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Dear Keith Olbermann,

As you consider your Worst Person In The World tonight, please think of Liz Compton, the principal at High Hills Elementary School in Sumter, S.C., who is trying to bar a black student from wearing a Barack Obama t-shirt to school.

Here's the video:

Compton's school, according to No Child Left Behind statistics (available on the State of South Carolina website), is a place where:

... a black child is twice as likely to be below basic -- in math and English -- than a white student

... a white child is more than twice as likely to be advanced -- in math and English -- than a black student

...a black child is 20 times more likely to score below basic in English than test as advanced (as opposed to 3:1 for a white student)

The disparities at Crestwood and Lakewood High Schools in the the Sumter 2 School District, not surprisingly, become even more stark.

Not only does it appear that these schools are failing their black students and not finding ways to close the racial achievement gap, they are now actively trying to tamp down the pride that students feel in the wake of the election and inauguration of the nation's first black president.

Why it is acceptable for students to wear shirts of violent pro wrestlers, but not a highly educated black man, is beyond me and any other reasonable person.

This moment should be used to reach students not repel them.


UPDATE: Wow... A bit of a firestorm. The reason I posted this was to raise awareness to the fact that there are educators (and all kinds of others) who are turning a enormous positive into something less than that with negative or cautious reactions. This principal has taken a great role model for children and, inadvertantly or not, turned him into a controversial figure. That is my issue with this. Argue the fine points all you want, but don't dismiss the overriding issue.

Originally posted to JackieandFritz on Fri Jan 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM PST.

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