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What strikes me about this, and about the horrible article with the 5th graders trying to poison their teacher, is that no one in either of the school systems appears to have asked the question, "What has gone wrong here that these students are doing this?"

 

I think a 5th grader should know better and should be punished for trying to poison a teacher, but if I were the principal of that school, I would ask myself, "Are all three of these kids sociopaths, or is there a problem with the teacher?" Who knows, the teacher could be a mean, vindictive &itch. Why would the kids even come up with a plan to poison a nice and helpful teacher?

 

And in the case of this 13 yr. old- the school seems to be proving her point. By ostracizing and demonizing her for criticizing the school, they are basically telling her what she can and cannot take away from what she has learned at school. She analyzed what she observed, and was punished for it. I'm sure none of the educators involved believe that they are purposely holding anyone back, but in my view, a smart school staff would talk with a student who wrote such an essay and ask her for specific examples of why she feels this way, and what her ideas are for fixing the problem. Make her feel like she is part of a solution, rather than vilifying her. Even if these educators don't think they are personally part of the problem, they can't deny the statistics on the racial gap in this country.

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I hate that this girl was forced out of school. That was just stupid on the part of the school. Most likely she may be better off elsewhere.

 

But while I think there may be some merit to her claims, I think there is much more to the under performance of the school than a simple race issue. How involved are the parents? How involved is the community? Someone made sure this child who attends such a subpar school is able to read Frederick Douglas. Where are the other someones for the rest of the school?

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A quote from the article (this is the article author speaking):

 

"As the parent of two black boys I know firsthand that white teachers can excel at teaching black children."

 

I'm sorry, I just don't get it. I do not see at ALL how the teacher's or student's race matters. At all.

 

Now, admittedly, I am now a white suburbanite. But I grew up in Flint. I went to Flint public schools for my entire education. I had as many black teachers as white teachers. I never once felt like the race of the teacher made any difference whatsoever in the quality of the education I received from them. It never even crossed my mind. And more than half of the student body at the schools I attended were black.

 

Now I agree that the level of education any of us received from those schools was largely dependent upon what us, the STUDENTS, were going to make of it. There were great teachers, and there were teachers that just didn't care. But I never saw situations where a teacher's level of 'caring' depended on the race of the students.

 

But then, I've never understood the idea of racism. I've never been able to grasp why a person's skin color means anything at all, outside of perhaps giving an idea of where their ancestors lived. I've never understood why having a certain skin color is supposed to mean anything about a person's intelligence, attitude, personality, etc. And my parents and grandparents are all quite racist. They're quite dejected that they were not able to pass those beliefs on to my generation.

 

Again, I realize I'm coming from a white person's perspective. I'm not saying these things never happen. I'm just giving my story and perspective.

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Now I agree that the level of education any of us received from those schools was largely dependent upon what us, the STUDENTS, were going to make of it.

 

The reason it hurts some kids more is that they have greatly less ability to make anything of it. Poor kids are nickel and dimed to death, done out of a fair shot by fifty small things anyone could overcome if it weren't for the poverty or the institutionalized racism.

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A quote from the article (this is the article author speaking):

 

"As the parent of two black boys I know firsthand that white teachers can excel at teaching black children."

 

I'm sorry, I just don't get it. I do not see at ALL how the teacher's or student's race matters. At all.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

While I agree that her essay has merit, I feel that by reducing it to a race issue she turns the essay from something to talk about into a problem. As a former teacher that was told weekly that she could not teach the student population because of her skin color, I find that offensive. To me, this is an example that reverse racism exists, and needs to be dealt with. In my experience, the teaching in the classrooms in my former school was the same for every student, no matter the ethnicity (and that school was 50 / 50 in population).

 

Also, if you truly feel that is a valid argument, then doesn't it also hold true that black teachers cannot teach white students? Or, are you going to call me a racist if I say that? so what now, go back to segregation?

 

And yes, this is an over simplification of the issue. Yes, there were some students that I could not reach because I was white. I have a theory about that, but this isn't really the place for it.

 

**Poor kids are nickel and dimed to death, done out of a fair shot by fifty small things anyone could overcome if it weren't for the poverty**

 

I will also agree with this statement, but notice the difference. Poverty is a different issue than race.

Edited by hkchik
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The reason it hurts some kids more is that they have greatly less ability to make anything of it. Poor kids are nickel and dimed to death, done out of a fair shot by fifty small things anyone could overcome if it weren't for the poverty or the institutionalized racism.

 

Well my family is white, but we certainly were POOR growing up. As in, we were under the poverty line, but my parents were too proud to get food stamps or even school lunches, so we just suffered through. I can remember several instances where I had to turn in school field trip permission slips without the $1 or $2 fee, because we simply couldn't afford it.

 

We were POOR. I get poverty. My parents still live in the exact same house I grew up in. They are still living at the poverty level. They are still to proud to get food stamps or any government assistance.

 

So I get that. I lived it. And I was still able to make something of my education. As were plenty of my black classmates, who may or may not have been as poor as we were. And there were plenty of each race that decided NOT to make anything of their education. I don't see, at least from my experience, that race had anything to do with it.

