Are Black Students Better Off with Black Teachers?

by Renee Martin

Should black students have black teachers?Jada Wiiliams of Rochester N.Y., never imagined when she wrote an essay comparing the racist oppression faced by Frederick Douglas to her current lived experiences as a Black student, that it would end with her teacher claiming offense or in Jada having to leave the school. “Most White teachers that I have come into contact with over the last several years of my life, have failed to instruct us – even today,” she wrote. Her parents were forced to pull her out of school when they noticed that her grades suddenly began to drop in several of her classes.  In tears, she told ABC News, “I did feel overwhelmed because I didn’t know that it would become this huge.”

The fact that her grades declined after handing in this essay adds validity to the charges of racism that Williams bravely made in her essay.  RCSD Interim Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, who is clearly on the defensive, stated that, “Teachers, regardless of their color, are able to teach us.”  Most of the teachers in the Rochester district are white.  Although teachers are forced to take sensitivity classes, regardless of their intent, the fact remains that they have been raised in a culture steeped in white supremacy.

This incident will serve as a very harsh teaching lesson to young Jada.  Though Whiteness has attempted to claim that we are post-racial, or that we have at least reached the point where the kind of virulent racism experienced by Blacks during slavery and Jim Crow has so severely declined as to make it negligible, ongoing attacks against racial minorities continue to be pervasive in almost every social institution – the exception, of course, being inside (some) Black families. This means that charges of racism are often reduced to the minority in question being too sensitive or playing the so-called “race card” to invoke sympathy.

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research reported in 2006 that the graduation rate for the year 2003 was seventy percent.  When the numbers are divided by race and gender however, the success rate drops drastically.

  • Nationally, the graduation rate for white students was 78 percent, compared with 72 percent for Asian students, 55 percent for African-American students, and 53 percent for Hispanic students.
  • The gender gap in graduation rates is particularly large for minority students. Nationally, about 5 percentage points fewer white male students and 3 percentage points fewer Asian male students graduate than their respective female students. While 59 percent of African-American females graduated, only 48 percent of African-American males earned a diploma (a difference of 11 percentage points). Further, the graduation rate was 58 percent for Hispanic females, compared with 49 percent for Hispanic males (a difference of 9 percentage points).

This suggests that though Jada’s paper was completely experiential, clearly some sort of race bias must be in place.  Black children arrive at school as eager to learn as their White counterparts, and yet by the third grade, many have either fallen behind, or else they are routinely labeled as “problem children.” The only true universal subjects are math and science because they are not open to interpretation; the answers are either right or the wrong.  All other subjects are graded based on the teachers’ evaluation of performance, which leaves much room for racism.

A teacher need not evaluate unfairly to added racial bias to the classroom.  All he or she has to do is to spend less time instructing minority students in their class or fail to encourage them to excel in the same manner as they do white students.  In The Biography of Malcolm X, one of the most memorable scenes for me was that of the white teacher telling Malcolm to seek a manual labor job, even though he was clearly intelligent and desired to go to law school.

The Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision brought an end to segregation in schools, and for the first time, Black students were exposed to White teachers.  This has not necessarily been positive for Black children.  The history that is taught in schools is framed through a lens of White supremacy, with additives like Black History Month being thrown to mask enormous inequalities in education. Today’s students are forced to learn the oppressor’s truth by a white supremacist educational system that presents heavy-handed biases into history, language, and even the arts.

Jada’s teacher was only able to personalize her essay because it has become the common belief that living with racism is less harmful then being accused of being a racist.  The teacher’s reaction, while not surprising, is disappointing.  Instead of leading to persecution, Jada’s essay should have been an impetus to create change that ensures all students are performing to their best abilities and receiving equal treatment.

Though Jada faced persecution for speaking her truth, The Frederick Douglas Foundation of New York presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award. It is my hope that this award will serve to encourage her to keep speaking her truth in the face of resistance and empower her to continue to seek excellence.

  • LaDreaming86

    I do not know how to answer really if Black students are better off with Black teachers.

    There is a significantly higher number of non-Black professionals teaching academics to begin with. I don’t have any facts to back that up besides my own experiences of having probably no more than a handful of Black teachers in my school days.

  • Ravi

    a few things:

    math and science — very open to interpretation and answers aren’t always either right or wrong. the outcomes in these classes are very much affected by usually non-malicious forms of racism such as differential expectations, low collective self efficacy, stereotype threat, etc.

