If Schools Would Only Teach To Cultural Needs….Here Are A Few Facts

It appears to be factual that our public schools are not concerned about all of the students in attendance. Our nation’s school system is not working nor are the schools doing their chosen jobs. Boasting that 1-3 out of 100 or 1000 black and brown students actually graduate and go on to college or enjoy productive careers in life is not saying much of anything. Then, hold up those few as examples of what is possible for everyone. At this rate, it’s like playing the lottery when the odds are not in your favor.

Based on population trends, National Center for Education Statistics predicted that 50.3 percent of the student body for the 2014-15 school year would be people of color — a precursor to the country as a whole becoming majority-minority in the next three decades. White students are now the minority in our public schools across the country, and schools remain as segregated now as in 1954.

According to the Office for Civil Rights, 1.6 million students attend a school with a sworn law enforcement officers, but not a school counselor. In fact, the national student-to-counselor ratio is 491-to-1, however the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250-to-1.

Students of color are often concentrated in schools with fewer resources. Schools with 90 percent or more students of color spend $733 less per student per year than schools with 90 percent or more white students.

Black students spend less time in the classroom due to discipline, which further hinders their access to a quality education. Black students are nearly two times as likely to be suspended without educational services as white students. Black students are also 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students. In addition, black children represent 19 percent of the nation’s pre-school population, yet 47 percent of those receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. In comparison, white students represent 41 percent of pre-school enrollment but only 28 percent of those receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. Even more troubling, black students are 2.3 times as likely to receive a referral to law enforcement or be subject to a school-related arrest as white students.

African American students are less likely to be college-ready. In fact, 61 percent of ACT-tested black students in the 2015 high school graduating class met none of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks, nearly twice the 31 percent rate for all students.

Research has shown evidence of systematic bias in teacher expectations for African American students and non-black teachers were found to have lower expectations of black students than black teachers.

African American students are often located in schools with less qualified teachers, teachers with lower salaries and novice teachers.

There is a clear lack of black representation in school personnel.  According to a 2016 Department of Education report, in 2011-12, only 10 percent of public school principals were black, compared to 80 percent white. Eighty-two percent of public school educators are white, compared to 18 percent teachers of color. In addition, black male teachers only constitute two percent of the teaching workforce.

African American students are less likely than white students to have access to college-ready courses. In fact, in 2011-12, only 57 percent of black students have access to a full range of math and science courses necessary for college readiness, compared to with 81 percent of Asian American students and 71 percent of white students.

All of these statistics come from United States Department of Education and partner organizations, and we can safely consider them as official and legitimate. In a system of educators who profess that all children can learn and achieve, and receive quality education experiences in our public schools, they are not being totally truthful. If so, then the data should reflect better.

These are facts that schools and the education framework, from top to bottom and beginning to end, need to examine. If these professionals sincerely believe their words, there would be a complete overhaul of the system itself. Brown v Board of Education is not enough to mandate equity. The argument is not about equality, either. Not only do black children feel they are equal to everyone else outside of their ‘race’, so do their parents. So should you.

Teacher preparation offers some movement in the right direction, but when the same materials are presented in the same ‘established’ ways…… Best practices are referring to white children, not black children. There must be next practices which reflect student culture and family income, which impacts and influences access to resources.

My recommendations: New teaching practices, methodology, educator preparation-pre-service and in-service. Educator currently practicing must not stop there and get a pass. Once licensed and tenured, these folk need to be mandated for continuing education. One can learn, and more than one must.

Text books need to be tossed and replaced with culturally-respective materials. No child wishes to learn about other people 90% of their classroom time. Diversity can’t be an afterthought. It must BE the thought. Black and brown students outnumber the educators in schools which fail the most often.  Is that necessary? Deliberately choose staff to mimic the demographics, but place a heavy amount of time diversifying public schools in all locales, no matter the income bracket. Students need diverse learning facilitators EVERYWHERE. Respect is borne out of these deliberate practices.

Standard books and learning content and context needs to be just that-standard. Otherwise, the other side won’t receive the quality education we tout. Quality is being prepared to engage on an equal footing, with all individuals in the world of work. Because schools remain segregated, the bar is not raised for anyone else. The more black children learn about themselves, the greater the determination to succeed. The more we are poising that population to rise and rebel against the system On the other hand, if that is the only effective to bring about needed changes…..

When black people were forbidden to become literate, and then when schools were segregated, black children learned from black teachers. What did that produce? A nation full of creators, geniuses, independent thinkers and global influencers. So, we sought to desegregate schools intentionally, and exchanged black teachers for white teachers. These teachers taught about and for themselves, and the books did not change focus, either. There was little to no incentive to change instructional focus or materials.  Before this time, black teachers taught black history to little black children, and the world was forever changed for the betterment of both blacks and whites in America.

Whites taught white and bl

acks taught both black and white history as part of one whole society. Black children thus grew up better informed, significantly inspired, smarter, more determined and driven. They, too, were more poor than rich or middle class, which hasn’t seen substantial change today. So many black children still live in poverty, and we blame their parents, their environment, and their own attitudes and aptitude. We must do some reflecting on the system itself, to include staff and subject matter. Altering context and content will not deny these children 21st Century competencies. It will enhance and ensure it.

To teachers who educate black and brown learners: Do not teach them with any less commitment than you would your own child. Simply because their faces are different, doesn’t negate their potential to excel above and beyond anyone’s expectations, for that is what potential means. As the young and hip people say, you/we’ve got to “step up our game” to reach them. That is the difference between learning success and school failure, quality teaching and mediocre instruction. Don’t instruct children-teach TO your learners! 

All populations must learn within the same inclusive framework of knowledge, even when the resources are unequal. Standard is standard for all. The only difference we shall see are the ways we engage learners. None are standard; they are each unique It is illogical to expect that most, if not all, black kids will effectively learn and succeed, when they are still taught as though they were inferior beings. Lower expectations and minimal resources. Those days are over and it is in school that this is supposed to be evidenced. The children who leaving K-12 schools, as emerging adults, will continue to live the legacy of selective dehumanization, until we teach with respect to poverty and cultural needs. Given the host of data-research, references and resources, anything less than full equity in education, might lead all to believe that it is indeed intentionally absent.  What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close