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I think that anybody of any race can teach anybody of any race. I think that anybody of any race can learn from anybody of any race.

 

The perception on the part of many young black students is that the white teacher cannot possibly grasp where they are coming from. And to some extent that is true. In this country, whites do not have to overcome the persisting stereotypes and residual degradation of slavery. We just don't. There IS a racial gap in test scores. There IS a larger number of failing schools in predominantly minority neighborhoods. There IS a higher proportion of blacks in prison. There IS a history of slavery and oppression of black people. We can't get around it.

 

So, instead of pretending that these things don't matter, I believe we need to address them head-on. Which, of course, is not what they did at her school. Instead of creating a dialogue with her, they took offense and drove her away.

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:iagree:**Poor kids are nickel and dimed to death, done out of a fair shot by fifty small things anyone could overcome if it weren't for the poverty**

 

I will also agree with this statement, but notice the difference. Poverty is a different issue than race.

 

:iagree:

 

As a white kid growing up in an inner city, I always kinda resented the whole 'mixing of poverty and race assumptions' thing. My family is white and POOR. We lived in the city; we went to city schools. We had nothing. We were just as poor as the black families, but it was always assumed (by news media? by society in general?) that we had more simply because we are white.

 

Now, I don't live in the city anymore. I moved to the suburbs as soon as I could. But what allowed me to move there by myself before the age of 20, was the fact that I took as much advantage of the education I was offered as I could. No, my highschool did not offer even one honors or AP class. But we did have a vocational school we could attend for part of the day. I did that. I learned CAD. And I started a good paying career right out of highschool because of that. And funny enough, I could still use those skills today to get a GOOD paying job out here in the suburbs if I wanted to.

 

I'm just saying that in my experience, poverty and race have less to do with how one's education progresses than the deterimination of the child (and their parents, hopefully) to make something of what they have available to them.

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:iagree:

 

While I agree that her essay has merit, I feel that by reducing it to a race issue she turns the essay from something to talk about into a problem. As a former teacher that was told weekly that she could not teach the student population because of her skin color, I find that offensive. To me, this is an example that reverse racism exists, and needs to be dealt with. In my experience, the teaching in the classrooms in my former school was the same for every student, no matter the ethnicity (and that school was 50 / 50 in population).

 

Also, if you truly feel that is a valid argument, then doesn't it also hold true that black teachers cannot teach white students? Or, are you going to call me a racist if I say that? so what now, go back to segregation?

 

And yes, this is an over simplification of the issue. Yes, there were some students that I could not reach because I was white. I have a theory about that, but this isn't really the place for it.

 

**Poor kids are nickel and dimed to death, done out of a fair shot by fifty small things anyone could overcome if it weren't for the poverty**

 

I will also agree with this statement, but notice the difference. Poverty is a different issue than race.

In reference to the bolded - are the issues due to race or culture/class? I can't see how the race of a teacher can matter at all, but I can see how culture/class can be mixed up with race and thus the bolded could be true to a certain extent.

 

I see in the US how we group ourselves according to both race and culture. To the point that there is a black culture (in some parts of the country) and a white culture and a Latino culture, etc. These groups are not limited to race. We have also have a class culture (think redneck, blue collar, white collar) and sometimes the two get mixed.

 

So I can see how a middle class white female teacher, in certain circumstances, would not be as effective teaching a group of kids who have been told in their culture that the middle class white people can't be trusted. By the same token, a teacher from the 'hood may or may not be able to relate to middle class white kids. The same teacher may have trouble relating to middle class black kids. At this point we know it isn't an issue of race, but culture/class.

 

The problem comes when you get that teacher from the 'hood. Because he has been college educated and making X amount of money he becomes middle class. Then we have a Catch-22 situation.

Edited by Parrothead
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The school shouldn't have made it bad enough that the kid had to leave.

 

The kid is trying to place blame in the wrong place. Until we as a society start taking responsibility for our decisions and quit trying to blame everyone else, things will not get better. This isn't specific to any one race or economic class either.

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The school shouldn't have made it bad enough that the kid had to leave.

 

The kid is trying to place blame in the wrong place. Until we as a society start taking responsibility for our decisions and quit trying to blame everyone else, things will not get better. This isn't specific to any one race or economic class either.

I do agree with this also. We as a whole have lost sight of personal responsibility. Often there are no kudos for working hard and making responsible choices. Yet, often there is a pat on the head and a "poor baby" and maybe a cookie if one embraces a victim mentality ("It isn't my fault").

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Where are you going to get a teacher that has visited every country in the world and understands all the subcultures? Districts are diverse now; out here in rural NY students typically are first gen from fifty different countries and they sit side by side with the decendents from the previous immigration waves. The remaining monocultures are places like Chicago's South Side.

