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Re: “Chavis in Hot Water

Mr. Chavis recently appeared on a panel in New York City as part of the Education Equality Project's Education Day which was held as part of the National Action Network Annual Convention. During his presentation, Mr. Chavis used expletives and derogatory ethnic terms including "darkies." He also stated that upon hearing liberal speakers during earlier sessions, he felt motivated to "pulling them down off the stage and kicking their asses."

In many instances, he did include himself in his definition of darkies, but not always. His comments were insulting to me, calling me an "embarrassment" after coming down from the dais and coming nearly nose to nose with me after I protested his language. Others in the audience found his remarks to be quite incendiary and racist.

Sadly, I do not think that Mr. Chavis would disagree with this foregoing description of his behavior or the effect thereof. It seems that his philosophy is that his "results justify his extreme means." This seems consistent with reports, which we have not confirmed, that he "motivates" by striking fear into his students and has shaved the head of one who violated schools rules.

As a parent of five daughters, the four adults of which have each obtained college a degree from a pretigious university, after graduating from the puplic school system in NYC, and being an advocate for many poor, immigrant, special needs children of color, I would venture to say that many parents of these children in Oakland, NYC, and other urban school systems are so desparate for quality education for their children, they would not dare challenge a principal like Mr. Chavis.

I am of the further opinion that Mr. Chavis could maintain the high level of academic student achievement, without being disrespectful, ostensibly racist, and, most importantly, without emotionally damaging his students. Moreover, he certainly is not a good ambassador for the Oakland school system or the so-called education reform movement.

Granville Leo Stevens

Posted by Granville Leo Stevens on 04/24/2009 at 9:17 PM

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