Tag Archives: Diversity

Duke University study: Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement

3 Dec

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/us/class/shadowy-lines-that-still-divide.html    describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class   http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html

Science Daily reported in Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement:

When Wake County Public Schools switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated, according to new research from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

However, segregation increased much more rapidly in four other large North Carolina school districts that simply dropped race-based strategies and did not attempt to pursue diversity in other ways.

“While we found some decline in the degree of racial diversity associated with Wake County schools after adoption of the socioeconomic plan versus the prior race-based plan, there was significantly less diversity in the school districts that were not using either plan,” said William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School.

In addition, Wake County math and reading scores rose slightly and the achievement gap between black and white students narrowed after the switch. In the four other N.C. districts, scores fell among black students after race-based school assignment stopped.

The research was published online in the journal Urban Education on Nov. 27.

“The main message is, we may not want to give up on using diversity-based policies to achieve integration and address opportunity gaps and achievement gaps,” said lead author Monique McMillian. McMillian, an educational psychologist, is an associate professor at Morgan State University in Maryland and an affiliate of Duke University’s Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality….                                                                                                                             http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151130182251.htm

Citation:

Income-based school assignment policy influences diversity, achievement

Date:      November 30, 2015

Source:   Duke University

Summary:

When public schools in Wake County, North Carolina switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated but the achievement gap lessened, according to new research.

Journal Reference:

  1. M. M. McMillian, S. Fuller, Z. Hill, K. Duch, W. A. Darity. Can Class-Based Substitute for Race-Based Student Assignment Plans? Evidence From Wake County, North Carolina. Urban Education, 2015; DOI: 10.1177/0042085915613554

Here is the press release from Duke University:

Mixed Results for Income-based K-12 Assignment

Segregation still increased in Wake County plan, but not as much as in other counties

November 30, 2015 |

Durham, NC – When Wake County Public Schools switched from a school assignment policy based on race to one based on socioeconomic status, schools became slightly more segregated, according to new research from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

However, segregation increased much more rapidly in four other large North Carolina school districts that simply dropped race-based strategies and did not attempt to pursue diversity in other ways.

“While we found some decline in the degree of racial diversity associated with Wake County schools after adoption of the socioeconomic plan versus the prior race-based plan, there was significantly less diversity in the school districts that were not using either plan,” said William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy in the Sanford School.

In addition, Wake County math and reading scores rose slightly and the achievement gap between black and white students narrowed after the switch. In the four other N.C. districts, scores fell among black students after race-based school assignment stopped.

The research was published online in the journal Urban Education on Nov. 27.

“The main message is, we may not want to give up on using diversity-based policies to achieve integration and address opportunity gaps and achievement gaps,” said lead author Monique McMillian. McMillian, an educational psychologist, is an associate professor at Morgan State University in Maryland and an affiliate of Duke University’s Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality.

North Carolina school districts stopped using race-based assignment plans in the late 1990s after a series of court cases struck down the practice in various settings around the country.

In 2000, Wake implemented a new assignment policy based on income and achievement, in which no school would consist of more than 40 percent students receiving free or reduced lunch, nor more than 25 percent of students performing below grade level. (In 2010, the Wake County school board voted to stop using an income-based policy. However, income remains a component — albeit a smaller component — of the current assignment policy.)

McMillian saw the change as an opportunity to investigate how the different policies affect school integration and student achievement.

She, Darity and their colleagues analyzed data from Wake and four other large N.C. school districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cumberland County, Guilford County and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Like Wake, these school districts had previously used race-based assignment policies, but unlike Wake, they switched to a combination of neighborhood schools and school choice.

The researchers analyzed data from 1992 to 2009, including demographic data about schools and students, and 10 years of end-of-grade test scores for third through eighth graders.

McMillian said the study was largely descriptive. It’s not possible, therefore, to say whether the new school assignment policy alone caused Wake’s test score gains or reduced the achievement gap between white and black students. Other factors may have contributed as well, such as changes in other district policies or implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, she said.

McMillian said the study provides “tentative evidence that income-based assignment policies improve achievement and increase diversity.”

—–

CITATION: “Can Class-Based Substitute for Race-Based Student Assignment Plans?: Evidence from Wake County, N.C.” McMillian, M.M.; Fuller, S.C.; Hill, Z.; Duch, K.; and Darity, Jr., W.A. Urban Education. DOI: 10.1177/0042085915613554

More Information

Contact: Karen Kemp

Phone: (919) 613-7315

Email: kkemp@duke.edu

© 2015 Office of News & Communications
615 Chapel Drive, Box 90563, Durham, NC 27708-0563
(919) 684-2823; After-hours phone (for reporters on deadline): (919) 812-6603

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.   See, How do upper-class parents prepare their kids for success in the world? http://sandiegoeducationreport.org/talkingtokids.html

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. https://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/ Lindsey Layton wrote in the Washington Post article, Schools dilemma for gentrifiers: Keep their kids urban, or move to suburbia?