 

The Economist (2/11/12 issue) reports that "The typical black American now lives in a neighborhood that is 14% hispanic, about the same figure as for whites". Yet blacks lag hispanics when same socioeconomics are compared; suspect different value toward education. I'd like to know: what is the engagement? Is the work getting done? Our district is paying $28K/child for alternative school, with seperate bussing, where middle and high school students receive supervised homework time since they cannot get it done at school during study hall or at home. Contrast that with $7K/child for the rest of the poor. Tremendous amounts of money in my state are going towards pushing unwilling students to graduate high school.

 

I'm not sure what the first part of your statement means, but as to second half- Latinos have experienced some sub-human treatment in this country (especially migrant farm workers), but they were never subjected to "ownership" by the white man. That makes a huge difference.

 

I'm not saying that people should use the history of inequality as an excuse. I'm saying we need to re-evaluate how we educate all people in this country. Of course, many people are able to overcome serious adversity and make wonderful lives for themselves. But, there's no way to deny that a minority person in this country faces a much, much more challenging road to success than the average white person, regardless of income level.

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I don't think she's "right." But I think she has a "right" to be wrong. It is a shame that teachers can't put on their big-girl panties and deal with a child disagreeing with them. It should be part of the job to at least tolerate different viewpoints that are stated in a socially acceptable manner, as it seems was the case here.

 

There is no question in my mind that the girl and her classmates have a real grievance. I have no doubt that race is sometimes behind the bad stuff, but in this case, I think the lousiness of the school system does not discriminate on the basis of race. I think she way oversimplifies the issue, but she's not the adult here! It's not up to her to identify and weed out the exact problem(s). She did research, gave the matter some serious thought, raised important issues, and stayed within the structure of civil discourse. How much more can be asked of a young teen?

 

I'm sorry she was punished. All that does is exacerbate every aspect of the problems.

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Wanted to add- My sister taught public high school in Louisiana for a few years. She's a white, middle class woman, who taught in poverty-stricken rural Louisiana. She had both poor white students and poor black students in her classes. She got the attitude of "you can't understand me because you're white" from her black students all the time. She would say to them, "You're right, I don't know what it's like to be you. But, can you imagine what it's like to be a born-and-raised Northern city girl, and have to be transplanted to the heart of Louisiana in the middle of a bunch of sugar cane? No, you can't. So, why don't we do what we can to get along and learn from each other?"

 

That's the kind of attitude we need teachers to take- Yes. Life has been crappy for you. We know that, we understand you have been affected by that. Let's see what we can do to make the most of this situation.

 

We don't need teachers telling kids "Your perception of life as you've observed it for these past 13 years is wrong. How dare you criticize us!"

 

That is not helpful or progressive.

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The first part of my statement means that most of the country's public school students aren't just one race. The majority of schools have people from many different immigrant waves sitting right next to each other in the same classroom.

 

Latinos and blacks are not the only groups to have experienced widespread discrimination. You might ask yourself who the indentured servants were? Who were the servants of the rich before the blacks moved to the cities? Who are the slaves in other cultures?

 

Poor people of all colors face a tough road, especially if they can't bootstrap themselves up with the library or they don't have an established immigrant group to join and help them rise faster. The majority of school children are in poverty.

 

 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. My grandparents came over from Ireland on a boat when they were young newlyweds with small children. They suffered horribly. Still not as bad as black people had it. Indentured servants at least had the possibility of hoping to work enough to earn their freedom. Slaves did not. I believe there are two separate issues here, class distinction and race distinction. Yes, poor people of all races have a hard time bettering their situations, but black people of all income levels have the most difficult time achieving a higher education and higher standard of living.

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In reference to the bolded - are the issues due to race or culture/class? I can't see how the race of a teacher can matter at all, but I can see how culture/class can be mixed up with race and thus the bolded could be true to a certain extent.

 

I see in the US how we group ourselves according to both race and culture. To the point that there is a black culture (in some parts of the country) and a white culture and a Latino culture, etc. These groups are not limited to race. We have also have a class culture (think redneck, blue collar, white collar) and sometimes the two get mixed.

 

So I can see how a middle class white female teacher, in certain circumstances, would not be as effective teaching a group of kids who have been told in their culture that the middle class white people can't be trusted. By the same token, a teacher from the 'hood may or may not be able to relate to middle class white kids. The same teacher may have trouble relating to middle class black kids. At this point we know it isn't an issue of race, but culture/class.

 

The problem comes when you get that teacher from the 'hood. Because he has been college educated and making X amount of money he becomes middle class. Then we have a Catch-22 situation.

 

I agree with your points, and as you stated, it is an iddue of culture/class, not race. I think all to often things are categorized by race that should be categorized as other. Also, I think sometimes race is used as an excuse, for both priveledge and lack of accountability / responsibility.

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Yes, poor people of all races have a hard time bettering their situations, but black people of all income levels have the most difficult time achieving a higher education and higher standard of living.

 

 

Do you mind if I pm you a few questions? You might be able to give me some insight that I have been sorely lacking.

