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metrogrkid

Michigan Black Expo, Inc. & GRPS Centers of Innovation

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METRO GRAND RAPIDS - Michigan Black Expo, Inc. (MBEI) this morning announced their submission of a proposal to the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) to collaborate on the creation of an Africentric urban music pilot school. This proposal is to be considered as a part of GRPS's recently announced "Centers of Innovation".

According to MBEI President, Mr. Rudy Treece, " . . . . such an institute would be an innovative and precedented way to generate excitement for education among Grand Rapids' at-risk public school student population and a way to dynamically tie-back to Grand Rapids' own world-class urban music heritage that includes the likes of South High's Al Green and Ottawa Hills' Switch, DeBarge Family and Adina Howard". In addition, MBEI's proposal is intended to create and grow local careers in the multi-billion dollar urban music industry as a means to further diversify Metro Grand Rapids' economy away from auto-related manufacturing and to establish the region as a new Midwest hub of urban music creativity and business.

The submission of this proposal will also maximize and magnify MBEI's past dialogue with Steelcase CEO Jim Hackett and Interscope Records' Urban Music Division President Kevin Black as well as past momentum built with former Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent, Mr. Bert Bleke, former Ottawa Hills High School Principal, Ms. Martha Williams, and a broad array of other community leaders in regard to the same pilot urban music educational initiative. "Back then, in the late 1990s and early 21st century, our concept was just ahead of its time and needed to wait for Grand Rapids and its primary school district to become ready for what we knew would make a real difference for our youth", says Treece.

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For an initiative planned for GRAND RAPIDS and that is 1) intended to STRENGTHEN its public school students; 2) that is based on other venerably successful historically black colleges/universities <HBCUs> and Africentric prep schools nationwide; 3) is designed to teach the oneness of Humanity's different cultures <that's what Africentrism does and is about at its core> and 4) is designed to engender the precepts of consequence, responsibility, stewardship and honor among its students, you can imagine how disappointed I am that no one has seen fit to weigh in and put some support behind this. :unsure:

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For an initiative planned for GRAND RAPIDS and that is 1) intended to STRENGTHEN its public school students; 2) that is based on other venerably successful historically black colleges/universities <HBCUs> and Africentric prep schools nationwide; 3) is designed to teach the oneness of Humanity's different cultures <that's what Africentrism does and is about at its core> and 4) is designed to engender the precepts of consequence, responsibility, stewardship and honor among its students, you can imagine how disappointed I am that no one has seen fit to weigh in and put some support behind this. :unsure:

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I'm going to stay neutral on this one, but I ask that everyone keep this civil.

I will say metrogrkid that a lot of us have heard a similar proposal before, about a year and half ago. I don't know how excited people are to go down this road again after how badly it ended.

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I generally support the specialized schools that Grand Rapids has. They seem to be the bright spot in the GRPS system. I would be interested to know why the school wouldn't just focus on musically talented kids, exploring all types of music, including Africentric urban music. Is there an advantage to making the school so specialized?

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I think that this is a bad idea. Other than your second point, the things that you list are the purpose of ALL schools. I think that anyone who works in the GRPS would tell you that they work towards these things (and many more) every day.

I see no intrinsic value to this idea of a school and think that it is a complete waste of resources. And why does this idea have to be based on successful black colleges? Is there something wrong with other colleges that makes these race based institutions better?

It just doesn't sit well with me. I really hope that it does not happen.

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setting free from oppression and closed/narrow minds is a critical missing component in the landscape of Grand Rapids and its public school district.

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I'm going to stay neutral on this one, but I ask that everyone keep this civil.

I will say metrogrkid that a lot of us have heard a similar proposal before, about a year and half ago. I don't know how excited people are to go down this road again after how badly it ended.

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I've been in schools that were very diverse and schools that had no diversity and I can't say that I witnessed any more oppression in the very homogenous(white) schools than in the diverse schools. I didn't detect any racial agenda at all and I think that people are people and treated as such for the most part in our public schools. at the same time minorities do seem to be at a disadvantage socially and educationally for whatever reason. I think that the same way extra resources are spent on special eduation, maybe groups that are lagging need some additional help. (I am not saying they are incapable or have any other intrinsic deficiency, but are behind because of complicated sociological reasons. I don't want to start some racial argument). I would be against any development that took resources away from others but if this represents new investment then I think it would be a worthwhile endeavor. espcially if it provided good role models and changed the negative attitudes that seem so prevalent. This is the land of opportunity but is not seen that way by many. If it this vision that anyone could be succesful were taught and the message was clearly recieved then I think that everyone would be better off. This school may be a way to achieve that.

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I think that the educational system does need to be reworked a bit. If specialized schools, that are open to all to enroll in, prove to do a better job in preparing students for a satisfying and productive life, then they should be the norm and not the exception.

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I think that the educational system does need to be reworked a bit. If specialized schools, that are open to all to enroll in, prove to do a better job in preparing students for a satisfying and productive life, then they should be the norm and not the exception.

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