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BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

Benchmark Assignment: Race Relations


Mary Kent
Grand Canyon University: EAD 505
3/9/16

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

The following paper highlights a case study analysis concerning a loss in funding for the
next upcoming school year due to a decline in the number of students that are bused from
another local town. A decision must be rendered as to how to handle this situation with an
emphasis on positive racial relations, fairness, and integrity. This paper will identify the current
information of the case, identify the information needed to determine a decision, describe
potential solutions, and a rationale for the most feasible decision that would benefit the staff,
students, and parents in the district.
Current Information
At the Smith-Jackson Elementary School, a group of minority students are bused
voluntarily from a neighboring town to satisfy the states requirement for integrated public
schools by the end of the decade. Many individuals in the community are concerned and object
to the attendance of these students in their school, as the general attitude is that the children are
discipline problems and are academically inept. These beliefs have been influenced by the many
generations that have lived in this white supremacist town. Recently, a minority principal has
been assigned to the Smith-Jackson Elementary School by the recommendation of the mayor.
The teaching staff, as well as the minority students and their parents, have voiced their happiness
of the newly appointed principal because the students now have a role model and an advocate.
Some of the students have mentioned that they wished their Caucasian teachers were of the same
background. At a recent school meeting, a parent brought to everyones attention that the
projected number of bused students would decline by 75% next year, which would pose a
funding problem for the district. During the meeting, a parent voiced that the school would
benefit without having those students in attendance.

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

Information Needed to Inform a Decision


To determine a decision, the principal needs to consider the factors and root causes of the
bused students declining numbers, and how to rectify the situation with the assistance of all
stakeholders. Are the declining numbers due to an intimidating environment from a vocal group
of parents? Are the lowered numbers due to a lack of multicultural understanding by the
teachers? An additional point to consider before making a decision is how to deal with the
parents that utilize harassing and bullying tactics when discussing their viewpoints in meetings
and in their dealings with others from another race. These instances cannot be tolerated any
longer, and are in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Potential Solutions
There are some possible solutions to consider with regards to the declining number of
students projected for next year. The first solution would be to assume that the parent who voiced
their concern at the meeting of the dwindling student numbers for next year was making a false
claim, and to take a wait and see approach. However, this would be a risky proposition in that
the funding is tied to the childrens attendance, as well as a state mandate involving integration
must be followed. In addition, the principal would not be performing his duty of properly
allocating resources for students, along with not monitoring and evaluating the drop in
enrollment. Another solution would be to meet with the parents of the bused students and inquire
as to why they do not want to send their child to the school next year, and to develop solutions.
This solution may sound feasible, however, it does not reflect on the possible root cause of the
situation, which is a racial undertone that permeates the community, and will most certainly
continue if not addressed. Only meeting with the parents of the minority students does not
address the other key factor, which would be the other parents in the community and their biased

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

actions towards the bused students. A final solution would be to enlist the assistance of parents,
staff, and students with increasing positive racial relations and multicultural awareness in the
school and community. This solution proves to be the most viable for the benefit of all
stakeholders.
Rationale
The rationale for the solution of enlisting the help of all stakeholders will encourage a
shared vision of building a culture of understanding and acceptance of diversity for all by using
trust, collaboration, and equity. According to Dowd (2014), Racism cannot exist where it is not
supported (p. 499). The first step in this process would be to review the current curriculum
immediately and evaluate for evidence of multicultural awareness units of study. Educators need
to represent race and ethnicity through proper implementation of the curriculum standards
(Pettapiece & Campbell, 2013). A revision of the curriculum may need to occur in this case to
increase awareness of diversity.
After the evaluation of the curriculum, the next step would entail ongoing teacher
workshop trainings involving addressing the needs of minority students. This lack of
understanding could be the limitation of academic success for these students and be a barrier to
effective instruction (Pettapiece & Campbell, 2013). Another critical action step would be to plan
for a meeting with the school and community members relating to the topic of race relations, and
how to foster unity and an appreciation of diversity. The success of each and every student is
predicated on the collaboration of staff and the community.
During this meeting, opportunities for discussion and strategies for improving school
culture and climate will be determined. Enabling others from diverse cultures to come together
for a common goal increases acceptance and the building the foundation of intergroup