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And in the case of this 13 yr. old- the school seems to be proving her point. By ostracizing and demonizing her for criticizing the school, they are basically telling her what she can and cannot take away from what she has learned at school. She analyzed what she observed, and was punished for it. I'm sure none of the educators involved believe that they are purposely holding anyone back, but in my view, a smart school staff would talk with a student who wrote such an essay and ask her for specific examples of why she feels this way, and what her ideas are for fixing the problem. Make her feel like she is part of a solution, rather than vilifying her. Even if these educators don't think they are personally part of the problem, they can't deny the statistics on the racial gap in this country.

 

:iagree:

 

I think that anybody of any race can teach anybody of any race. I think that anybody of any race can learn from anybody of any race.

 

The perception on the part of many young black students is that the white teacher cannot possibly grasp where they are coming from. And to some extent that is true. In this country, whites do not have to overcome the persisting stereotypes and residual degradation of slavery. We just don't. There IS a racial gap in test scores. There IS a larger number of failing schools in predominantly minority neighborhoods. There IS a higher proportion of blacks in prison. There IS a history of slavery and oppression of black people. We can't get around it.

 

So, instead of pretending that these things don't matter, I believe we need to address them head-on. Which, of course, is not what they did at her school. Instead of creating a dialogue with her, they took offense and drove her away.

 

:iagree:

 

I don't think she's "right." But I think she has a "right" to be wrong. It is a shame that teachers can't put on their big-girl panties and deal with a child disagreeing with them. It should be part of the job to at least tolerate different viewpoints that are stated in a socially acceptable manner, as it seems was the case here.

 

There is no question in my mind that the girl and her classmates have a real grievance. I have no doubt that race is sometimes behind the bad stuff, but in this case, I think the lousiness of the school system does not discriminate on the basis of race. I think she way oversimplifies the issue, but she's not the adult here! It's not up to her to identify and weed out the exact problem(s). She did research, gave the matter some serious thought, raised important issues, and stayed within the structure of civil discourse. How much more can be asked of a young teen?

 

I'm sorry she was punished. All that does is exacerbate every aspect of the problems.

 

:iagree:

 

Wow, when I went to bed last night, no one had responded! :) I think regardless of whether you think this is a race issue or not, this child was trying to get someone's attention. There is obviously some disconnect between the teachers and the students, and even if the children are misconstruing it(they are children), it is an issue worthy to be addressed.

 

I find it incredibly sad that they just turned their heads and shooed the "troublemaker" out of the door.

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It sounds like she made an observation based on her interpretation of a thought-provoking piece of literature and her limited experience of growing up in one school district. She may not be aware of other schools in all states that have similar issues of not providing the best education to students for a host of different reasons. I am especially appalled at the low test scores. I think they speak of something that isn't quite right in the school. I'm also saddened that her 'norm' is to receive packets of school work to be completed independently, if that is truth. Without discussion and direction in understanding, how does one learn new viewpoints? How are students motivated to even be interested in learning to broaden their limited communities?

 

It doesn't say if the book was assigned by the school, but if it was, I wonder if they'll pull it to prevent something similar happening again?

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Wow. Kinda puts the lie to the idea that schools want to produce independent thinkers.

 

Tara

 

:iagree: It seems the school did pretty much what the slave owner did. They could have used the girl's essay as starting point for some meaningful dialog on personal responsibility and education as a means to break away from "slavery" (or whatever is holding one back). Maybe the girl wasn't right on the money on some things, but let's remember that she's only 13 years old. Thirteen-year-olds still have much to learn.

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Indentured servants had to survive in good enough health. Why do you think they ran when they could? Slaves could escape, and some did. Perhaps you have heard of the Underground Railroad?

 

Some of my ancestors were Cherokee. Did your education include the "Trail of Tears"? Were reservations 'freedom'?

 

Are poor, uneducated people 'free', especially now when most of them can't get up the price of gas to get to the next job once their town's opportunities dry up?

 

Comparing levels of suffering of ancestors and using that as an excuse not to learn is not helpful. We can argue all day about who is suffering more - a kid whose ancestor 6 generations ago was a slave, a current refugee from a communist country, a native american on a poor res etc, but they all can learn if they want to and their elders provide good teachers. Those who are excelling are proof that opportunity is there for those who want to take advantage in many of our nation's schools.

 

Maybe you didn't read the part where I said it shouldn't be used as an excuse, but as an invitation to a truly open dialogue about race relations and education. I'd also say Native Americans have had as bad a time of it as black people. Maybe you've never experienced racism first hand. I've been the recipient of "reverse racism" on many occasions and it doesn't feel good. But, the worst experiences and treatment I've ever received in my life have been when I was in the company of black friends- terrible treatment from cops, store clerks, random strangers. When I was engaged to a black man, I was called all kinds of names by white and black people. One guy I didn't even know talked about me to my sister, asking her how my family could stand the thought of a black man touching me. WTF? I saw with my own eyes how my fiance was treated totally differently from how my brother was treated in similar situations. Well, like I said, we can agree to disagree. I've been out in public with Asian friends, Latino friends, my adopted from India nieces and nephews, and have never experienced the level of vitriol that I have when I've been in public with my black friends. So, as I said before, coupling my personal experiences with the statistics on race in education and in the prison population, I stand by what I said.

