Gee, Kaleem Caire and other black community leaders fought for Madison Prep. It was a proposed charter school aimed at serving young males, mostly black and Hispanic, to be taught predominantly by teachers of color for more effective role modeling.
Berg and several white conservatives in Madison, along with moderate John Roach, supported Madison Prep. It was voted down by white progressives, 5-2.
In 1983, white progressives voted for the Midvale/Lincoln and Randall/Franklin pairing plan 4-3. Berg joined conservative Nancy Harper and board president Salter in opposing the busing plan.
Gee says poor performance and bad behavior can be related to children of color feeling lost in an unfamiliar environment. That can lead to children “working” the teachers or pushing the envelope more than what would happen if teachers of color and similar culture could relate to parents and command more respect in class.
As reported in this paper last Sunday, Gee spoke to Madison School Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and other school officials about his ideas to close the achievement gap. “They didn’t run out of the room,” Gee said.
It’s not clear if Madison’s education establishment will budge on Gee’s ideas, which include recruiting more parent leaders and working with employers to train young entrepreneurs.