The educational achievement gap between black and white students is real, and schools across the nation are implementing creative new strategies to bridge that gap. The staff of one Seattle High School has found themselves in the middle of controversy for their clunky effort to bring parity in this regard.

Franklin High School recently rolled out a pledge called, “Keeping it 100” which calls upon black students to essentially do better.

The letter, which was distributed to all students but aimed specifically at ‘African-American scholars,’ requires them to be at school on time, hold themselves to meet high expectations, and complete high school. Upon receiving the letter many students threw it away.

In an interview with Q13 Fox News, high school senior Bazia Potts said, “We were upset because the whole 12th grade class got the paper but it was supposed to be for us,” she said. “I know I felt embarrassed and my peers felt embarrassed as well.”

While committing to accountability for one’s own education is crucial to the academic success, for many, the issue isn’t with the pledge itself so much as its singling out of black students.

Neffertiti Thomas, the mother of a Franklin High school student told Q13 Fox News , “I don’t think they read that letter feeling encouraged, uplifted at all.  They walked away feeling like I can’t do enough, I still didn’t make it.”

Photo: KREM 2 News
Photo: KREM 2 News

In response to the controversy, the school has committed to establishing a parent/community advisory group to institute more effective ways to accomplish their goals.

The Seattle Public School Board issued the following statement:

“Seattle Public Schools is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student. A student covenant was recently created by staff at Franklin High School. After meeting with senior students, Franklin staff discontinued the covenant as it proved to be a distraction from the original intent which is to increase efforts and support for African American students and ensure college readiness.  In addition, a parent/community advisory group is under development to increase the school’s collective wisdom, inform their practices and build capacity to reach the goal of 100% of African American students college ready.”

The school board has committed to establishing a parent/community advisory group to institute more effective ways to accomplish their goals.

See full report from Q13 Fox News here:

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