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Indentured servants had to survive in good enough health. Why do you think they ran when they could? Slaves could escape, and some did. Perhaps you have heard of the Underground Railroad?

 

Some of my ancestors were Cherokee. Did your education include the "Trail of Tears"? Were reservations 'freedom'?

 

Are poor, uneducated people 'free', especially now when most of them can't get up the price of gas to get to the next job once their town's opportunities dry up?

 

Comparing levels of suffering of ancestors and using that as an excuse not to learn is not helpful. We can argue all day about who is suffering more - a kid whose ancestor 6 generations ago was a slave, a current refugee from a communist country, a native american on a poor res etc, but they all can learn if they want to and their elders provide good teachers. Those who are excelling are proof that opportunity is there for those who want to take advantage in many of our nation's schools.

:iagree::iagree: By the way, I believe there is a black family living in the Whitehouse right now. Just sayin'...

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Racism exists. It impacts opportunity. But what bums me out is that the question "what do we do about it" never seems to get answered in these discussions, particularly discussions including those whose opportunities are impacted. All too often it ends with "we can't and it's whitey's fault." And then the back-and-forth over how much of it is really whitey's fault, how much is opportunity really impacted, and how each group needs to express its anger or get over itself.

 

I used to tutor these kids, and it seemed I may have been the only person treating them like they were every bit as important as everyone else, like they were going to grow up and be a relevant part of the economy and society. How did they get to be so thoroughly down on themselves from such a young age? And why don't they view themselves as part of the solution, at least on an individual level?

 

I mean, we're forcing these kids to spend how many hours of their lives in a government-controlled box, and we can't do something to counter the negative messages they are getting? We really can't teach them to read in a decade of full-time classes? Then why are we spending all that money on schools? There must be some other way to leverage resources that would support literacy and dignity.

 

You know, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if the young writer had a point. Inner city schools seem to value sheep-like obedience over intellectual growth. I doubt they do this with the intention of keeping the masses "down" (though such agenda has been suggested in other contexts by very smart adults).

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Like many others here I have had good black teachers and good white teachers and bad black teachers and bad white teachers. The race had nothing to do with it.

 

I am tutoring two girls in a low income public school. My first grader's teacher is black female teacher and is in my opinion, a better teacher than the fifth grader's white male teacher. I don;t have much to compare with but I do know that there was an emergency call out for more tutors for the fifth graders since so many were about to fail math. I think that this teacher, who is probably one of two or three teaching this grade, may be part of the problem.

 

The first grade teacher is very happy to have me come and help and we discuss ways to help the little girl. She almost always has materials ready for me to use and is genuinely interested in my comments about how the girl is progressing and what else she may need. The male teacher seemed annoyed that I asked what I should concentrate with the older girl. In front of the whole class ( he didn't bother to get out from his desk) he yells she doesn't know any math so teach her multiplication and division. Well I take her to the library where I tutor and it turns out that she does know most of her multiplication facts, she just doesn't know about 24. Then I try her with double digit multiplication and she knows that too. I haven't tried division yet but she certainly isn't dumb and as she says, her favorite subject is math.

 

In the first case, I think the teacher is doing what she can but unfortunately, a number of kids need much more one on one teaching to learn basic math and to learn to read. She has a first grade classroom of about twenty kids with no aide. The fifth grade classroom is larger - maybe twenty five or thirty. But one other difference remains- the fifth grade teacher is much older than the first grade teacher. I would guess she is around 30 and that he is in his early 50s. I think he may be burnt out.

 

But the kids- they aren't burnt out- they are enthusiastic about learning. I wish I could just homeschool them since I know they would do so much better with one on one teaching.

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But the kids- they aren't burnt out- they are enthusiastic about learning. I wish I could just homeschool them since I know they would do so much better with one on one teaching.

 

I think they might do really well with Blend Phonics; it was designed for large numbers of students and has a strong oral teaching component. The teacher only needs one copy to teach a whole class, and you can print it off yourself.

 

http://donpotter.net/education_pages/blend_phonics.html

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I think it just takes a good teacher using good methods who believes in their students, the race of the student or teacher should not matter.

 

However, I do think that a lack of solid teaching of the basics has hurt poor students, especially poor minority students, more than middle class students. If middle class students are taught poorly, their parents can pay for tutoring or have the literacy and numeracy skills to fill in the gaps. Due to historical illiteracy rates for blacks and the language barrier for many other minorities, these parents and grandparents are less likely to be able to fill in gaps.

 

According to a study called "Strengths of Their Own," the achievement gap disappears for reading and is greatly reduced for math for minorities that homeschool.

 

Another important finding of Strengths of Their Own was that the race of the student does not make any difference. There was no significant difference between minority and white homeschooled students. For example, in grades K-12, both white and minority students scored, on the average, in the 87th percentile. In math, whites scored in the 82nd percentile while minorities scored in the 77th percentile. In the public schools, however, there is a sharp contrast. White public school eighth grade students, nationally scored the 58th percentile in math and the 57th percentile in reading. Black eighth grade students, on the other hand, scored on the average at the 24th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading. Hispanics scored at the 29th percentile in math and the 28th percentile in reading.

