"You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”

Something incredibly strange is happening in Buckhead (one of the wealthiest areas of the country) that should cause the thinking person to pause, however briefly, and realize we are about to enter a new phase of intellectual life in America.

Buckhead: The Key to ending Black-Run America (BRA)?

And, of course, it deals with that word “racism.” Or, more precisely, the charge of being a “racist.”

Located in North Fulton County (uh-oh, the affluent white part of Atlanta), North Atlanta High School is experiencing extreme turmoil, which is once again bringing unwanted scrutiny to the Atlanta Public Schools – APS – system. You remember APS, right, home to the almost entirely black academic scandal?

Buckhead is roughly 76 percent white, but the sons and daughters of the majority in this Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) enclave would never be sent to be educated with black kids.

Never.

So North Atlanta High School, though located in the wealthy (white) part of Fulton County, is a majority black school at 55 percent African-American, 22 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 7 percent other. The average SAT score is 1439, one of the higher scores in all of the county.

It seems six key administrators at the school, including interim principal Mark MyGrant, were removed by the APS Superintendent Erroll Davis:

At a community meeting Tuesday night attended by hundreds, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis told North Atlanta High parents that under the state’s old accountability system the Buckhead school could have been “seized” by officials because of failure to meet academic goals. That system was ditched this year in favor of a new system of evaluating schools, which shows North Atlanta High is in good standing.

Davis discussed the school’s low performance in connection to recent leadership changes at the school, but said they did not play a role in the timing of the abrupt dismissal of interim principal Mark MyGrant and five of the school’s top administrators. MyGrant was retired and scheduled to leave at the end of this month; an assistant principal and three academy leaders were reassigned, while another academy leader retired


Davis said the school, which is located in one of Atlanta’s most affluent communities, is underperforming. He cited a sluggish graduation rate and new student growth data, which shows the school is slightly above average in terms of how much students are learning in a year.

MyGrant said the removal dealt with charges of racism against two staff members he hired last year. Davis said he could not address personnel issues.


In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Wednesday, MyGrant said “it is time for us to move on.”

Under-performing? Shouldn’t some of the black students at North Atlanta High School be the black sons and daughters of black multimillionaires living in Buckhead?

Before we get the “charges of racism” MyGrant spoke of, just how poorly are students at this majority black hgh school located in posh 75 percent white Buckhead performing?

A sampling of data reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows the school located in Buckhead, one of Atlanta’s most affluent communities, has a mixed academic performance.

About 62 percent of its students graduated in 2011, 10 percentage points above the district’s average of about 52 percent. The highest graduation rate was at Carver Early College, where 97 percent of students earned a diploma.

Davis highlighted North Atlanta’s rate in his comments Tuesday night, when he noted that four out of 10 students won’t graduate from the school.


Under the state’s old accountability system, which was ditched this year, North Atlanta High for years failed to meet annual academic goals. Only three other schools in the district had a worse track record of meeting benchmarks than North Atlanta, according to state data.

But the school is among the district’s best in other subjects. State data from 2011 shows North Atlanta’s SAT score of 1,439 was the second-highest in the district, just behind Grady High’s of 1,455. Passing rates on the End of Course exam in math 2 were the fourth-highest in the district.

Low standards, even for a county where the almost entirely black high schools in the South Fulton consistently perform at standards that are the worst in the state of Georgia, if not the entire country.

So what’s this charge of hiring a racist all about? [N. Atlanta High teacher quits, rips racism claim, Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Jaime Sarrio, 10-13-12]:

A North Atlanta High teacher has left her position at the school following accusations of racial discrimination, according to a letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Amy Durham worked as a language arts teacher at the school, where a little more than a week ago six key administrators were replaced, including interim principal Mark MyGrant.

In a letter to school officials, Durham said her position was never officially approved by the school board because she was told there were “outstanding questions” about how she was selected for the position.

Durham said in September she was told about a charge of racial discrimination made against her related to her part-time work at the school’s college and career counseling center in 2011-12. She said she has tried to get clarity from Atlanta Public Schools about the allegations, but has gotten no response.

As a result, Durham sent the letter, dated Oct. 10, saying she was leaving her position at the high school.

“As you can understand, the initial enthusiasm that I had to be an Atlanta Public Schools teacher has been considerably diminished,” she wrote.

On Oct. 5, APS officials reassigned four North Atlanta High administrators — an assistant principal and three academy leaders. Two other administrators — interim principal MyGrant and academy leader Reginald Colbert — both retired. A new principal takes over Oct. 29. 

MyGrant said he would present evidence that the replacements grew out of what he considers politically motivated and baseless allegations that two of his recommended hires — a graduation coach and an English teacher — were racists. He delivered 25 pages of documents to the central office Tuesday that he said would exonerate him and the other administrators. Late Wednesday, he released a statement saying, “It is time for us to move on.”

Again, so what are these “racist” charges that went to the APS, which seems to be the underlying rationale for removing the leadership of a school that was merely producing the SAT scores and graduation rates that have become expected of black students.

Would you believe Durham was accused – by an anonymous individual – of racism, because she didn’t have a reception for a black student that was accepted into Harvard (no questions or insinuations if this student got in because of affirmative action… promise! Whoops…) [In emails Atlanta Public Schools board members disagree how to investigate allegations of racism at North Atlanta, AJC, by Jaime Sarrio, 10-17-12]:

Weeks before Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis replaced six key administrators at North Atlanta High, two school board members exchanged emails over parents’ complaints of “institutional racism” at the school and how to deal with it.