When his oldest son reached school age, Michael Petrilli faced a dilemma known to many middle-class parents living in cities they helped gentrify: Should the family flee to the homogenous suburbs for excellent schools or stay urban for diverse but often struggling schools?

Petrilli, who lived in Takoma Park with his wife and two sons, was torn, but he knew more than most people about the choice before him. Petrilli is an education expert, a former official in the Education Department under George W. Bush and executive vice president at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a right-leaning education think tank.
He set out to learn as much as he could about the risks and benefits of socioeconomically diverse schools, where at least 20 percent of students are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. And then he wrote about it….

Petrilli said he wanted his son to have friends from all backgrounds because he believes that cultural literacy will prepare him for success in a global society.

But he worried that his son might get lost in a classroom that has a high percentage of poor children, that teachers would be focused on the struggling children and have less time for their more privileged peers.
As Petrilli points out in the book, this dilemma doesn’t exist for most white, middle-class families. The vast majority — 87 percent — of white students attend majority white schools, Petrilli says, even though they make up just about 50 percent of the public school population.

And even in urban areas with significant African American and Latino populations, neighborhood schools still tend to be segregated by class, if not by race. In the Washington region, less than 3 percent of white public school students attend schools where poor children are the majority, according to Petrilli.

Gentrification poses new opportunities for policymakers to desegregate schools, Petrilli argues….

In the end, Petrilli moved from his Takoma Park neighborhood school — diverse Piney Branch Elementary, which is 33 percent low-income — to Wood Acres Elementary in Bethesda, where 1 percent of the children are low-income, 2 percent are black and 5 percent are Hispanic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/schools-dilemma-for-urban-gentrifiers-keep-their-kids-urban-or-move-to-suburbia/2012/10/14/02083b6c-131b-11e2-a16b-2c110031514a_story.html

Often, schools are segregated by both race and class. Class identification is very important in education because of class and peer support for education achievement and the value placed on education by social class groups. Moi does not condemn Mr. Petrilli for doing what is best for his family because when the rubber meets the road that is what parents are supposed to do. His family’s situation is just an example of the intersection of race and class in education.

The lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This society cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

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Center for American Progress report: Teaching force lacks diversity and student achievement threatened

5 May

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.
Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress.
“This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education–and in our society–looks like,” the report’s authors write. “A recent review of empirical studies also shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they’re taught by teachers of color.”
Using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available, researchers found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students.
California yielded the largest discrepancy of 43 percentage points, with 72 percent minority students compared with 29 percent minority teachers. Nevada and Illinois had the second and third largest gaps, of 41 and 35 percentage points, respectively.
In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/few-minority-teachers-in-_n_1089020.html?ref=email_share

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce
The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):
• In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.
• According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.
• Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff.
Additional trends reflecting the dispersion of diverse teachers include:
• The percentage of diverse teachers does not approximate the percentage of diverse students in any state with a large population of diverse residents except Hawaii. The District of Columbia is also an exception.
• The larger the percentage of diverse students, the greater the disparity with the percentage of diverse teachers.
• Proportional representation of diverse teachers is closest in large urban school districts.
• Diverse teachers tend to teach in schools that have large numbers of students from their own ethnic groups.
• Diverse teachers are about equally represented in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, statistical projections show that while the percentage of diverse students in public schools is expected to increase, the percentage of diverse teachers is not expected to rise unless the nation and states take action.
The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that
o Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.
o Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.
o Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.
Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents. http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=6240&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.

Niraj Chokshi reported in the Washington Post article, Map: The student-teacher diversity gap is huge—and widening:
Teachers and students are increasingly looking less like each other.

