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Archive for June, 2010

Here’s a nice virtual tour of the Plymouth Library.  Enjoy.

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I’ve not had a chance to get much information on it as there is usually a crowd when I’m there, but the Bean has a newer roast called “Indian Plantation.”  I know little about it other than it tastes great!

I love coffee but I don’t know that I am very knowledgeable about different roasts, where the beans come from, how to describe the tastes, etc.  I think that kind of knowledge takes some study.  I’m more interested in simply drinking the stuff.  That said, I would describe this coffee as a medium roast.  It’s not too strong, not too light.  It tastes like coffee without an acidic aftertaste.

If you like coffee, I suggest you check it out.

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Today a helicopter had to make an emergency landing in the median of I-275, between Ann Arbor Road and M-14.  That’s right here in town.  Seems everyone is OK, which is the important thing.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/23888871/detail.html

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According to an article in the Plymouth Observer, which can be seen here http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20100603/NEWS15/6030605/1032/Plymouth-Canton+School+District+pushes+minority+hiring+plan, the Plymouth-Canton Public School district needs to hire more teachers and is hoping an increasing number of them are racial/ethnic minorities.

The idea sounds noble: the district is ever more “diverse” thus the teaching staff should reflect that.  That, at least, is how the district sees things:

Using “cues” he said were provided by the Plymouth-Canton Citizens for Diversity and Inclusion, executive director of human resources Ray Bihun said widening the talent pool of minority candidates, while maintaining a “hire the most qualified” mantra, is important to meeting the district’s diversity plan.“The issue is having an adult population that helps reflect the demographics of the student population,” Bihun said. “We’re a changing population, and our numbers should reflect that.”

I’ll admit a bias against any type of hiring procedures — in government or private enterprise — that have some sort of racial or ethnic component.  I don’t deny that I bristle, generally speaking, at such policies or practices.  But, I certainly don’t rule them out entirely nor do I think they are always wrong in all circumstances.  I’m open to being convinced on the issue, if that makes sense.

What jumps out at me is what seems plainly to potentially be an enormous contradiction between competing goals.  The school district talks about its supposed “mantra” of hiring the most qualified staff and also of getting a staff that “reflects,” in numbers, the changing demographics of the student body.  Which goal wins out, gets higher priority if they come into conflict?  Will PCPS hire “slightly less” qualified candidates to increase minority numbers on staff?

Perhaps my biggest concern is that it is assumed that “the numbers,” meaning teachers on staff, should “reflect” the ethnic make-up of the student body.  Can someone please explain why this is so?  Are non-minorities incapable of providing a top-notch education to minority students?  Are minorities better qualified to teach minorities?  The subtle racism of that concept seems completely inescapable to me.

Full disclosure: I’m a white, Christian, male who grew up in a (somewhat) bi-lingual Latino-Anglo home, in an all white neighborhood and in an almost exclusively white school district.  I had minority teachers and they were perfectly qualified to teach.  But I learned neither more nor less from them because of the color of their skin or the place from which their ancestors hailed.  Their ethnicity was irrelevant.  My white teachers were neither better nor worse suited to teaching me because they were white.  I cannot imagine that an Asian or African-American will be assured a better educational experience if he or she has a few extra teachers “of color.”   If I’m wrong, I’d like to be shown why…by actual evidence.

Can we just hire the best teachers, regardless of whether they are black, white, brown, green, pink or purple?

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