 

Black students in much poorer Richmond, VA, improved greatly after a switch to a phonics based program. Most of the rich Fairfax, VA district schools continue to use balanced literacy. (Interestingly, when we lived there, we lived in the district for the only elementary school that taught phonics--and that school was quite desired, house prices were about $100K more than houses in the other schools. We rented from family, otherwise we would not have lived in that neighborhood, and family bought years ago when prices were not crazy.)

 

Here are two links about the difference:

 

Black students in Fairfax County are consistently scoring lower on state standardized tests than African American children in Richmond, Norfolk and other comparatively poor Virginia districts, surprising Fairfax educators and forcing one of the nation's wealthiest school systems to acknowledge shortcomings that have been masked by its overall success.

 

Link for above article.

 

Compare Fairfax County to the city of Richmond. The Richmond Public Schools are 90% high-poverty and 90% African-American.

Starting in 2001, Richmond adopted the NIH reading reforms. Last spring, on the 3rd grade SOL tests in reading , 76% of children passed in Richmond, compared to 79% in Fairfax County.

 

That’s right. The reading scores for children in urban Richmond and wealthy Fairfax are almost the same.

 

As you can see in the graphs in my presentation, Richmond is going up dramatically, while Fairfax is going down. It is pretty clear that the next two years, reading scores in Richmond are going to pass those in Fairfax County.

 

Link for above presentation.

 

Here are the literacy stats by race:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/litpercent.html

 

And, the correlation between earnings and literacy:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/profitable.html

 

(And, very scary, they dropped the level 5 in the most recent survey, so few people read at the college level that they now have combined level 4 and level 5 into one level.)

 

The best book I have read about the achievement gap is "No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning."

 

My students are not randomly selected and I don't have enough to compare at a statistically significant level even if they were more randomly selected, but anecdotally, my black students seem able to make more dramatic advances when taught with phonics than my white students. But, I also have taught more black than white students since discovering Webster's Speller, and it is very powerful! Webster's Speller is also very powerful for my ESL students, but there were even less of those, so that could be a fluke.

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education to live up to its mission, their anger or frustration with "institutional racism" is misplaced. And, while the majority of teachers at this school maybe white, their community is largely minority. If they choose to, they have the power via the ballot box to control the school board and the administration of the school.

 

The teachers fail to teach, whether white or not, because expectation are unrealistic, and because they as members of an aggressive union are not accountable for their performance.

 

When students enter high school as illiterates, it is unrealistic to expect them to master anything like high school level content. But, high school teachers are expected to teach that content to them. That's just crazy. One can understand why teachers give up when their mission is so removed from anything like a realistic outcome. If teachers told the truth of the situation they would most likely be fired. It is politically impossible for them to tell parents and students they've been failed by their elementary education and that high school level work is impossible for them. The communities they teach in simply cannot tolerate this type of criticism - it is politically explosive- and their principal wouldn't tolerate it either least the veil be lifted.

 

There is a sick symbiosis that exists between black Americans and the public school system in the country. We all pretend that the culture of the underclass isn't profoundly damaging to minorities, significantly disadvantaging them in the real world. To tell them this is "racist". We do this so the blacks don't have to confront and come to terms with their cultural failures. And, we also pretend that the schools are capable of doing the job that they're missioned with when, because of the perverse incentives of the unions, they simply aren't up to the job.

 

I think the analysis of this 13 year old girl is wrong to the extent she blames the racism of white teachers and administrators. Here in NJ, we have schools with majority minority students AND majority minority teachers/administrators with horrible educational outcomes. I think she has put her finger on a pressure point when she clearly descibes the day-to-day reality of the school experience for her peers, though. She observes correctly that the system is sick, but her root cause hypothesis is wrong and self-serving.

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I like the essay.

 

I know that cross-racial and cross-gender teaching can work just fine. I also know that hostile teachers can create failed students. It's often difficult to tease out just what is going on when failure is rampant.

 

I am white (Northern European-American) and I know that it is easy for me to 'opt out' of dealing with or even recognizing racial issues. But it is impossible for people of color to do so. That makes me take this essay pretty seriously, even though I know that it might be largely a cop out.

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Well my family is white, but we certainly were POOR growing up. As in, we were under the poverty line, but my parents were too proud to get food stamps or even school lunches, so we just suffered through. I can remember several instances where I had to turn in school field trip permission slips without the $1 or $2 fee, because we simply couldn't afford it.

 

We were POOR. I get poverty. My parents still live in the exact same house I grew up in. They are still living at the poverty level. They are still to proud to get food stamps or any government assistance.

 

So I get that. I lived it. And I was still able to make something of my education. As were plenty of my black classmates, who may or may not have been as poor as we were. And there were plenty of each race that decided NOT to make anything of their education. I don't see, at least from my experience, that race had anything to do with it.

