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15 November 2004: No Wonder There's an Achievement Gap (4 of 4)
So, as Larry cried and I listened and apologized, the school secretary walked in. I was sure that she would be eager to rectify the situation. I knew she meant no harm and would be willing to apologize and set things right with Larry, so I approached her. I gently pointed out that Larry was not in the office as a consequence, but because he was taking responsibility for his own learning. He had been deprived of his recess because of her assumption, as well as the motivation to complete his assignment. (I couldnít even address the other possible consequences of her actions.) Once she was fully aware of what had happened, she actually managed to make the situation worse. I was baffled that after talking to Larry for five minutes, the secretary had managed to COMPLETELY avoid anything approaching an apology. She hugged him, consoled him, told him to stop crying. She in no way admitted fault, took the blame, or honored him with an apology. Just one tiny little example in one tiny little school in a corner of the country, but no longer do I shake my head in wonder at the achievement gap that is declaring our injustice to children of color. I didnít have to explain to Larry what happened. He knew.