The divide between the share of teachers of color and the share of students of color grew by 3 percentage points over as many years, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.
Students of color make up almost half of the public school population, but teachers of color make up just 18 percent of that population nationwide. And the disparity is even larger in 36 states. It’s largest in California where 73 percent of students are nonwhite while just 29 percent of teachers are nonwhite…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/05/05/map-the-student-teacher-diversity-gap-is-huge-and-widening/

Here is the press release from the Center for American Progress:

RELEASE: U.S. Teacher Workforce Lacks Diversity, Puts Student Achievement at Risk
Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org
Washington, D.C. — While America’s public schools are becoming increasingly more diverse, a new report released by the Center for American Progress finds that nearly every state is experiencing a large and growing teacher diversity gap, or a significant difference between the number of students of color and teachers of color.
The report released today revisits a similar Center for American Progress study from 2011. When the original report was released, students of color made up more than 40 percent of the school age-population, while teachers of color were only 17 percent of the teaching force. The report released today shows that since 2011, the gap between teachers and students of color has continued to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population.
“The student population of America’s schools may look like a melting pot, but our teacher workforce looks like it wandered out of the 1950s. It’s overwhelmingly white,” said
Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of the report ”We know from research that students of color do better academically if they are taught by teachers of color. We also know that all students need role models in their schools that represent our diverse society. Parents, teachers, and policymakers should be alarmed by the findings and demand that states and districts take action to address this growing problem.
The report, “Teacher Diversity Revisited,” includes state-by-state data documenting the teacher diversity gap across the nation. An analysis of the data reveals the following key findings:
 Almost every state has a significant diversity gap. In California, 73 percent of students are kids of color, but only about 29 percent are teachers of color. Maryland has the same problem, although the numbers are a bit better: In the Old Line State, more than 55 percent of students are kids of color, while just around 17 percent are teachers of color.
 The Hispanic teacher population has larger demographic gaps relative to students. In Nevada, for instance, just 9 percent of teachers were Hispanic. In contrast, the state’s student body was 39 percent Hispanic.
 Diversity gaps are large within districts. For the first time, we examined district-level data in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. These three states account for 20 percent of all students in the United States, and it turns out that the gaps within districts are often larger than those within states.
A companion report also released today by CAP and Progress 2050 describes how the shortcomings of today’s education system and the underachievement of many of today’s students of color shrink the future supply of the teachers of color. The report, “America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color,” finds that fundamental constraints limit the potential supply of highly effective teachers of color. Students of color have significantly lower college enrollment rates than do white students. In addition, a relatively small number of students of color enroll in teacher education programs each year. Finally, teacher trainees who are members of communities of color often score lower on licensure exams that serve as passports to teaching careers.
Furthermore, the report reveals that teachers of color leave the profession at a much higher rate than their non-Hispanic white peers. Those who leave mention a perceived lack of respect for teaching as a profession, lagging salary levels, and difficult working conditions.
Despite the barriers in the educator pipeline, there is great opportunity ahead to make improvements. The report includes a set of policy recommendations for the federal government and for states and local school districts. Enlarging the pool of talented, well-educated teachers of color who are effective in improving student achievement in our schools will require aggressive and targeted recruitment and appropriate support. It will demand a steadfast determination to remove the barriers in the educator pipeline that limit and discourage strong candidates for the teaching profession. At the same time, policies must be in place to offer clear and meaningful monetary incentives, support, and professional development to ensure that the best and brightest students of color enter into teaching and succeed once in the profession.
Read the reports:
Teacher Diversity Revisited: A New State-by-State Analysis, by Ulrich Boser http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/report/2014/05/04/88962/teacher-diversity-revisited/
America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color, by Farah Z. Ahmad and Ulrich Boser http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/report/2014/05/04/88960/americas-leaky-pipeline-for-teachers-of-color/

Which brings us back to diversity in the teacher corps. The Center for American Progress report, Teacher Diversity Matters A State-by-State Analysis of Teachers of Color, which was highlighted in the Huffington Post article makes the following recommendations:

There have been some successful initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce over the years. The successful characteristics of these programs are detailed in an accompanying study released with this paper by Saba Bireda and Robin Chait titled “Increasing Teacher Diversity: Strategies to Improve the Teacher Workforce.”10
Briefly, though, those recommendations include:
• Increasing federal oversight of and increased accountability for teacher preparation programs
• Creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers
• Strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field
• Reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by creating more avenues to enter the field and increasing the number of qualified credentialing organizations
• Strengthening state-sponsored and nonprofit teacher recruitment and training organizations by increasing standards for admission, using best practices to recruit high-achieving minority students, and forming strong relationships with districts to ensure recruitment needs are met http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/11/pdf/teacher_diversity.pdf

The mantra is the system is broke and we, as a society, cannot afford the cost of implementing these recommendations. The reality is, we as a society, cannot afford the long-term cost of not implementing these recommendations.

Related:
Is there a ‘model minority’ ?? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

Urban Teacher Residencies: A Space for Hybrid Roles for Teachers http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_ahead/2011/10/urban_teacher_residencies

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Celebrate diversity: Can people of color, women, and gays be racist and/or bigots?