 

:iagree: with everything you've said. The problem with schools is not race. It happens to all kids. I didn't get the most stellar education in public school and I'm as white as a bleached sock!

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I'm the wife to a white teacher in a mostly black school, the majority of whom are very poor. Our county has one of the highest percentages of section 8 housing in the state as well as one of the highest in teen pregnancies.

 

My dh wants to teach these kids, regardless of their skin color; however, most don't want to learn, don't see a need for it, and refuse to cooperate in the process. Many walk in his class, see he's white and put up a wall. I can tell you that most of his students would never have been able to come close to writing an essay like that, so despite all her complaining about her poor education, she's doing better than a lot of students.

 

The thing that concerns me with some of the line of thinking in this article is that my dh could be singled out and labeled as someone to get rid of because he's white and a lot of his students aren't. Dh is a good teacher, but he'd be an even better one if administration would get the worst discipline problem children out of the school, back up the teachers on regular day-to-day discipline, and let him teach the way he wants. They are micromanaging the classrooms so much that I'm not surprised they haven't handed him a script. He says that some schools are going to that.

 

Students in his school (teenagers!) in his school are never seen as the problem. The parents are never labeled the problem. The culture of the community is never the cause of the problems. The fault lies with the teachers. They are constantly "checking up on them" and trying to catch teachers doing a bad job. The truth of the matter is that the education system in this country doesn't trust its own teachers. I think that is because becoming a teacher is too easy, but if it wasn't, we wouldn't have enough.

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All of the white people on this thread claiming that racism has nothing to do with education are really puzzling me. How could you ever truly know? You aren't even aware of the privileges you are granted simply because you are white (no matter your income level), and that is more troubling to me than anything!! I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who believe that racism is a thing of the past.

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Williams called for her fellow students to "start making these white teachers accountable for instructing you" and challenged teachers to do their jobs.

 

I just talked with my dh, and he said he would love it if his students came in demanding more of him. That would excite him because he loves history and wants to help them love it, but what he gets now are whines and complaints about any work he makes them do.

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All of the white people on this thread claiming that racism has nothing to do with education are really puzzling me. How could you ever truly know? You aren't even aware of the privileges you are granted simply because you are white (no matter your income level), and that is more troubling to me than anything!! I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who believe that racism is a thing of the past.

 

First of all, racism is not defined as 'white against black'. Racism CAN and DOES happen to people of EVERY race.

 

And your statement that I am granted privileges simply because I'm white is simply not true. I had the same privileges and disadvantages regarding my education as every single other student in my Flint city schools; regardless of their race.

 

Tell me exactly what privileges were afforded me regarding my education because I am white. Especially considering that as a white student, I was in the MINORITY in my schools. I'd be curious to hear what privileges I got. 'Cause I don't remember any. And frankly, assuming I was granted privileges because I'm white is it's own form of racism.

 

No, I don't claim racism is a thing of the past. I just do NOT see, in my situation, how I had it any better than any of my black classmates. But I'm open to hearing how it is that you believe I did.

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All of the white people on this thread claiming that racism has nothing to do with education are really puzzling me. How could you ever truly know? You aren't even aware of the privileges you are granted simply because you are white (no matter your income level), and that is more troubling to me than anything!! I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who believe that racism is a thing of the past.

 

Racism will never be a thing of the past. There will always be people who don't like those different than them. But racism goes both ways. There are plenty of students that don't like my dh because he is white.

 

I think what creates racism most is the extreme differences in cultures. One group doesn't understand the practices of another and becomes judgmental. It's hard not to do so, too. My dd has a very good friend who is black, but she was adopted into a white family as an infant. She says she is culturally white inside, but black outside. What she sees of black culture in our community she wants no part of; yet, she feels most white men will not want to marry her. She's really wondering where she's going to fit in life.

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First of all, racism is not defined as 'white against black'. Racism CAN and DOES happen to people of EVERY race

 

Of course, though in our nation the vast majority of prejudice is at the expense of non-whites.

 

Tell me exactly what privileges were afforded me regarding my education because I am white. Especially considering that as a white student, I was in the MINORITY in my schools. I'd be curious to hear what privileges I got. 'Cause I don't remember any. And frankly, assuming I was granted privileges because I'm white is it's own form of racism.

 

Here are 50 ways that white people are privileged through no fault of their own. http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html This comes from the essay by Peggy McIntosh that has become the primer on white privilege.

 

You may not have experienced all 50 examples of white privilege, especially since you were at a majority-minority school, but I'm willing to bet you benefitted from most of them. I went to high school at a majority-minority school and recognized my privilege in every single item.

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:iagree: It seems the school did pretty much what the slave owner did. They could have used the girl's essay as starting point for some meaningful dialog on personal responsibility and education as a means to break away from "slavery" (or whatever is holding one back). Maybe the girl wasn't right on the money on some things, but let's remember that she's only 13 years old. Thirteen-year-olds still have much to learn.

 

Exactly. And though her essay might have been juvenile in some respects, it's my opinion that the school acted in a manner even less mature. At least she has age in her defense.

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Of course, though in our nation the vast majority of prejudice is at the expense of non-whites.

