Cecil writes: “Since we’ve been talking about him so often, this story about Rick Turner’s efforts to get more UVa students involved in tutoring city school kids might be interesting to the cvillenewsians. Presents somewhat of a rebuttal to those who claim that M. Rick just parachutes into various controversies and then skedaddles when the cameras leave.”
7 thoughts on “Turner’s Tutoring Turnout”
Let me clarify: I’m ambivalent, at best, about Turner’s politics and approach and style and the fights he picks and everything about him. I think he did great harm during the Great Griffin War of 2004-05 with his public comments about Charlottesville whites. But he does surprise me now and then with what looks like something approximating balance in his approach; he lays into the black population almost as often as he lays into the whites, for example. And this kind of effort, where he’s using his influence at the University to get more UVa students involved in tutoring CCS kids, seems a worthy effort.
Im actually a UVa student who plans to get involved in this once they allow me to have a car on grounds next year. Mr. Turner gets a lot of critism but you must remember that this is the man who resides over the office of Affrican American Affairs at a university that has one of the most tense racial environments in the country. With that being said UVa still has THE highest graduation rate for blacks among public schools and is in the top ten for all schools. In short, you may disagree with his politics but when it comes down to it Mr. Turner is good at what he should be good at, his job.
I think that Turner is good at many things that he is supposed to be good at, but not good at other things that are important. He gets credit for not sitting back and doing nothing, at the very least.
But I’m curious about one thing you wrote: UVa has one of the most tense racial environments in the country? I’m wondering what that claim is based on. I’ve been at other universities, and my sense is that there are MANY, MANY more racially divided, hostile places than UVa. UVa is not perfect by any stretch, but most tense? I’m really wondering where that characterization comes from.
I agree- tense…..not in the environment that I went through. Not equal, yes racism but not the most-obviously this person has never been in Louisiana where blacks and whites are still segregated at restaurants.
On the other hand- I think this is great. If we can get the students to show up from Madison House and Turner’s program that will be awesome. We need the role models and are looking forward to this joint effort>
By the way the lady who slammed from Nelson County that slammed the school board at the end of the public meeting obviously doesn’t know they turned Griffin down when she applied there.
Initiatives such as Turner`s are to be commended and the participants (students and mentors) deserve support. I hope we see more of this.
My judgment about this school is biased. I have never attended another school but I have gotten emails from several prospective (ranging from Alabama to Conn.) that have the same question about UVa… Isn’t it a racist and segregated school? I of course say its not as bad people portray it but I find myself asking “or is it?” My thoughts are only worsened as I receive emails every month updating me on new occurrences of racism around grounds. To top it off my roommate makes bluntly racist jokes and comments all of the time. I’m sure there are worse schools, which is all the more depressing. Getting worse then beating a black girl up b.c she’s running for president is pretty bad. Writing racial slurs on a car is pretty bad. Having a frat that is known for its racism and has been kicked off other campuses is pretty bad. Reading editorials like the ones you find in the Cav. Daily is pretty bad. The question is then: “why do you stay then?” Answer: I’m not going to let bigots run me out of one of the best schools in the nation.
As I’ve said, however, I’ve never attended another school so my judgment is skewed. Also, as I sated before, if there are worse places, it’s really more depressing than reassuring.
I also like Mr. Turner’s action to start a tutoring session. I just posted a comment under the newest article discussing the achievement gap which talks about moving from discussion of social change into action to achieve social change. For as much as I disagree with some of Mr. Turner’s methods of “discussing” social change, I appreciate his action in this regard.
That being said, tutoring programs are not inherently beneficial to students. “Tutoring” is another way of saying “teaching.” With students who are significantly behind academically, it is highly unlikely that one week tutoring sessions with college students et al. who do not have quality training in reading instruction, math instruction, etc. will see significant gains. If our teachers in school cannot make such gains and they have students six or more hours a day, five days a week, how will relatively untrained individuals do more in a few minutes a week?
Many tutoring programs are token movements to improve education. They demonstrate that the individual(s) starting the programs care about education. However, such programs rarely contain the critical mass of effective tutoring elements needed to be successful. In order to be successful, among other elements, tutoring programs need to be part of a larger coordination of efforts by the community (including schools, parents, recreation centers, etc.). Again, I discuss our need to move into the action stage of social change in my recent post under the new achievement gap article.
Thanks, overall, to Mr. Turner for taking action. Let’s not, as a community, let that effort be wasted.
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