10 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Jamie Foxx made a joke on SNL about “killing all the white people.” Madeline Morgenstern reports at the Blaze in the post, Jamie Foxx: Hollywood Deserves Some Blame for Violence (After Joking About Killing ‘All the White People’ Last Week):

Hollywood star Jamie Foxx said the movie industry deserves some of the blame for people who go out and commit violent acts

Foxx, promoting Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “Django Unchained,” an ultra-violent Western-style vengeance film about slavery, told the Associated Press that actors can’t ignore that the violence they portray onscreen can influence people in real life.

“We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence,” Foxx said Saturday. “It does.”

Foxx’s comments came in the wake of Friday’s mass elementary school shooting, where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.

But in an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” last week, Foxx joked about how “great” it was that he got to “kill all the white people” in the new film. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/12/16/jamie-foxx-hollywood-deserves-some-blame-for-violence-after-joking-about-killing-all-the-white-people-last-week/

Now, a white person making a joke about killing all people of color and gays, not only would never eat lunch in this town again, they would probably not work again, either.

Politico reports in the article, Charlie Rangel hits Obama on diversity:

Barack Obama is facing charges that his White House lacks diversity.

“It’s embarrassing as hell. We’ve been through all of this with [2012 GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney. And we were very hard with Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things,” Rangel said on MSNBC. “And I kind of think there’s no excuse with the second term.”

The Obama administration has been criticized recently for not having enough diversity with its Cabinet appointees after The New York Times ran a photo of Obama meeting with senior advisers in the Oval Office, the vast majority of them white men. The White House responded by releasing its own photo, which showed a much more diverse crowd of Obama’s top advisers. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/charlie-rangel-hits-obama-on-diversity-86005.html

One could rest assured that had Governor Romney won the presidency, there would be mass marches outside the White House had Rep. Rangel called him out on diversity.

The Urban Dictionary defines racism:

1.

racist
A label given to a person, or group of people who hate/dislike those who belong to a different race. This typically applies to hatred based on skin-color.The KKK is a racist organization.buy racist mugs & shirtsby AYB Feb 12, 2003
2. racist
someone who thinks that people of other ethnicities are inherently inferior to one’s own.Racists can occur within any ethnicity, and no one ethnicity as a whole is racist. In fact, to say that all members of a given ethnicity are racist, or that all racists are of a given ethnicity, that is, well… racist. Talk about being no better than those you complain about…

Hell No Racist, Drag! Makes this statement at their site:

We’re sick of going to drag shows to have a good time and instead being faced with racist imagery and epithets. We’re done with racists perpetuating racial stereotypes. Donning black face and mocking minorities is never ok, and we’ve decided to use this blog to expose the racism and general oppressiveness perpetuated by drag queens who aren’t being held accountable.

We are hoping to build community with other queers who are sick of people praising, paying, and exalting those who seek to harm and alienate marginalized members of our community. http://hellnoracistdrag.tumblr.com/

So, what’s going on here? Is it situational ethics rather than looking at principles which are enduring and apply to all? The theory as to why some believe that people of color, women, and gays cannot be racists is that they are oppressed? Really, are Oprah, Hillary Clinton, or Elton John oppressed? What the theorists want to assert is that if there has been a history of wrongdoing, that wrongdoing is eternal and can never be eradicated. If one is a member of a group who has suffered oppression mere membership in the group is enough to stamp your eternal oppression card.

Moi is not suggesting that the U.S. is a “post-racial society” where race, sex or sexual orientation does not matter, it does. Still, to suggest that people of color, women, and gays cannot be bigots and racists is ludicrous. Individual members of any group can be racists and bigots and individuals from any group can collectively join to be racists and bigots.

The principle in society should be that no one gets a pass for racist and bigoted behavior and the time of stamping eternal oppression cards must end.

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SACNAS scientists argue the superiority of diversity when discussing Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345)

4 Nov

Moi attended the SACNAS 2012 National Meeting in Seattle. Among the events on her calendar was a discussion with SACNAS board members about why diversity is important and the potential impact of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345), which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Moi met with:

Lee Bitsoi, (Navajo) EdD SACNAS Secretary,      Bioethics at Harvard

SACNAS Board Members:

Luis Echegoyen, (Cuban) PhD Chemistry,           University of Texas at El Paso

Juan Meza, PhD                                               Dean of Natural Sciences,

                                                                       Professor of Applied Math,                                                                                  UC at Merced

Gabriel Montano,PhD                                        Nanotechnology/Membrane                                                                        Biochemistry                                                                        Los Alamos National Laboratory

Not only do these gentlemen do research and attend conferences in addition to teaching and other activities, they see their roles as MENTORS to those who will attempt to fill their shoes. See, Review of 2012 SACNAS National Meeting in Seattle http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/review-of-2012-sacnas-national-meeting-in-seattle/

Before discussing the SACNAS board members argument in favor of the superiority of diversity, a discussion of affirmative action is necessary.

