The Dayton Public School district has announced the launch of a new office for males of color. It’s modeled after projects in Oakland, California and in Minneapolis designed to address racial disparities in education as well as suspensions and expulsions. The district’s chief of school innovation, David Lawrence, spent time in both of those districts and spearheaded the launch here. The program in Dayton will attempt to address issues of unconscious bias among principals, teachers and other staff, but also work directly with students on building confidence and expectations about their own performance. Jobs were posted last week for a program director and several facilitators who will work across the district.
WYSO’s Lewis Wallace asked David Lawrence why DPS thought it was important to invest in the idea:
Highlights from the audio:
“When we have a disaffected population like this, we know that ultimately it creates a prison pipeline...if I’m not in school, that means I’m in places and doing things that I shouldn’t do.”
“We’re not suggesting that consequences don’t have a place...but we also are taking a hard look at the data. And if we commit the same infraction, and you go back to class and I get sent home for three days, that’s a problem.”
“Many of the trailblazers and the supporters for this have been women, and as we go through this process and build and understand males of color and what we’re doing right to change things for them, those same things can probably be applied...to all disaffected groups.”