    Brown v. Board of Education didn’t bring an end to segregation (they are still largely segregated) and white teachers had been teaching black students since the 19th century. Segregation of the schools didn’t necessarily limit the employment opportunities for white teachers.

    White supremacy impacts all content areas, even physical education and math.

    A black teacher isn’t going to be better for black students per se. Many black teachers that I have come across are just as oblivious to the issues at the root of the achievement gap as their white counterparts. I would say a conscious, well-informed black teacher is better for black students than their white counterparts. I would also argue that black teachers have a greater potential for higher levels of impact with black students but this potential is largely unrealized. Many of the dropouts mentioned are at segregated schools with black teachers. It’s a rare teacher of any race that has been able to make sustained inroads in the academic achievement gap. If all black students in the country had only black teachers, I would wager that the outcomes wouldn’t change much. in the face of societal inequalities and oppression, teachers are a relatively small factor in student outcomes.

  • Beautiful Mic

    Yes, Black students are better with black teacher as long as those black teachers:

    1) Don’t try to sleep with their students and aren’t pedophiles

    2) Don’t have colorism and classism biases

    3) Are actually qualified the subjects the school assigns them to teach, because some white run schools will let any BLACK TEACHER teach African-American related studies (eg. African-American history)

  • Lex

    Not surprising coming from Rochester, NY. One of the worst school systems in NY state. Their high school graduation rate is 33% and its obvious that many don’t care about those students or change would’ve been happened. There are 5 colleges in that area and only a sliver of Rochester students actually go to them. Sad.

  • Toppin

    No black students are not better off with black teachers. The problem here is not one based on the race of the studets. The pblem is black folks operate under the delusion that all black kids are intelligent and capable….well that simply is not true for any race. I have met many black kids who are simply dumb as hell. They hate school. They hate learning and they see it as pointless….wait let me finish….

    Separate and unequal will contine because all black children are not intelligent and capable. These individuals need some extra work beyond those who are intelligent and understand their school work right away. It is up to the “slow” kids to take their work home and learn it with their parents. Teachers cannot make students learn. They have to be willing to go home and work on it instead of watching tv etc. From observation black girls are far more willing to do this even without a parent present than black boys.

    As for the gender gap in education by race…once again everyone is not intelligent and capable. I really do think the black community needs to take all the studies that have pointed to a lower IQ amongst black students….especially black boys seriously….instead of screaming racism all the time. The writing appears to be on the wall and if you do not see it just go to any black male dominated website. There is an educational gap between the races and sexes and it is very obvious.

    I think anyone looking at the great things black men have given the world in the last 40 years amounts to sports, entertainment, and the supersoaker. They were creating and inventing far more things when Jim Crow was alive and well than they do today. Something happened to bring about regression and I do not think it has anything to do with the race of teachers. I think the main culprit is a lack of motivation on their part to get educated.

    Now bring on the comments blaming black women and girls for why black men and boys do not seek education….while the rest of us with minds of our own have no issues seeking what we truly desire and value.

  • Pianki

    The question is in 95% of the cases YES!. Cases like this exist no matter weather a school enviroment in the U.S or Canada, or the U.k. Blacks and black African-Americans children can acquire skills anywhere and from anyone once beyond their formative years. But there is a difference between education and skill attainment and education should be administered by a teacher grounded in the cultural perspective and experience of that student. My children never had white teachers as my grand children don’t today. They did have white professors and others at a higher level which they were prepared for. Blacks too often are eager to turn their children over to just anyone. Look at that ridiculus idea of interdistrict one way bussing. How foolish was that? Look at the high performing education systems where black students outperform their white counterparts like Marcus Garvey in South Central Los Angeles, Nation House in D.C, Frederick Douglas in St Louis. Why aren’t there more schools like these mentioned? If white teachers were the saving grace then why has this conversation of failed black schools been going on for ever and a day?

  • Toppin

    *Second sentence should read race of teachers.

  • Pianki

    “”Nigerian immigrants have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing every other ethnic groups in the country, according to U.S Bureau Census data”” Even more so than Asians and the last time I checked Nigeria is 99.9% Black with instructors alike. Oh I know they are a different black huh?

  • Ravi

    @Pianki

    educational attainment as measured by what? is that graduation rates or some sort of test scores?

  • alldawg

    I have no answer to that. But I can cosign the statement about nigerian students, had a few in my undergrad classes. Extremely intelligent, my only problem was some, were also arrogant as in im a better minority than you but others were cool as icewater.