 

 

 

Here are 50 ways that white people are privileged through no fault of their own. http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html This comes from the essay by Peggy McIntosh that has become the primer on white privilege.

 

You may not have experienced all 50 examples of white privilege, especially since you were at a majority-minority school, but I'm willing to bet you benefitted from most of them. I went to high school at a majority-minority school and recognized my privilege in every single item.

 

Thank you.

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A very interesting article although I feel it could have been written slightly clearer. I have been doing some research into local schools ahead of the rush trying to get my children into the right school in our area and these sites can offer friendly advice on this topic for those are have similar thoughts.

 

:grouphug:

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I think the analysis of this 13 year old girl is wrong to the extent she blames the racism of white teachers and administrators. Here in NJ, we have schools with majority minority students AND majority minority teachers/administrators with horrible educational outcomes. I think she has put her finger on a pressure point when she clearly descibes the day-to-day reality of the school experience for her peers, though. She observes correctly that the system is sick, but her root cause hypothesis is wrong and self-serving.

 

I tend to agree with this, though I wouldn't have said self-serving, so much as a natural conclusion given her experience. She is probably not in a position to realize the extent to which these issues exist in the school system generally.

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Of course, though in our nation the vast majority of prejudice is at the expense of non-whites.

 

Here are 50 ways that white people are privileged through no fault of their own. http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html This comes from the essay by Peggy McIntosh that has become the primer on white privilege.

 

You may not have experienced all 50 examples of white privilege, especially since you were at a majority-minority school, but I'm willing to bet you benefitted from most of them. I went to high school at a majority-minority school and recognized my privilege in every single item.

 

I can't say I find that all that great an essay. When I was in elementary school I was in a mixed race area, and I can tell you that I, as a blond white girl, worried about a lot of the things that supposedly I should have been exempt from.

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I'm the wife to a white teacher in a mostly black school, the majority of whom are very poor. Our county has one of the highest percentages of section 8 housing in the state as well as one of the highest in teen pregnancies.

 

My dh wants to teach these kids, regardless of their skin color; however, most don't want to learn, don't see a need for it, and refuse to cooperate in the process. Many walk in his class, see he's white and put up a wall. I can tell you that most of his students would never have been able to come close to writing an essay like that, so despite all her complaining about her poor education, she's doing better than a lot of students.

 

The thing that concerns me with some of the line of thinking in this article is that my dh could be singled out and labeled as someone to get rid of because he's white and a lot of his students aren't. Dh is a good teacher, but he'd be an even better one if administration would get the worst discipline problem children out of the school, back up the teachers on regular day-to-day discipline, and let him teach the way he wants. They are micromanaging the classrooms so much that I'm not surprised they haven't handed him a script. He says that some schools are going to that.

 

Students in his school (teenagers!) in his school are never seen as the problem. The parents are never labeled the problem. The culture of the community is never the cause of the problems. The fault lies with the teachers. They are constantly "checking up on them" and trying to catch teachers doing a bad job. The truth of the matter is that the education system in this country doesn't trust its own teachers. I think that is because becoming a teacher is too easy, but if it wasn't, we wouldn't have enough.

 

:iagree:

 

Amen, sister!

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I'm the wife to a white teacher in a mostly black school, the majority of whom are very poor. Our county has one of the highest percentages of section 8 housing in the state as well as one of the highest in teen pregnancies.

 

My dh wants to teach these kids, regardless of their skin color; however, most don't want to learn, don't see a need for it, and refuse to cooperate in the process. Many walk in his class, see he's white and put up a wall. I can tell you that most of his students would never have been able to come close to writing an essay like that, so despite all her complaining about her poor education, she's doing better than a lot of students.

 

The thing that concerns me with some of the line of thinking in this article is that my dh could be singled out and labeled as someone to get rid of because he's white and a lot of his students aren't. Dh is a good teacher, but he'd be an even better one if administration would get the worst discipline problem children out of the school, back up the teachers on regular day-to-day discipline, and let him teach the way he wants. They are micromanaging the classrooms so much that I'm not surprised they haven't handed him a script. He says that some schools are going to that.

 

Students in his school (teenagers!) in his school are never seen as the problem. The parents are never labeled the problem. The culture of the community is never the cause of the problems. The fault lies with the teachers. They are constantly "checking up on them" and trying to catch teachers doing a bad job. The truth of the matter is that the education system in this country doesn't trust its own teachers. I think that is because becoming a teacher is too easy, but if it wasn't, we wouldn't have enough.

:iagree: my dh teaches in a similar situation. Half the kids don't know who their father is, many have parents in prison, or siblings dealing drugs. Most of them probably don't have a book in their house. And somehow, it's the teachers' fault when the students don't succeed in school. :confused:

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I tend to agree with this, though I wouldn't have said self-serving, so much as a natural conclusion given her experience. She is probably not in a position to realize the extent to which these issues exist in the school system generally.

 

It's more comforting to identify the problem as something outside of herself and her community. Others are to blame for the failure; We're not to blame.

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