In the emails obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request, school board chairman Reuben McDaniel and District 4 board member Nancy Meister disagreed over how to investigate the allegations.
Davis said Tuesday the district gets allegations of racism frequently. In this latest case, the district reviewed the allegation and decided not to investigate. It was passed along to the principal, he said.

APS officials swept into North Atlanta High on Oct. 5 and replaced the interim principal, Mark MyGrant, and five administrators. The upheaval sparked protests from parents and teachers — and triggered rumors that the shakeup was tied to alleged racism at the school.

Davis defended the staff moves by saying the school for years has been underperforming academically.

“It’s clear nothing much has been done about (performance issues), or if something has been done, it’s been done ineffectively by the leadership team,” Davis said this week.

On Aug. 18, MyGrant emailed Davis that he had investigated anonymous allegations that a teacher about to be hired, Amy Durham, was accused of racism for not having a reception for a black student who will be attending Harvard University.

“I am not sure how to respond to the racist comment other than to say that I have worked with her [Durham] for 10 years and have never had any concerns or complaints,” MyGrant wrote.

Three days later McDaniel sent an email to Associate Superintendent Steve Smith, asking him to collect data from North Atlanta that breaks down the school’s graduation rates, and other performance metrics, by race. He asked for an ethnic breakdown of teachers and staff who were recommended for positions by interim principal MyGrant.

“I think it is critical that we understand these issues as we go through the principal selection process so that we can factor in some of the skills required to address the racial issues at North Atlanta in our new leadership,” McDaniel wrote.

Meister responded in an email 35 minutes later that the analytical search for evidence of racism shouldn’t be focused just on North Atlanta, which is in her district. “We should have this conducted for all high schools across the district. This will allow us to have an equitable and fair analysis across all schools,” Meister wrote.

McDaniel wrote back that he agreed gathering data across the district “would be interesting,” but not practical. He wrote: “My purpose for requesting the data is to begin to understand statistically the evidence I have received from parents at North Atlanta indicating that we have a problem there that is based in an institutional racism mentality.”

Thanks to Constructive Feedback for this illuminating breakdown of North Atlanta High School

What? No party for a black student getting into Harvard – obviously, they were accepted into Harvard because they are black – can only, only be due to extreme racism on the part of the North Atlanta High School teacher.

Again, you are probably asking yourself “What the F—?” but the city of Atlanta is run with the same type of mentality that A. Reginald Eaves had when he was appointed director of public safety – serving as the super chief for all police, fire, and public safety services in Atlanta – by the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1974. An extreme example of racial cronyism – having no police experience – Eaves promoted African Americans to every level of administration in the Atlanta Bureau of Police Services so that they were a substantial number and percentage of the sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, and deputy directors. Eaves successfully carried out Jackson’s mandates in the Bureau of Police and he made it reflect and represent the people that it was supposed to serve. He stated that he wanted as many “black police administrators as possible making decisions about black lives” in Atlanta. African Americans in Atlanta began to believe that the Bureau of Police Services was their friend and on their side. (Atlanta’s Winning the Fight Against Black-on-Black Crime, Ebony, June 1976)

No, Atlanta isn’t the fight against black-on-black, or black-on-anyone crime. It’s a dangerous place, with every public department still run by the same type of racial cronyism Mr. Eaves bragged about implementing in the 1970s.

Not throwing a party for a black kid going to Harvard can even get you fired, and the principal removed.

Back in 2010, the AJC reported that white parents were considering saving some money and instead of splurging on private school tuition, they might actually use the public schools their tax dollars fund [More kids stick with Buckhead schools, AJC, 3-15-10]:

Parents living in Atlanta’s tony Buckhead have for years enrolled their children in the city’s elementary schools, later opting for higher performing private middle and high schools. That left the North Atlanta area’s one middle and one high school underpopulated.

Talk to old-timers, and they throw out a number of reasons: Marketing. Racial bias. Academics.

Nancy Dillon, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Buckhead, said families without children in public schools often move out of the city because of its higher taxes. “But if they think their money is going toward something good, you’ve got something that’s a draw,” Dillon said of the new high school. “It’s all about quality.”

The Buckhead cluster contains six elementary schools, Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High School, which offers an International Baccalaureate program begun in 1982 — the Southeast’s oldest.

Still, “parents had a perception,” said Sidney Baker, principal of Buckhead’s Sarah Smith Elementary School since 2000. “What some people saw [was] the racial makeup.” Many consider Buckhead the center of Atlanta’s white business and civic community. The city school system overall is predominantly black, reflecting the city’s demographics. Yet both are diversifying.

“You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means”

North Atlanta had magnet programs that drew students from all over the city, including for international studies and for the performing arts. Ten years ago, 69 percent of the student body was black and 20 percent was white. In October, after the system remade the magnet programs into “small learning communities,” the percentage of black students stood at 59. White students made up 17 of the student body and Latino students made up another 17 percent.

But there were other factors that fed into parents’ perceptions. North Atlanta was no athletics powerhouse, in large part because students went there for reasons other than its sports teams. And despite the prestige and awards earned by both the school’s magnet programs, parents felt the school’s academic prowess did not seem as strong as that of nearby private schools, some of which are nationally recognized.

Wait a second: so North Atlanta High School has consistently been the dumping ground for the best performing black students in the region, but even they can only muster a graduation of 62 percent. But they still know how to complain about “racism” when a party isn’t thrown in their honor.

One day, not far from now, someone is going to start a revolution by simply laughing at an accusation of “racism” by saying – channeling Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride – and say, “You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.”

With a smile, they’ll add, “let me show you what it means.” 

Does that sound “inconceivable” to you?

No?

Good. 

It shouldn’t.  

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