    Some even wanted me to go back home with them to find me a wife…lol

    Yes black students need black teachers, especially if black students are the minority in the class. Having a BM speak to you has a different energy to it than a WW.

    I was the only black kid in my class, and I caught hell for it. I fought often cause I was a target for being the only black who had enough nerve to get on the merry go round.
    I stomp a lot of them cause I found out they have soft noses, and kung-fu theather was my favorite show…

  • Toppin

    @Pianki

    You are a fine example of the gender gap in intelligence.

    I did not say black people were incapable of learning or intelligence. I said we are not all intelligent and capable. That is the truth whether anyone wants to admit it or not. Those who find themselves less capable need to put in more work than those who are capable.

    Next time read and comprehend.

  • Dalili

    @ Ravi: Your last paragraph summed up my thoughts. Thank you!

  • Toppin

    I just want to add that I know black people who have completed high school and trade school but cannot read or write a complete sentence. While the school system may have failed them they also failed themselves.

  • HU2011

    The answer is yes:

    1. Don’t get it twisted schools are more segregated now than before Brown vs The Board of Ed

    2. Brown vs. The Board of Education was NOT intended to merely integrate schools it was supposed to be a platform for equal resources for black schools

    3. It is proven through social development that one’s self concept is derived from modeling. Look up: James Comer and Urie Bronfenbrenner (Ecological Theories) Black students need to see black teachers to gain a sense of self. Look up: Henri Tajfel (Social Identity Theory).There are some things that white do not understand culturally about African Americans; hence African American teachers are needed.

    4. Many argue the need for an Afrocentric Education for African American, Education in America is too monolith, when we don’t live in a monolithic society like in Japan, or Finland

    Read works : The Journal of Negro Education from my alma mater Howard University
    of A. Wade Boykins, Asa Hillard,

  • edub

    I can’t say it better than you did, Toppin.

  • CurlySue

    Yes, when did stupid become a four letter word? When did we stop acknowledging that some people are less intelligent than others? It’s a basic fact. All of our bodies operate differently. That includes our brains. You can have the best and brightest teachers in every classroom. But there will always be an immutable percentage who will do poorly because they seemly don’t have the innate intelligence. What’s the old quote? “The world will always need dtich diggers”.

    But I do agree that having excellent teachers who connect to the students would help immensely those kids who aren’t stupid, but are just lost in the shuffle somehow.

  • CurlySue

    *simply don’t have the innate intelligence.

  • Ravi

    while some students may have learning or emotional impairments that interfere with normal cognitive functioning, the vast majority of students are very capable of learning. Being smart does not equate to academic success. Moreover, unless you are suggesting that black people are disproportionately less intelligent than other groups, then some students being relatively more cognitively capable really doesn’t have much to do with the academic achievement gap. The gap is a social phenomenon and has nothing to do with innate ability.

    Bad students typically are not stupid. They are often apathetic or socialized to believe in their own inferiority, but not stupid. Our education system gives preference to certain types of intelligence and ways of learning. Just because many students are disadvantaged by the backwards way education is delivered in this country does not mean that the unsuccessful students are stupid.

  • edub

    Good points, Ravi.

  • CurlySue

    What I’m saying is that even with great teachers, you’re not going to have a school full of a+ students. And yes, some types of intelligence are favored in school. But that’s because you need a certain type of intelligence to do well in school. Mainly memory and the abilitiy to replicate steps. Furthermore, having the best teachers will have little effect if the child’s home life is crap. We have kids starting kindergarten who can’t even write their own name. Right there, that kid will be playing catch up for years.

    Conclusion, you can have great teachers and good schools, but if the child isn’t coming prepared to begin with, then it’s a constant uphill battle. So much of how a child learns is formed in their first couple years. Do the parents talk to the child, do they teach them colors, shapes, and letters early? All of these things do wonders for a child’s brain, which is so much like a sponge at that young age. A child who has been challenged to learn from day 1 will do much better in school than one who wasn’t.

    I just think we’re asking an awful lot of our teachers, who are already over-worked and underpaid, when so much of a child’s success depends on their own innate intelligence and how much support and help their getting from home.

  • CurlySue

    *they’re getting from home.