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

The lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/ U.S. Supreme Court watchers are awaiting the decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345).

Mark Walsh reported in the Education Week article, Affirmative Action Case Up for Airing at High Court:

The future of affirmative action in education—not just for colleges but potentially for K-12 schools as well—may be on the line when the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a race-conscious admissions plan from the University of Texas next month.

That seems apparent to the scores of education groups that have lined up behind the university with friend-of-the-court briefs calling on the justices to uphold the plan and continue to recognize the need for racial diversity in the nation’s schools and classrooms.

Long identified as essential to the missions of many postsecondary institutions and school districts in the United States, diversity has emerged as central to our nation’s overarching goals associated with educational excellence,” says a joint brief by the College Board, the National School Boards Association, and several other K-12 groups and others that deal with college admissions.

In an interview, Francisco M. Negrón Jr., the general counsel of the NSBA and a co-author of the brief, emphasized the stakes in the scope of the issues posed in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (Case No. 11-345), which is set for arguments Oct. 10.

This is predominantly a higher ed. case, but our interests in K-12 diversity are not dissimilar to the interests of higher education,” he said.

Student Abigail Fisher challenged the University of Texas at Austin on admissions.

The Fisher case is one of the biggest of the court’s new term, and for now is the only education case on the docket.

It involves Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 under the university’s “holistic review” program. That program may take race into account for the quarter of places in UT-Austin’s entering freshman class not filled by the Texas law that guarantees admission to high school students who finish in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes.

Lawyers for Ms. Fisher say that but for the consideration of race, she would have been admitted. They say that the Texas program should be struck down under the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause because it fails the requirement for a narrowly tailored race-conscious program set forth in the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 5-4 decision involved the University of Michigan law school, and the majority opinion by then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor expressed a desire for all use of affirmative action in education to end within 25 years….  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/09/28/06scotus.h32.html?tkn=XUOFyffLI8gEbWxzrz2Nk2RMFlvQXv3nnePW&cmp=clp-edweek

The theory of “affirmative action” has evolved over time.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy.

The development, defense, and contestation of preferential affirmative action has proceeded along two paths. One has been legal and administrative as courts, legislatures, and executive departments of government have made and applied rules requiring affirmative action. The other has been the path of public debate, where the practice of preferential treatment has spawned a vast literature, pro and con. Often enough, the two paths have failed to make adequate contact, with the public quarrels not always very securely anchored in any existing legal basis or practice.

The ebb and flow of public controversy over affirmative action can be pictured as two spikes on a line, the first spike representing a period of passionate debate that began around 1972 and tapered off after 1980, and the second indicating a resurgence of debate in the 1990s leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision in the summer of 2003 upholding certain kinds of affirmative action. The first spike encompassed controversy about gender and racial preferences alike. This is because in the beginning affirmative action was as much about the factory, the firehouse, and the corporate suite as about the university campus. The second spike represents a quarrel about race and ethnicity. This is because the burning issue at the turn of the twentieth-first century is about college admissions.[1] In admissions to selective colleges, women need no boost; African-Americans and Hispanics do.[2] http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/affirmative-action/

Stanford provides a good analysis of the theory.

In the effort to produce diverse campuses many colleges use a “holistic” admissions policy. Scott Jaschik writes in the Inside Higher Education article, ‘Holistic’ Controversy:

The University of California at Los Angeles uses a “holistic” approach to undergraduate admissions. Each applicant is reviewed not only for test scores and grades, but for low socioeconomic status, a disadvantaged background and evidence of the ability to overcome challenges (among other qualities). Holistic admissions (used by many leading colleges and universities, some of which also consider a candidate’s race and ethnicity) is designed to evaluate each applicant as more than just a set of numbers.