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

relationships (Collaboration to Demystify Racism, 2015). Unfortunately, it appears as though


this community has not had the opportunity to have meaningful conversations to allow for the
change of deep-seated prejudices and stereotypes. According to Mulvey & Richards (2007),
People have the authority to directly influence the nature of race relations by simply
transforming themselves (p. 226). In these ways, the principal would be an advocate for the
promotion of success for all students in a moral and ethical manner, and with integrity.
Reflection on Decision
The decision and action steps were designed with much thought and consideration
regarding the racial divisions that are occurring in the community, and how to best handle these
divisions. To achieve the goal of positive racial relations and awareness and acceptance of
cultural diversity, a collaborative effort amongst staff, parents, students, and community
members must happen. In order for true growth and change to occur, the best place to begin
would be in evaluating the curriculum to account for multicultural awareness standards, and
opportunities for education on cultural diversity throughout the year. Using this as a starting
point, the instruction that will be facilitated by the teachers will encourage a new generation of
students to accept others and appreciate their differences and their similarities. These positive
attitudes and beliefs will continue for a lifetime, and will hopefully inspire a movement of
change with others who oppose that viewpoint in the community.
The decision to conduct teacher workshop trainings on diversity and multicultural
awareness stems from the idea of developing the staff from an instructional standpoint, along
with promoting the awareness and need for diversity in the teachings of the faculty. For example
when teaching a unit on slavery, the teachers can focus on the persistence and determination of
the slaves and their ability to overcome adversity. Teaching this important part of history from a

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

perspective of empowerment as opposed to victimization will enable the minority youth and the
rest of the students to come to understand the plight of the slaves, and yet admire their actions
and fortitude. Additionally, to have the teachers provide examples of abolitionists who had
helped the slaves escape their oppressive conditions, or focus a unit on the Civil Rights
movement would be additional ways in which to highlight these times in history when people
helped each other in times of need. These are just few instances of the ways in which teachers
can provide examples of ethical and moral behavior, and reflect on the idea that these positive
relationships should continue with others to promote the success of all students.
The rationale for holding a meeting with school and community members would allow
for the development of a discussion of race relations as it pertains to the school and the
community at large. In this forum, people will have the opportunity to share their thoughts,
feelings, and experiences in a non-threatening way to enlighten others and discover the
complexities of the issue at hand. Everyone has a unique perspective on the topic of race
relations. When people share their personal experiences, it broadens and deepens peoples
understanding and encourages growth. We cannot allow students to feel unworthy or unwanted
because of their differences. A parallel can be made regarding the acceptance of the students with
disabilities by the parents and how that same right should also be afforded to the minority
students at the school. This issue goes beyond funding as it directly relates to the morals, ethics
and the rights of all students. Engaging stakeholders towards meeting a common goal will
establish trust, encourage growth, and promote social justice. In this manner, the community will
be modeling the values of democracy and sound judgment, as well as being agents of change.

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

References
Collaboration to demystify racism. (2015). Proceedings of the Multidisciplinary Academic
Conference, 1-25.
Dowd, J. (2014). Public and academic questions on race: The problem with racial controversies.
Sociological Forum, 29 (2), 496-502. doi:10.1111/socf.12094
Mulvey, L. & Richards, S. (2007). Thoughts on a conversational approach to race relations.
Sociological Forum, 22 (2), 220-226. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2007.00015.x.
Pettapiece, B. & Campbell, S. (2013). What schools can do to increase racial acceptance? Social
Studies Research & Practice. 8 (1), 109-116.