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com Guulo

    It is very important for young people from disadvantaged groups (read minority) to see people that look like them in successful/powerful positions, which a teacher is one. There has been research done on this, check work done by social psychologist Claude Steele and similar studies, which have documented African American students, women perform much better by implementing something as simple as having more women photos at a math classroom, girls gained confidence which improved performance, and another I remember reading was the Obama effect, young black students doing better academically after his nomination (go to radiolab, and there search obama effect to hear more on this). We count downplay the importance of diversity in shaping these young minds and their future.

    ps: This is a long lecture, but at te end of the lecture the speaker points out several studies on academics and minority students. http://forum-network.org/lecture/claude-steele-how-stereotypes-affect-us

  • http://guulo.wordpress.com Guulo

    *count= can’t *

  • Keep it Real

    It’s not the teachers nor the schools. Everyone knows the problem is in these dysfunctional homes. You’ve got kids in third world countries living, sleeping on dirt floors going to run down dirty schools without toilets and running water outperforming kids in these ghetto schools. Look at Detroit it has 84k students and spends 1.2 billion dollars on its school. That’s 1.2 BILLION!!!!! This country spends this type of money on ghetto schools with 40% to 50% dropout rates throughout the country. Only 31.9 percent of Detroit’s public high school students graduate in four years. 1.2 billion for a 31% graduation rate in 4 years is laughable and truly sad at the same time. Can a child raised by a single parent become productive? OF COURSE THEY CAN! Can a community with 72% of it’s kids become productive? I haven’t seen any evidence of this in the history of civilization. Have you? I fill sorry for black women and emasculated black men. They’re scratching their heads, walking around in a daze trying to come up with this silver bullet solution (ie more money for more government programs) that is going to give them this great Socialist Matriarchal Utopia Society that the Liberal, progressive, socialist feminist (the man is wanted but not needed in the home) and Jew promised them if only they followed their lead. My brothers and sisters I have a question. After 50 years their failed social engineering programs (ie welfare) and unquestioned undying loyalty to the liberals lead, how’s that working out for black folks? I’m not an ideologue as some would try to paint me in an attempt to belittle and dismiss me and my message as just another unhip, uncool, uneducated backwards “Uncle Tom”. I’m not against Liberals and liberal policies out of some stubborn ideology. I’m against them BECAUSE THEY DON’T WORK in the hood. From 1968 to today black women went from the women with the highest rate of marriage to the lowest. Yes, that’s correct, black women once had higher rates of marriage than white women. Today 31 percent of African American women by their early forties have never married as compared to only 9 percent of White, 11 percent of Asian , and 12 percent of Latino women in the same age group. Black illegitimacy went from 24% to 72% (85%+ in the very worst ghettos), blacks kids have 50% dropout rates and 15 to 20% unemployment (46% for teens), only 7% of businesses are black, crime is out of control and black families are now 3rd and 4th generational welfare recipients with generation poverty. I look at this coalition and everyone seems to has benefited greatly except blacks. The root of all black social problems is 72% illegitimacy and no men in the homes. I think to myself how in the world can a community build wealth and be a productive community in an environment amongst this type of dysfunction? The truth is that IT CAN NOT BE DONE. It has never been done in the history of civilization by any race. Which is why I fill sorry for my black people. You are being lied to by the Jew, Liberal Ivory tower White elitist, feminist (the man is wanted but not NEEDED in the home) and their water carrying handpicked black leaders (ie black tenured professors, black elected officials, black civil rights leaders and black religious clergy) who have been paid off with jobs for themselves, family and friends, official titles and straight cash homie. lol These black leaders refuse to take any responsibility for the current state of the black community and want to place ALL the blame for blacks current academic, social and economic condition on those big bad Republicans (listen to Maxine Waters demon speech). Even though there are cities these same black leaders and Democrats have controlled for the last 50 years from the school board and police department to the Mayors office. After 50 years, these fake and/or non critically thinking brainwashed black leaders are still today teaching, making speeches and preaching to black common folk that we can have this great productive Socialist MATRIARCHAL Utopia Society without men in the majority of homes. Why!?!! Because they don’t want to jeopardize their little title, power and money that their liberal benefactors is giving them. This is why blacks get angry when anything other than Republicans and racism is brought up as part of “the black problem”. Even the black liberals who are well read and educated get angry because the only thing they read are books and articles that reaffirm their beliefs. They refuse to read anything that the will challenge them intellectually and cause them to reevaluate everything they once thought and believed. Yes, I was once a liberal until I started reading the truth about the systemic problems in the black community. I recently read a research article that showed statistical census analysis that black women were marrying at a higher percentage than white women all the way up to and as recently as the 1960′s, wow! Black men have not always abandoned their families. Don’t believe that lie. The black community was once extremely stable in spite of abject poverty, Jim Crow, racism and discrimination. Illegitimacy is not our culture. As you all now have been taught to believe. It’s really a recent phenomenon. The social engineering of White elitist, feminist (the man is not NEEDED in the home) and progressive liberals who think they’re smarter than everyone else has done something that 400 years of slavery, Jim crow and discrimination were unable to do. Destroy the black family and black community. I look at this coalition and everyone seems to have benefited except blacks. The Jews who make up only 2% of the population have amassed ungodly wealth, control the media, have 13 senators and 32 members in the house of representatives and 3 supreme court justices. All of these those elected Jewish officials need at least 80% of the black vote (they’re all democrats except one Cantor). Blacks are 13% of the population and have ZERO senators, 41 congressmen, and one black supreme court justice who doesn’t like blacks. lol The unions have maintained their power, the Mexicans have taken over LA and take black jobs in every city that they immigrate to in large numbers and the Gays have Gay marriage. What have blacks achieved from this ungodly coalition? 5 more dollars for food stamps? My point….. Black people Liberalism, Progressivism, Socialism, Marxism and Feminism HAS FAILED YOU.