Proponents of holistic admissions say that it evens the playing field for those who didn’t go to the best high schools or couldn’t afford enriching summer travel or SAT tutors. And because holistic admissions avoids automatic cutoff or admission scores for students from any group, proponents hope it can help diversify student bodies without running afoul of court rulings or attracting lawsuits. http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/31/debate-over-admissions-and-race-ucla

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class

Moi’s discussion with Drs. Bitsoi, Echegoyen, Meza, and Montano really was a discussion framed by the scientific method. Keep in mind the good doctors are all scientists. Their argument for a “holistic” approach in college admissions is the role of diversity in scientific inquiry and their argument that diversity in scientific teams produces better results. To a man, they argue that diversity and excellence are not mutually exclusive, but highly compatible. In fact, they argue, that diversity produces excellence of result. They used examples of the impact of the SACNAS method of mentoring young scientists who were selected for mentoring using a “holistic” appraisal of their qualifications. With mentoring and support these young scientists blossomed. The bottom line is that in order for this society to find the answers to problems which vex society, there must be a diverse set of skills and minds to problem-solve.

The question which this society has to answer is how to provide a good education for ALL despite their race or social class. The SACNAS scientists fully support a “holistic” approach approach to college admissions.

Related:

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??                                               https://drwilda.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

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Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative

6 Jul

Moi wrote in The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color:

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.

Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress….

In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/few-minority-teachers-in-_n_1089020.html?ref=email_share

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce

The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):

·         In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.

·         According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.

·         Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff….

The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that

o    Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.

o    Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.

o    Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.

Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents. http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=6240&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/the-teaching-profession-needs-more-males-and-teachers-of-color/

There is an argument about the state of boys of color in this society. Many say the objective observable evidence points to a crisis.

Moi supports the Boys Initiative. Here is information about the Boys Initiative:

An increasing number of our boys and young men are not achieving to their full potential. The problem affects all of our boys and young men, regardless of race or ethnicity. While the problem is far more significant and chronic among minority youth, achievement also eludes white young men.

Besides young men themselves, this trend impacts their potential life partners, our communities, and our nation. The US and the world are becoming increasingly economically competitive. For the success of our society as well as our young men it is therefore essential that we begin to address this issue in a meaningful way. 

We launched The Boys Initiative to tackle this important issue. Because young men start out as boys, the Initiative is a national campaign to shed light on both boys’ underachievement and young men’s FAILURE TO LAUNCH.

The MISSION of the Initiative is to serve as a BIG TENT, to shed light on these trends, to foster dialogue and debate about them, and to collaborate on solutions with those who are committed to the futures of our nation’s youth.

Our goal is to be an INFORMATION AND ACTION HUB. We do this by partnering and building coalitions with organizations that represent the interests of girls and women, boys and men, parents and teachers and adolescent health care providers, among a host of other individuals, organizations and professionals devoted to the wellbeing of our nation’s youth. The Boys Initiative does not endorse or advocate for any particular point of view or proposed solution.

http://www.theboysinitiative.org/

Here is an example of the information available at their site:

Welcome toThe Minority Report, a publication ofMinority Male Youth 2005, a project of 

The Boys Initiative

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Promotes Racial Healing with New Online Documentary 

blackgivesback.com, June 29, 2012

Emotion Restriction and Discrimination Increase Depression in Minority Men
Rates of depression among African-American men are significantly lower than those found in African-American women, yet the suicide rates of African-American men are higher. This disparity caused Wizdom Powell Hammond, Ph.D., of the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of North Carolina to explore possible causes. Hammond recently conducted a study that looked at how adhering to masculine norms affected rates of depression among African-American men. Hammond wanted to determine if these men were underrepresented because they avoided help-seeking. Men who hold themselves to the masculine ideal of emotional restriction may internalize their feelings, especially feelings of stress, and avoid help-seeking for mental health issues such as depression.
Good Therapy, June 15, 2012

How Minority Millennials Are Driving Politics
Last Sunday, I was one of the estimated 40,000 people who attended a “silent march” in New York City organized by the NAACP to protest the New York Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy, which disproportionately impacts black and Latino males. One young black woman marching directly in front of me was holding a sign that said, “silence is violence.” When I asked her what it meant, she said, “A lot of us have problems with the whole silent march thing. The problem is we have been silent too long.” It seemed she was not alone – there were other young blacks and Latinos who chafed at the request that they march in silence, chanting slogans like “New York cops, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.
Time, June 21, 2012

Guest Voz: Latino inmate sentenced as juvenile speaks out on Supreme Court’s life without parole for youth
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion abolishing life without parole (LWOP) sentences for the 2,500 prisoners across the U.S. who were condemned to die in prison for crimes they were convicted of as juveniles. Courts will now have discretion to impose a lesser sentence in those cases and consider age as a factor in sentencing. Juveniles can receive LWOP sentences, however, it is a discretionary sentence now, not a mandatory sentence in cases involving homicide. Prisoners all ready serving LWOP sentences for crimes they were convicted of as juveniles are now eligible for resentencing. How that process occurs will vary by state.
Latina Lista, June 25, 2012

