Letters to the Editor

Marysville School Board's Kundu: 'I adamantly reject racism'

To the Editor,

I firmly believe that all children are capable of learning; I do not believe that any one specific racial group is superior or inferior to any other; I firmly believe that the Marysville School District is, and should always be, committed to all children in our district (including minority and tribal, ESL, special education, and 504 student cohorts, etc.).

Most importantly perhaps, I adamantly reject racism and considered prejudice as one of the most destructive forces in global society today.

These are my true, personal convictions on matter – despite what some in the community would suggest.

Further, I do now understand that my earlier assertion, that “racial genetics is definitively linked to intellectual achievement,” is incorrect. From my additional research on the issue, I’ve learned that a definitive link has neither been confirmed nor ruled out, so my assumption that the premise was fact, is mistaken. In light of that realization, I willingly retract my statement to that effect, and apologize for presumptively presenting it in board dialogue.

I am, however, deeply concerned that some in the community would suggest that one’s constitutional freedom of speech - and the associated freedom to dialogue issues while seeking to better understand what we can do to eliminate the achievement gap – should be restricted or censored.

Dialogue is a fundamental path toward understanding – and in some cases, for redirecting, changing, or correcting another’s concerns or perspectives. When political and/or activist groups seek to attack or discipline individuals for expressing that fundamental, constitutional right, then progress, reconciliation, and civility are all diminished. Following the release of my emails on how we could best address and reduce the achievement gap, I received no such invitations for reconciliatory ‘dialogue’ from any of the vocal critics, who instead seemed to prefer to use this matter as a launch point for their own political purposes.

My initial objective was only to hold progressive discussion to understand how we can eliminate the achievement gap (data for which, in fact, is segmented by race) in the Marysville School District – a very difficult challenge in a district continually experiencing lower-than-State-average scores in the vast majority of our program and student cohort areas.

Now, unfortunately, the focus has changed, and the achievement gap is being overshadowed by attacks on constitutionally protected rights and the very freedom of intellectual perspectives, dialogue and debate.

I extend my apologies to the community and express my deepest regrets that, what was originally a ‘positive intent,’ has deteriorated to the direction that this issue now seems headed.

Michael Kundu

Marysville School District

Board of Directors

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