  • Tonton Michel

    ALL students need competent, capable, and understanding teachers. From a mentoring/role model stand point yes same race teachers are a plus, but the final answer.

  • asada

    @Beautiful Mic

    yes, we are making the assumption that the teachers are upstanding citizens and competent to teach. The same assumptions we make about white teachers.

    This is obvious.

  • apple

    no i think you are just better off with a good teacher period, but i am finding that more and more each day teachers are becoming more outwardly racist or just plain stupid.. back in my day i had great teachers white black or asian (lol we’re talking year 1999-2010) lol

  • http://designsdelight.net designs

    anyone who has studied psychology knows what this called , learned self helplessness.

    the white teachers know what they are doing, you need a teacher with high expectations to fulfill your potential.

    They have low expectations and the redults show.

  • Wuluwulu

    It depends on a few factors. If the school is predominantly in a black area where 90+% of the student population is black, then yes, it would be beneficial to the students to have black teachers.

  • Anita

    Anita Herron I think the success of the students stems from the support at home. You can have amazing teachers both black/white/asian/hispanic and yet if they don’t have great support coming from home to encourage, influence and thrust the student to do… their best then you’re fighting a tough battle. I’m not disputing the fact that racism exists, nor am I disputing that a black child may thrive in an environment that consists of their peers as well as a black teacher…However, if students don’t WANT to learn or if they aren’t first taught the IMPORTANCE of school/education at home, then what’s the point?! Now, let me also say this, I am fighting and pushing for my niece, a bi-racial child to attend an HBCU. Here, I feel it will afford her the opportunity to be among peers and staff that not only look like her but can inspire her that black folks can/do/will are educationally successful. But college is only a next step in her educational journey…HER success started AT home where she knew her alphabet, #s and was reading before 2yrs old. Anyway, just my 2 pennies :)

  • Stella

    I agree with previous comments that it takes a highly qualified, effective educator to educate ANY child, despite race. But I can say with some certainty (I’m a black teacher and work in a school staffed by mostly white people), that nothing gives an ineffective, lazy, and prejudiced teacher MORE ammunition and (in their heads) legitimate reason for lowering expectations for black kids than kids with ineffective and lazy parents. Their mindset is – If parents don’t care, why should I?

    Minority children will encounter prejudice at some time in their lives, but if parents aren’t willing to really invest in their kids, help with homework, get their kids to school everyday on time, advocate for their child, show up in class sometimes, actually push their kids to achieve high levels of excellence – it surely will not be your run of the mill small minded white lady who doesn’t think your child can do it or is worth it in the first place.

    I personally had great teachers of all races as a child, but it took my parents keeping a firm hold of my work and social life as I grew up to make sure I made it to college and grad school. There were a couple asshat teachers in there that made my life hell, mostly by ignoring me and not even trying to develop my skills in that class. But those experiences were speed bumps for me, not brick walls because my parents didn’t let up on their expectations for me and their participation in helping me. Kids can’t raise themselves, especially black kids who are already at a disadvantage just because they’re black in a predominately white school.