Near-Westside Indy mentorship program provides positive male role models

They come from different family backgrounds and neighborhoods, but on Friday nights at the Rhodius Park Family Center, about 30 teenage boys meet for a common goal: learning how to become responsible young men. The teens are part of Boys II Men, a mentorship program founded in 1995 by Lars “Edward” Rascoe III, a former teacher for Pike Township Schools and a school administrator for Eastern Star Jewel Christian Academy. The group connects students in Grades 7-9 with positive male role models and promotes civic engagement, academic achievement, personal responsibility and respect for women. To date, more than 2,500 young men have participated in Boys II Men.

Indy Star, June 25, 2012

High court ruling on juvenile life sentences offers thousands of inmates a chance at freedom 

The Supreme Court ruling that banned states from imposing mandatory life sentences on juveniles offers an unexpected chance at freedom to more than 2,000 inmates who had almost no hope they would ever get out.

In more than two dozen states, lawyers can now ask for new sentences. And judges will have discretion to look beyond the crime at other factors such as a prisoner’s age at the time of the offense, the person’s background and perhaps evidence that an inmate has changed while incarcerated.

The Washington Post, June 26, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act, A Boon To Minority Health In The U.S.

In a largely unexpected turn, the U.S. Supreme Court declared nearly the entire Affordable Care Act a constitutional and fully legal shift in the American health care system. The court’s decision will be dissected today by legal scholars, health care experts, sharp-tonged commentators and ordinary Americans. But what may not be so widely discussed or understood is the sweeping effect that the court’s decision will likely have on minority health in the United States, according to health care economists and policy analysts. That broad benefit to minorities is a point the Obama administration itself has made — though somewhat infrequently — and one that’s likely to be invoked more often after the favorable ruling, as the presidential election fight intensifies.

The Huffington Post, June 28, 2012

The Unfair Criminalization of Gay and Transgender Youth

Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are significantly over-represented in the juvenile justice system-approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino. Though gay and transgender youth represent just 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, they compose 13 percent to 15 percent of those currently in the juvenile justice system. These high rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system are a result of gay and transgender youth abandonment by their families and communities, and victimization in their schools-sad realities that place this group of young people at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

Center for American Progress, June 29, 2012

Lawmakers reach out to at-risk boys, men

At 15, Erik Montreal is a recovering alcoholic.

The Coachella Valley High School junior began to drink at 13, but now celebrates sobriety after receiving help from the Riverside County Latino Commission. On Friday, he shared his story of addiction and recovery before the California State Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, which held a four-hour hearing at Bobby Duke Middle School in Coachella.

Erik was one of about 24 speakers to share personal stories that emphasized the importance of support for minority men and boys who endure deteriorating schools, poor living conditions, violence and significant social prejudice.

My Desert, June 30, 2012

Anger runs deep over Supreme Court rejection of youth sentencing laws

Verle Mangum was 17 years old and high on methamphetamine when he took a baseball bat to a mother and her 11-year-old daughter after the mother caught him having sex with the daughter in her Clifton home. His sentence for their brutal murders was mandatory life in prison without parole. Mangum is 33 now. He had little hope of ever seeing the outside of prison walls, until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week determined that his sentence, and those of 49 other prisoners in Colorado and about 2,600 across the country, is unconstitutional.

The ruling found that juveniles could not be sentenced to mandatory life in prison without parole.

Denver Post, July 01, 2012.

Juvenile justice: Courts turn focus to rehabilitation

It might seem like a simple process: commit a crime, go to court, go to jail.

But what if the offender is just a kid?

For juvenile courts, they’re continually striking a balance between punishing offenders and trying help them through counseling and mentoring programs, said Doug Schonauer, Coshocton County Probate and Juvenile Court administrator.

Schonauer has worked for the juvenile court 19 years, and during that time, he’s noticed a shift toward rehabilitation rather than punishment, he said. Various studies have shown rehabilitation works better with youth than adults, so that has become the court’s focus, Schonauer said.

Coshocton Tribune, July 01, 2012      

Young Black Males’ Writing Workshop at UIC Spawns National Curricula  

A summer writing institute for adolescent black males based at the University of Illinois at Chicago is advancing literacy around the country through two curricula based on it. Scholastic, Inc. recently launched “On the Record,” a middle-school school curriculum by Alfred Tatum, director of the UIC Reading Clinic. Last year, Scholastic published Tatum’s “ID,” a writing curriculum for high school.

