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SJ Principal Defends ‘Brown Boys’ Message Board

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A display inside a teacher's meeting room at Julia Baldwin Elementary in San Jose shows African-American and Latino boys with the slogan "Keeping Our Black and Brown Boys in Mind." (CBS)

A display inside a teacher’s meeting room at Julia Baldwin Elementary in San Jose shows African-American and Latino boys with the slogan “Keeping Our Black and Brown Boys in Mind.” (CBS)

Christin-Ayers_BIO-HEAD Christin Ayers
Christin Ayers is a general assignment reporter for KPIX...
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SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – An anonymous email sent to CBS 5 Wednesday criticized a staffroom board that reminds teachers to keep “our black and brown boys in mind” as racist. But the principal of that school said the board is not racism, and isn’t going anywhere.

Principal Joyce Millner has been working in the Oak Grove School District for close to 40 years. She said the board reflects the harsh reality of an achievement gap facing her teachers and students.

“When you look at our data deeper, the most significant gap is between the boys. The boys are struggling the most and the black and brown boys for sure,” said Millner, the principal of Baldwin Elementary. “What I personally consider disturbing to me is that that gap is still existing.”

A look at school data shows that 80 percent of the students at Baldwin are minorities, with only the white and Asian students averaging over 800 on the state achievement exam. Black and Hispanic students fell below the state minimum 800 score.

Millner said that the methods being used to address the gap aren’t working in most places, so she is spearheading the focus on the students who are struggling most.

“Are we ignoring or neglecting Asian and white students? Absolutely not,” said Millner, who said the sign will stay up, and welcomes the media attention. “It’s an opportunity to dialogue.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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