    One thing I will say is that when schools were segregated, black people of all economic bases and job status lived in the same community. So you had poor and middle class black people living on the same street and their kids going to the same school taught by a black teacher that couldn’t teach in another school. Nowadays, you hardly find an economically balanced school with poor, working class, middle class, and upper class black students in the same building. Also the black engineer that, during segregation, would have lived on your street and possibly tutored your son no longer exists. That whole sense of community is just gone. Now, poor, urban, and mostly minority schools are the schools that bad teachers get dumped into or new, inexperienced teachers are assigned to. So where does that leave our kids?

    For the student in the article, she definitely has a case for discrimination and her family should take it as far as it can go in order to help her as well as other minority children in the school system.

  • sli

    @Stella:

    Great comment!!! Especially this:

    “but if parents aren’t willing to really invest in their kids, help with homework, get their kids to school everyday on time, advocate for their child, show up in class sometimes, actually push their kids to achieve high levels of excellence – it surely will not be your run of the mill small minded white lady who doesn’t think your child can do it or is worth it in the first place.”

  • https://twitter.com/#!/TheKMichel K. Michel

    Better off? I believe so. In a good place, overall? Not necessarily.

    I think the key is having teachers who care, and Black teachers are more inclined to do that with Black students… and Jewish teachers, now that I think about it. As mentioned before though, nothing makes a teacher care more than a parent or two breathing down their necks.

  • Hbhoya

    As a white teacher at an all-minority school, I definitely see both sides of this issue. I don’t share the culture or up-bringing of my students (100% Native American), and I cannot relate to them on that level or speak to them in their own language. However, I have very high expectations for all of my students, and the majority of my 1st graders are already reading at an early to mid 2nd grade level. They came to me at mid-Kinder levels, so this is a big jump in less than a year!

    I think that the most important thing that a teacher can have is love for their students and high expectations. I have seen both white teachers and Native teachers who have had low expectations for their students and used the excuse “Well, his parents don’t care” to ostracize students and provide them less education. I know that it is really hard for students to come into school without basic skills. If students don’t know their colors, numbers, letters, and shapes when they come to Kindergarten, as someone upthread noted, they WILL be playing catch up in Kindergarten. That’s really just the way that the standards work. But it’s up to teachers to care enough about each student to provide that additional practice and help get those children out of the rut early so that they can be successful as they progress.

    I think that low expectations for minority students is the real issue that’s causing this achievement gap, and those low expectations can come from teachers of any race.

  • Nancy

    As a middle class, middle aged white woman who works in a primary school, I am deeply concerned that I can not understand my students’ lives based on my experience and background. Because I am a school counselor, I have the option of spending time with students in which we are not focused on school work. I can ask them about their lives and acknowledge what I don’t know. I know that I have grown up in a racist environment, and that this affects me. I try to overcome my own racist inclinations by observing myself and by talking with people of other ethnicities and race who are interested in discussing social justice and current issues.
    My fellow educators in the small school in which I work do not all hold low expectations for their students of different races. They are individuals, some more aware and open-minded than others. I think that labeling all teachers as all anything is not helpful for making change. That said, my district has a high proportion of African-American students in special education classes. New York State has responded to this inequity slowly, but there are new rules for schools. The changes that NYS Ed has made in what teachers must do before students are placed in special education have the possibility to lead to better outcomes. Teachers have to work with students individually and in small groups, and they have to monitor the teaching strategies they are trying with each child. I believe that caring adults can overcome inbred racism when they spend time with a child see that child as a human being as well as a black child.
    We try to connect with parents in ways that we hope will not seem judgmental and racist. The only way I know if what I’m doing is wrong is to ask. I want to make things better in my school, and I am saddened to think that an adult reacted to a young person’s efforts to communicate in what sounds like a negative and harsh way.

  • http://Fattiesoslim.tumblr.com FattieSoSlim

    As much as I wanna say that that’s a lie… It’s true. I was raised in a suburb outside of Rochester, and I attend the Rochester Institute of Technology. A lot of people that I encounter from the Rochester area at my school attended suburban schools and not the Rochester city schools. However RIT has started a Rochester City Scholars program that provides free tuition for all Rochester City School students. It’s only one solution and I hope that this isn’t the end…. The Rochester has been undergoing “restructuring” for what I feel like has been years. They need a LOT of help.