Tatum based both curricula on the principles of his African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute, featured last fall in a PBS special, “Too Important to Fail,” by journalist Tavis Smiley.

Newswise, July 07, 2012

5 Latino-Inspired Books for Boys 

NBC Latino, July 04, 2012

Young people of multiple disadvantaged groups face worse health due to more discrimination
An Indiana University study found that teens and young adults who are members of multiple minority or disadvantaged groups face more discrimination than their more privileged peers and, as a result, report worse mental and physical health.
Medical Press.

Related:

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??                                 https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

UN-traditional Father’s Day message: Don’t become a father unless you can make the commitment to YOUR child https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/un-traditional-fathers-day-message-dont-become-a-father-unless-you-can-make-the-commitment-to-your-child/

Study: The plight of African-American boys in Oakland, California                                                    https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/study-the-plight-of-african-american-boys-in-oakland-california/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The teaching profession needs more males and teachers of color

13 Nov

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.

Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress.

“This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education–and in our society–looks like,” the report’s authors write. “A recent review of empirical studies also shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they’re taught by teachers of color.”

Using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available, researchers found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students.

California yielded the largest discrepancy of 43 percentage points, with 72 percent minority students compared with 29 percent minority teachers. Nevada and Illinois had the second and third largest gaps, of 41 and 35 percentage points, respectively.

In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/11/few-minority-teachers-in-_n_1089020.html?ref=email_share

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce

The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):

·         In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.

·         According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.

·         Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff.

Additional trends reflecting the dispersion of diverse teachers include:

·  The percentage of diverse teachers does not approximate the percentage of diverse students in any state with a large population of diverse residents except Hawaii. The District of Columbia is also an exception.

·  The larger the percentage of diverse students, the greater the disparity with the percentage of diverse teachers.

·  Proportional representation of diverse teachers is closest in large urban school districts.

·  Diverse teachers tend to teach in schools that have large numbers of students from their own ethnic groups.

·  Diverse teachers are about equally represented in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, statistical projections show that while the percentage of diverse students in public schools is expected to increase, the percentage of diverse teachers is not expected to rise unless the nation and states take action.

The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that

o    Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.

o    Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.

o    Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.

Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents. http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=6240&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CAT=none

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.

This portion of the comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of BlackMale Teachers Belies Their InfluenceThe reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

The purpose of this comment is not that boys and girls cannot learn from teachers of either sex. The point is too many children are being raised in single parent homes and they need good role models of both sexes to develop. That brings me back to Will Thomas and The Washington Post story. Mr. Thomas is not only a good teacher, but a positive role model for both his boy and girl students. We need more teachers like Mr. Thomas.

I have never met an illegitimate child. I have met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not.  All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

This brings me to an opinion piece in the Washington Post by Yvette Jackson of the National Urban Alliance in the Answer Sheet, a column normally written by Valerie Strauss. In How toHelp African American Males In School: Treat Them Like Gifted Students Ms. Jackson opines:

Damaging and pervasive chasms grow between teachers and students when teachers feel unprepared to meet the needs of students of color or economically disadvantaged students. Making cultural connections and strengthening teacher-student relationships are critical to making learning meaningful and relevant to students.

Finally, students must be enabled to be more active in their own education. Schools should give students opportunities to participate in teachers professional development aimed at enriching curriculum, improving teaching and expanding the range of materials students create.

Ms. Jackson is correct that having high expectations is essential along with discipline and structure. Still, what she fails to recognize is only one part of the equation, which is education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s) and school. All parts of the partnership must be committed and involved.

Which brings us back to diversity in the teacher corps. The Center for American Progress report, Teacher Diversity Matters A State-by-State Analysis of Teachers of Color, which was highlighted in the Huffington Post article makes the following recommendations:

There have been some successful initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce over the years. The successful characteristics of these programs are detailed in an accompanying study released with this paper by Saba Bireda and Robin Chait titled “Increasing Teacher Diversity: Strategies to Improve the Teacher Workforce.”10

Briefly, though, those recommendations include:

Increasing federal oversight of and increased accountability for teacher preparation programs

Creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers

Strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field

Reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by creating more avenues to enter the field and increasing the number of qualified credentialing organizations

Strengthening state-sponsored and nonprofit teacher recruitment and training organizations by increasing standards for admission, using best practices to recruit high-achieving minority students, and forming strong relationships with districts to ensure recruitment needs are met

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/11/pdf/teacher_diversity.pdf

The mantra is the country is broke and we, as a society, cannot afford the cost of implementing these recommendations. The reality is, we as a society, cannot afford the long-term cost of not implementing these recommendations.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©