Blake, Henry High swap students for a day in conversations about race, class

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 10:42 PM

When students from two vastly different Minneapolis high schools spend time together, will they focus more on their similarities or differences?

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turgidApr. 13, 1310:23 PM

Kudos to those kids that took the class and all the kids who participated. They are setting the,selves up nicely to live in a bigger world than most of us see.

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trlandsApr. 14, 13 7:52 AM

Yes, good story. Every little bit helps.

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Willy53Apr. 14, 13 8:39 AM

Well, now, aren't we getting down to one of the primary reasons for the "achievment gap" if you want to call it that. Another name for that is poverty, or substandard schools, or unequal funding of districts (rich districts pass referendums that keep their schools upgraded) or lack of pre-school learning. The challenge is to the Blake students to look past the surface and understand what is missing from Patrick Henry that they take for granted. This is a great idea and if successful should put at least a tiny dent in the privlaged lives of a very few kids from wealthy families and perhaps create a spark of compassion that helps them form a coherent life philosophy that includes the welfare of all citizens, especially in educational opportunity.

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littlebigboyApr. 14, 1310:45 AM

too bad nobody takes responsibility anymore. Excuses are like butts, everyone has on some are just nicer than others.

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potatoskinApr. 14, 1312:10 PM

What a great exchange program. How can we get this established in more metro area schools? Thanks for writing about this, Gail.

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alexfreconApr. 14, 13 7:26 PM

@Willy, It sounds like you think that, as of right now, these "privileged kids" either is in need of a spark of compassion or does not contain any compassion at all at the present time, is this accurate? And if so, I'd be interested to hear what kind of events in your life led you to develop this opinion. If no, let me know where I messed up. Obviously, we all agree that programs like these, at the very least, help a select few students gain further perspective. They also make for a good story (as the StarTribune noticed.) But I think we should remember that these programs are always cognizant of the fact that (and this is especially true for the case of a school like Blake) these "programs" will lead to press.

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comment229Apr. 15, 13 5:22 AM

It would be interesting and informative, if all ten of these students would write a paper (OK 500 words or less) on their experience and let the paper publish it. Maybe we could learn more from first hand accounts of this; heck, maybe even a few kids from both schools might decide it was something worth reading.

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comment229Apr. 15, 13 5:24 AM

My only other thought on this, was instead of taking some obviously talented five kids from each school, why not consider doing the same "experiment" for lack of a better word, with five average students from each school; and then with five of the "worst" (you define worst anyway you would like).

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comment229Apr. 15, 13 8:09 AM

PS... just one more thought after reflecting on this a bit and reading it again.... why, did only five students sign up for the class at Blake? You can speculate and so can I, but a once popular class adds this and all of sudden it becomes poison?

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UMD1983Apr. 15, 13 9:06 AM

The exchange is a phenomenal idea; it just needs to involve much larger numbers. The five from Blake who signed up for the race class were by definition predisposed to be more attuned to the differences they were going to experience in the exchange. It's the kids who don't have any overt interest in the difference between themselves and their less fortunate counterparts who need to be exposed to this. It ought to be a requirement, and not just for a day. How about a week of taking a city bus to school and really walking in the other person's shoes? The idea of living in one another's homes is perfect, because it would really open some eyes.

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