  • http://hopeisreal.blogspot.com KCJones

    “It is up to the “slow” kids to take their work home and learn it with their parents. ”

    Your reasoning is very simple and a bit ableist. The word “slow” is often a coded word for a person with a developmental disability, which is different than a person who can learn, but can get better with help from their parents. Some people cannot rise to the educational top and it is through no fault of their own, especially if they have a developmental disability. Also, not every student has the advantage of caring parents that would be willing to teach them or the advantage of having parents that have enough time to teach their children. While it would be great if all children had parents that care, are smart, and have enough time to teach their kids, the truth is that there are many parents that do not care, are not smart enough, or have to work all the time in order to provide for their family.

  • Greg

    “Are Black Students Better Off with Black Teachers?”

    Well Black Male students are better off without Black Female Teachers (as opposed to black male teachers) definitely but the bigger problem is TEACHERS UNIONS. They must go!!!
    They’ve been perfectly comfortable w/allowing ALL MALES and Black males to fall through the cracks for far too long. They don’t even treat it as a problem. Instead they DRUG are black boys (Al Sharpron loves the teachers unions so he ignores this along with most liberal black male politicians). Black Female teachers haven’t said a PEEP afraid to go against the status quo and I think, based on their misandry and Feminist proclivities that they want the current situation for black male students so they can encourage more single-mother households.

    But TEACHERS UNIONS and the Board of Education have GOT TO GO!!!!

    Keep it Real–
    Outside of your jewish references (which may be true, but will only lead to more trouble) and your slight at Clarence Thomas (I support ANY black man attacked by the Feminist Hate Movement) I agree wholeheartedly w/ everything you say!!!

  • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

    stella knocked this one out.

  • befree

    I am a teacher and this just happened in my school district.

    A 13-Year-Old’s Slavery Analogy Raises Some Uncomfortable Truths in School

    Video:
    http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/03/8th-grader-public-education-salvery-analogy/

    A 8th grader’s incendiary essay comparing today’s education system to slavery is causing a firestorm of controversy in her upstate New York community.

    13 year-old Jada Williams,writing an essay on Frederick Douglass for a contest, made the very astute analysis that packing 30-40 students into a crowded classroom, and having mostly white teachers give them packets and pamphlets to complete that they don’t fully comprehend, impedes the learning process; and that this produces results similar to those hoped for by a slave master that forbids his slaves from learning how to read at all.

    Jada’s point is that nothing has really changed since the days of Frederick Douglass; “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”

    Jada’s essay infuriated teachers and administrators at her school, who launched a campaign of harassment against the young lady.

    “Williams called for her fellow students to ‘start making these white teachers accountable for instructing you’ and challenged teachers to do their jobs. ‘What merit is there,’ she asked, if teachers have knowledge and are ‘not willing to share because of the color of my skin?’

    According to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Williams’ parents transferred her to another school, then withdrew her altogether. The conservative Frederick Douglass Foundation gave Williams a special award, saying that her essay ‘actually demonstrates that she understood the autobiography.’ They have also reached out to the school for an explanation of the 13-year-old’s treatment.

    While the issues Williams raises are controversial, even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has acknowledged that closing the achievement gap requires more black educators in the classroom. But because the large majority of current teachers are white, they have a responsibility to figure out how to be effective with children of color.”

  • SonneillonV

    What you hate about liberals is pretty evident in your screed. What I want to know is, what did paragraph breaks ever do to you?

  • D.E.M

    How ridiculous to attribute human tendencies to a large proportion of a race of people based on personal assessment! Being like minded as yourself: these are the attributes to describe the group of people (such as yourself) that think so small minded:

    STUPID:

    stu·pid[stoo-pid, adjective

    1.lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.

    2.characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.

    3.tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.

    4.annoying or irritating; troublesome: Turn off that stupid radio.

    5.in a state of stupor; stupefied: stupid from fatigue.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    IDIOCRACY

    Id`i*oc"ra*cy\, n.;

    1.Peculiarity of constitution; that temperament, or state of constitution, which is peculiar of a person; idiosyncrasy.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    LUDICROUS

    [loo-di-kruhs] adj.

    1: amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, incongruity, exaggeration, or eccentricity
    2 : meriting derisive laughter or scorn as absurdly inept, false, or foolish

  • D.E.M

    A very subjective debate. Depending on the demographics in your community/school system, this can be a complicated question to answer. However, being from an area that is 26% African American as of the 2000 Census, (which is more than the national population of 13% but still small, in comparison to metropolitans) I think I will take a stab at this with MY opinion, based on MY personal experience.