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

Reshaping Race Relations


Saturday, March 12, 2016
9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
AGENDA
Purpose: To create a harmonious community committed to positive race relations
for the success of all.
Objectives:
1. Develop a common vision of anti-racism awareness.
2. Collaborate with school and community members to increase cultural
diversity knowledge.
Goals:
1. Acceptance and awareness of others from differing racial groups.
2. Promote the success of all students at Smith-Jackson Elementary School.
_____________________________________________________________
9:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Welcome/Introduction
Continental Breakfast
(Mayor/Principal)
_____________________________________________________________
9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Presentation: Collaboration for
Positive Race Relations
(Mayor)
_____________________________________________________________
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Speaker: The Law on Racial Equity in
Schools
(District Lawyer)
_____________________________________________________________
10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Presentation: How Can Schools
Promote Racial Equality?
(Principal)
_____________________________________________________________
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Open Forum: Discussion/Decisions
(All stakeholders)
_____________________________________________________________
11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Wrap-Up/Closing Remarks
(Mayor/Principal)

BENCHMARK ASSIGNMENT: RACE RELATIONS

Rationale for Reshaping Race Relations Meeting


The purpose of this community meeting is to develop a shared sense of commitment with
the staff, parents, and community members in order to affect positive change regarding race
relations. In order for this to occur, particular objectives must be met. These objectives include
developing a common vision of anti-racism awareness, and the collaboration of both the school
and community members to increase their knowledge of cultural diversity. In this manner, the
school and community can nurture trust and allow for an environment conducive to promoting
higher expectations and levels of achievement for all students.
Additionally, certain goals need to be identified to achieve these objectives. These goals
include the acceptance and awareness of other cultures and ethnic groups, and promoting the
success of all students of Smith-Jackson Elementary School. These goals are allowing for
responding to the particular needs of the students and community at large to sustain an
appreciation and understanding of all cultures in society, which is in keeping with the schools
vision and mission statements. The schools vision includes cultivating the potential of all
students through support to achieve academic excellence, and embrace the richness of diversity
in the community. The schools mission is defined by ensuring that all students value learning
and that they believe in their achievement of their goals and dreams.
The first presentation given by the mayor on collaboration to foster positive race relations
would include examples and evidence of how other towns and cities have incorporated ethnic
diversity. In order to increase cultural awareness, people from all groups must come together and
work towards a common goal. In this case, that goal is to increase acceptance of others and note
the value of diversity. In order for the community to be successful, ways in which productive

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relationships between the parents, school, and community will be identified and discussed by the
mayor.
Next, the district lawyer will speak regarding educational law as it pertains to the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. Examples of how this law is incorporated into the educational process of
integration, student rights, and benefitting the students academically and socially will allow for
the opportunity for all stakeholders to note the importance of this act and how these rights can be
implemented.
The last presentation given by the principal would be regarding the ways in which the
school can promote racial equality. The ideas on the review and evaluation of the district
curriculum to provide evidence of multicultural awareness and diversity, and the addition of
teacher workshop trainings related to the importance of this topic will be discussed. In this way,
the principal is promoting the success of both the staff and the students by improving the
curriculum in ways that again respond to the diverse needs of the student population.
Additionally, the trainings will capacitate the staff to be more responsive and reflective to the
needs of the minority students that they instruct. Furthermore, the principal will bring up the
prospect of developing a school committee (Race Relations Advisory Committee) to continue
addressing what the school can do to incorporate multicultural awareness in school and report on
their findings. This committee will be comprised of administration, staff, and parents to reflect
and provide feedback on the issue of teaching diversity, and to revise any practices that prove to
be ineffective towards this goal.
Lastly, the open forum discussion piece is the most critical in moving the community
forward. During this time is when the stakeholders must come together and synthesize the
information given by the mayor, the district lawyer, and the principal and apply this knowledge

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for the betterment of the students and the community. Decisions must be made as to how race
relations must improve at the town of Rose Place. In this manner, all stakeholders are held
accountable for the success of the students academically and socially.
The approach that should be taken in order to motivate and encourage attendance of the
parents at this event would require multiple methods of communication. First, a flyer should be
sent home to inform the parents of the race relations meeting. Additionally, the flyer can also be
posted at local businesses, advertised in the local newspaper, and announced on the local radio
stations to highlight the importance of attendance at the event. Also, using the Connect-Ed
system to generate phone calls to the parents, as well as sending out emails will further add as
reminders of the meeting.

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RESHAPING RACE RELATIONS


Come out and join us as we work together to build
awareness of cultural diversity in our community
and our school

Saturday, March 9, 2016


9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Smith-Jackson
School

Auditorium