 'Dare to be Square' was the title. I have my yearbook out to remind me of how important this was. With all the hype that's been given to the subject, nothing much has worked, has it? Its time for something new, and this was it. Maybe the law is wrong. Its a bandaid for an injury that's no longer pertinent. I feel that the presence of a few or a lot of 'white' students at this speech would have defeated its good intent. All you need is one smart alec to poison the learning opportunity and its lost forever. It doesn't work the other way. A Black student having a doubtful attitude wouldn't go to the speech. Maybe its time to recognize the limitations of the law, the not-so-good intentions of lawmakers, and the eagerness of the preponderanlty elite majority in order to treat the disease with targeted strategies instead of generalistic, all-fair, colorblind carpet bombs. The gap is a cancer. A fair-to-all drug kills everything. Its not working, folks.

Concerned Citizen

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 9:19 p.m.

(Just a well intended suggestion, :-):) Rather than...[to hear] "a black rocket scientist"... How 'bout printing the man's name, his profession and then, "who happens to be African-American"(if that is indeed the case), etc....(or, :-), are there other folk who work on "white rockets", :-)?) Has anyone approached the gentleman to see if he might be available to make a presentation to the whole school? A well-intentioned, though misguided, "good deed" has gone awry here, please folks, rectify the matter and don't dwell on it,...


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

@Sarah, What he did is illegal, immoral, and racist. This has nothing to do with people "getting over themselves". What are you trying to say with your comment "Don't white people control enough of the world" and what has that got to do with this situation? Signed, A German,Scotch Irish, English American. But I call myself simply "an American" because I have lived no where else but in America!! BTW--God Bless America, we should could use the divine help with the shape we are in!

John Maguire

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 9:16 p.m.

@CJdriver: Also, you said "Our tax dollars go to the schools for the benefit of all the children of all race's who attend this school system!" In the article, it says that it was paid for by a donation, not tax dollars.

John Maguire

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 9:12 p.m.

@CJdriver: It's not reverse racism. If anything, it is racism. racism: the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 8:49 p.m.

Strait up reverse racism! Our tax dollars go to the schools for the benefit of all the children of all race's who attend this school system! He should be fired for he is not a good role model for all of the children who have witnessed or experienced his obvious preference to one ethnic group. Send him away with out filling his pockets with dollars for a poor job well done by himself. He needs to be re-educated himself about racism and how it hurts all people,especially the children!


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

This story makes me so angry. THE MAN just doesn't see how wrong and illeal his actions were. Even the "Lunch Bunch," a group for black-skinned kids only is a disgrace. How can black children ever assimilate into society with leaders like this?


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

No field trip should involve the exclusion of any children on the basis of race. Any inquiry into how this field trip came about should include focus on who signed off on it, and appropriate administrative action should be taken.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

The problem is that there seems to be a long pattern of mistakes here, not just one mistake. Its just taken this long for the pattern to finally cause an explosion. Show the kids that people can't keep making the same mistakes forever without facing consequences.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

If you break the law, you pay the price. Regardless of your feelings about his intentions (which I do believe were good), what he did was illegal and there will be consequences. That's a real life lesson.

Val Losse

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

Wow!!! No one ever makes a mistake in judgement or do something they regret later. The "Lunch Bunch" now have something to really talk about, segragation, discrimination boys versis girls since girls had to get off the bus as there was not enough room, constitutional violation. What else? Lawsuits? Anything else? Yes the national news media put you guys in the national eye. Could anyone have imagined all this? The kids will talk about it for the rest of their lives, I am sure of it. Has anyone thought of inviting the Black engineer to Dickens for a talk to the all the children or is that not an option? It might change things and put everything back on the right track. How about inviting a group of engineers from every race? I am sure they would be happy to a presentation. Show the kids that a mistake can be corrected and people will move on. A real life listen for all.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

Is going to be reporting back on the meeting that's taking place tonight? I knew this story had gone national earlier today when trying to get into the site here. Thankfully you posted about the heavy traffic before I got out a hammer and put my computer out of it's/my misery for once and for all... LOL!


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 6:49 p.m.

magnumpi, I think anyone can file a complaint with the State Attorney General's office. Visit the There's a big red button labeled "File A Complaint!" however this seems to be aimed toward fielding consumer complaints. I think the better place for a complaint would be the Michigan Dept of Civil Rights, which is part of the AG's office. Fire away. The AG seems to be asking someone to bring this to his attention.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 6:43 p.m.

I thought we did away with 'separate but equal' long ago. But, this story makes it clear that by instituting 'social justice', it is acceptable to not only give perks to a chosen few but punish the others for the perceived past sins of their forefathers. When practices show that any teacher or principal gives preference to one group by holding the other group back (by not letting them participate), you no longer have an effort at equality but a reparations society. This is so wrong in so many ways-end even more frightening is that so many seem to think it justifiable. Everybody involved in this needs to examine their motives here. These kids are damaged by this, and so is society.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

so how does one go about requesting an investigation?


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 6:06 p.m.

Picking one sub-group soley on the basis of race, and thereby excluding all other racial/ethnic sub-groups for a school-related activity is wrong. Even if the reason behind the group selection was attributed to the achievement gap, would the African American students not have gained as much if other racial/ethnic students had also attended?


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 5:22 p.m.

What an embarrassment to the Ann Arbor School District. I'm glad all my kids have graduated and gone on to college. My sympathy goes out to all the parents who have children in school and have to put up with this achievement gap bunk. (Better start looking at the gap between Asians ans White students).


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

He further discriminated because-per comments in the original story-the boys play basketball while the girls go off to do crafts! The Lunch group doesn't receive academic attention.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

I dont think hes getting a fair shake, said Ron Miller of Boston. He was just trying to inspire students. Why thats bad, I dont know. if that were the case than there wouldn't be a problem. The problem is he was trying to inspire black students, only.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

Fox News 2 reported today that according to Jeff Karoub of the Associated Press, Michigan's attorney general's office said on Wednesday that the situation initially appears to violate the state constitution but that no complaints had been filed as of Wednesday afternoon. Parents of Dicken Elementary students need to know that they can request an investigation outside of the district.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

I hope this story will gain enough attention that Obama will see fit to make a statement about it, especially since it has appeared at the heels of his visit to Ann Arbor.