All of America is suffering from what I call, Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder. The sins of this, now illegal, institution, sunk deep into the hearts and minds of man. I attended the 2017 Presidental Inauguration and saw it in the faces of the attendees. We see race. Blacks and Whites are seeing each other and thinking thoughts that we probably should not, especially when watching local news. The American Education System is a place where the history of racism is played out daily. Take a moment to read this Teaching Tolerance timeline.
Remember back in the late 90’s and early 00’s when everyone was talking about the achievement gap? I certainly do. The results thundered through education professional development conversations for the next decade. Black children on a whole weren’t learning on pace with their white counterparts. It didn’t matter how well off or how poor the school or the child, white students performed better.
Raise your hand if you believe every effort has been made to help black children succeed and the achievement gap has been closed? I see no hands were raised and you are correct. The results of numerous programs have been minimal so much so that education policymakers have started sugar coating the problem saying parents need school choice. Truth, privately owned Charter schools are not blazing a trail for success. Teach for America and its corp of professionals hasn’t revolutionized learning. The voucher system still is not improving the education gap. There is an underlying problem; a big proverbial elephant sitting in schools across this nation.
1. After Brown v. Board of Education ruling, black elementary, middle, and high schools were closed. Pre-Brown, even with limited resources, these schools were key to developing the minds of black children in an era where it was needed most because the teachers were equipped with and engaged to work with children with whom they had shared experiences. With those schools eliminated, blacks attend bused outside of their communities. The working definition of community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. In 1940 30% of Americans — 40% of Northerners and 2% of Southerners — believe that Whites and Blacks should attend the same schools. In 2018, will anyone ask did this 2 % of Southerners all of a sudden disappear or did forced integration with no preparation send millions of children to places that weren’t prepared to receive them?
2. Post-Brown, the only black institution still standing is Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Although year after year data indicates students who attend HBCUs experience success, these schools have to fight to stay alive. Many face financial crisis but the biggest blow is the constant barrage of government practices working against and not for these institutions. See more about HBCU’s here.
3. A Eurocentric curriculum is designed to support a European culture. People of color either assimilate or find themselves regulated to lower tract courses. Learn more about Multicultural Education. Reminder: multicultural education only works when schools have addressed racial bias and created racially positive school climates. Otherwise, it’s an insult to the intelligence of both teachers and students when ‘diversity’ programs are ‘implemented.”
4. The vast majority of the teaching population in America remains white. Only 2% of teachers are black males. Goodinc.com published this article which gives a brief rundown on racial composition in schools.
5. Implicit biases exist in both black and white teachers. Did you see this NprED Story? Teacher education programs are Eurocentric and geared toward the majority population. Pre-service teachers leave four-year college programs completely unprepared to teach in schools where a large minority population exists.
6. Teachers of color cite numerous reasons why they flea education. Some of those reasons are directly related to the students. Children of color can’t name it but they can sense when a person is being “fake.” When you are a person of color who is forced to test children repeatedly, going over the same concepts year after year without actually teaching anything, the students know. They hate not learning and the instructor pays the price of behavior management problems like never before. Every time the teacher insults their intelligence, it’s a passive-aggressive classroom battle.
6. A disproportionate number of minority students are policed in schools. The discipline policies are stricter. Surveillance equipment budgets exceed that of books and computers. Needs some numbers, See this link.
While I could continue with this list, I’ll stop. Let’s talk real solutions for the black community.
First, we need to engage school leaders in authentic conversations about race and its impact on education. Then, we need to begin to question where children of color can identify with the curriculum without being ridiculed. We have to change the dialogue that says black kids can’t learn the same as whites to black children need an authentic curriculum with authentic leaders who care about their academic success and about them as individuals. Finally, we have to demand the colleges and universities that provide pre-service education and administrator preparation offer urban education course programs that address racism and implicit bias, especially Primarily White Institutions (PWIs.)