    Do black students need black teachers? I think the appropriate answer to this question is that black students need MORE black teachers. Bottom line: being a minority group in small numbers compared to the national statistics, it is impossible for all black students to be taught in even by a predominately black staff. There just aren’t enough of us to accomplish that goal. Compound that with the “fear of black people” that exist either overtly or blatantly with some (not all) people of other races, that within itself stifles any attempt of black teachers in their teaching. Corporate America does it on the regular by only allow a certain number of blacks to move up the corporate ladder based on whatever preconceived notions they label their employees with. And this ugly tactic not only suppresses our people but also even white people who do not “fit the mold” in some cases as well.

    Where I grew up at, black history was limited to teachings about the same people who persevered for our race. Very limited indeed. By 12th grade it was actually boring to hear the same names being taught about every February. No Black History celebrations, assemblies or rallies. Until college, I actually thought that only a handful of African Americans contributed to America growth, progress and success. Oh but how college opened my eyes! Moving to a metropolitan that was 56% Black and 41% White in 1983 was an amazing experience! I had never seen so many people MY color in my life! Consequentially, I chose to pursue African American classes as electives as well as educate myself and I came back to the boondocks in 1987 more educated, more aware and more concerned about my children receiving a solid education.

    I concur that parental involvement is a key with ensuring that our children are afforded a fair and sound education, but I do believe that more black teachers are needed. Those with a heart to teach all students and to encourage their own race to reach for the stars. And yes I have stood up for my own children in my endeavor to make sure my children were educated soundly and fairly. I have one son, who, in first grade was TORTURED by a teacher who got away with labeling young black males for I don’t know how many years. She was documenting every wrong thing she found with my 6 year old son, sending home reviews that looked like essays they were so detailed, trying to conclude that my son was ADHD, but she made one fatal mistake: I have a nephew who is ADHD and my sister, out of concern encouraged me to have my son tested before school for the disorder. She did not know that he was already assessed by a psychologist and doctor to not be ADHD but just a typical little boy who was precocious for his age and actually gifted based on his IQ testing. (Thank God for good health insurance). In the end she was released by the school board for the improper actions she not only incurred with my child but also with 5 other young black males in the same class. And the school board reassigned the principal who allowed her to do this to students for years: labeling them as ADHD as if she was trained to do so when she wasn’t. It was an awesome moment to receive a personal apology from the school board for the improper actions my son’s biased Caucasian teacher imposed on him and the other young boys in his class in 1998, and her subsequent forced resignation. Sad to say I don’t know to this day if any other young children victimized by her unethical behavior were reassessed.

    Lesson: when we stand up for our children and for what is fair and right, they can reach for the stars. Despite the ones who see them as failures and not as future success stories. Good teachers are good teachers, both black and white. And bad teachers also come in the same color as well.

  • Pingback: Are Black Teachers the best choice for black students? [Study Says No] | THE FLYCANDY POST

  • Shane, GPHR

    Generally I’d have to say no, they don’t need black teachers. In many urban areas, most black students attend overwhelming black schools, where a majority of the teachers are black females and most of these schools generally are failing.

    The probably is culture and class. Several studies have shown that black students are greatly behind white students by kindergarten. Black students are starting school ALREADY BEHIND. That’s a problem of culture, home life, and parenting.

    It is the student that makes the school, not the school that makes the student. If most of your students are from homes headed by single mothers, who don’t stress education, from high crime areas where poverty, ignorance and fail are the norm, then overall that school isn’t going to be very good.

  • Shane, GPHR

    The homes & communities those students typically come from have low expectations, that’s the real problem.

    You’re basically asking teachers to override the negative impact that the parents(mothers) and communities have, when those teachers only have a limited about of time and a limited amount of control

  • Shane, GPHR

    actually Math and Science (especially Math) typically aren’t open to interpretation . Their are universal truths and the failure of black students in these areas often defeat the racism claim and usually point to the students’ individual failures. It’s one of the reasons Asian students often lead everyone in these two subjects. If it was truly based on race then whites would have the advantage, but they don’t, which supports the notion that Math and Science and generally universal and not open to interpretation.

    History is often open to interpretation. Literature is usually open to interpretation.

  • darrellm750

    the image used for this artical is very good. may I please use it for a project I am working on for my school? I am more than happy to send it to you when I am finished. it really would work perfectly, please let me know. . .

  • Teraysah

    It also happened to an ADULT over 40 at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. This place is saturated with bias, racism and is reminiscent of a plantation.

  • Teraysah

    It happened to an adult also in Monroe Community College. She fought the failing grade and was falsely accused of crimes to cover up.

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