Black students disproportionately disciplined in nation’s schools

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ACardAttack, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

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    Feb 9, 2013

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/therootdc/black-students-disproportionately-disciplined-in-nations-schools/2012/06/12/gJQAiXWzXV_story.html

    A friend sent me this article, and it struck pretty close to me as I teach at a predominantly African American school. What really caught my eye about this article is it is written by an African American who seems to have the same issues I have as white teacher.

    I'm just curious if anyone has had experiences, either similar to or in contrast to the article. Where I'm at, I agree with pretty much everything pointed out in the article. I don't get much direct disrespect other than them trying to bring in food, iphones, hoodies, etc, or them trying to talk when I talk which sometimes leads to them trying to get in an argument/"debate" about why they should be able to break that given rule.
     
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  3. Ms.SLS

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    I am not an African American (so correct me if I'm wrong) but I've spent a lot of time reading and studying this particular subject. In short, I would say that American schools value sitting quietly and following the rules without question. On the flip side, African American culture values oral participation and speaking your mind. The article said, "The bottom line is that school systems are not intrinsically biased against black kids. There are some sobering, underlying questions that must be answered by the black community regarding the overall behavior and comportment of our school-aged youth" But I sort of feel that the system IS a little biased. It's set up to cater to a specific type of student from a specific type of background, and doesn't have much leniency for those who do not fit in to that ideal.

    With A.A. youth, I've seen the idea of following the American Education socially acceptable construct (ie. quiet, "good student") as "acting white." As sort of "giving in to the man" if you will. This *could* stem from a lack of leadership from people of color - lets face it: in schools, many (not all) leadership roles are filled with white folks. If teenagers, who by nature are rebellious, see acting out as maintaining their culture (not saying this is true, just saying this is what a lot of kids think), then it's really sort of a horrible cycle.

    When I worked in a school with a high African American population, I found that the kids didn't disrespect me as long as I was respectful to them. That's a very simplified explanation, but it's more or less the jist of it.
     
  4. Mrs. H2O

    Mrs. H2O Rookie

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    I disagree with this.

    Our schools aren't biased against noisy, rambunctious kids -- we're trying to train them on how to behave in society as a whole. As I've told my kids, being noisy, running around, and using improper grammar is perfectly fine at home, or outside, or at friend's houses.

    But when you leave school and want a good-paying job with responsibility and leadership, you're going to have to comport yourself in a more formal manner. That means you'll need to sit still, listen to and respect your bosses, and use proper grammar.

    Childhood is the time during which children learn proper behavior and speech; we'd be doing them a disservice if we didn't work hard to teach them the behaviors that will enable them to be successful in the board room, in the office, and on a resume.
     
  5. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    We were told last year to stop writing up African American Males for misbehavior. We were told that we were writing them up too much and we were on a "watch list." We had one person who got extremely upset about this: An African American male teacher. He ripped the lady a new one. He had better points than she did. Her face turned the color of a beet! Classic!
     
  6. comaba

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    :thumb:

    I agree with Ms. SLS, but want to point out that African American culture is as varied as white culture. I work in a low SES middle school with a predominantly African American population. Some of the students fit the stereotype that the author describes, but many, many more are just like my own kids, and their parents are just like me.

    I think the author of that article has done a huge disservice to the African American population as a whole. Obviously, there are problems. I've had 'problem' students. The solution for me wasn't to discipline them until they fit the mold I expected, but to continuously model the respect and behavior that I expected. In many ways, I think it's a matter of trust.
     
  7. comaba

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    That's a classic example of admin attacking a problem with a directive that doesn't solve the problem, rather than trying to find ways to change the behavior.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Feb 9, 2013

    I'm in a school that is something like 99.98% white. Our "too many referrals" group is white, low-income boys who are performing below grade level. If you pulled our data, it would look like we target them.

    Our 0.02 are made up of mixed race, generally black/white or white/Hispanic. That's it.

    One year we had adopted brothers in the same grade. They were the only two non-white children in our building. One was a terror, with disrespect, violence, and lack or work ethic. He was in the office a whole lot. The other was personable and a hard worker. Mom came in during 8th grade year saying that we picked on son 1 because he was black. Principal pointed out that her other son was also black, and he hadn't been to the office in almost 3 years in our building. The others with similar discipline records to son 1 were white.
     
  9. Ms.SLS

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    I think the common term for this is becoming bicultural - we don't really think about it for the African American community, but really, that's what it is. Dominant American society, as you pointed out, has certain values that will allow you to enter college, get a job, be respected, etc. The kids that learn, and use, these values are successful. The kids who don't, aren't.

    We all behave differently around close friends/family than we would in the work place - the degree of that difference depends on what your background is. Learning to navigate those different social realms based on cultural expectations IS an important skill - I just think that a lot of the time, the education system inadvertently sends the message that one cultural system is the RIGHT one, rather than a DIFFERENT one that you need to learn to navigate appropriately.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 9, 2013

    The same phenomenon is true in our legal and justice systems.

    The bottom line is that our country is still pretty racist. And sexist. And classist.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    I agree with that. At the 2 lock ups I've seen the same student demographics for the past 2 years (almost 2 years), even though the turn over is extremely high:
    African American: about 10-15 %
    Latino: about 70-80 %
    White: about 10-15%

    I think the judges are much more lenient towards white kids, and instead of locking them up for the same crime, they order community service, home supervision.
    They look at a Latino gang member / committing a crime, home sup. or community service is out, they get 6-12 months.
    African Americans, well I think a lot of them get a longer sentence (I don't work at that lock up, so I don't see them), and I think that's where they are.

    Interestingly at the court ordered drug / rehab school the population is mostly white, with very few Latino's and AA. Most of these kids haven't committed crimes, but a lot of them still did. I've heard plenty of stories where the kid told me he got busted with his buddy, they sent the other one to the lock up, and him to this school. At this school they have much more privileges and benefits.

    I'm sure there's more to the story, and every case is different, but the student demographics say a lot.
     
  12. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Feb 10, 2013

    AMEN!!! If this data has been proven in regards to every facet of the legal system (like the drug sentences/Fair Sentencing Act, death penalty stats)...driving while black, etc...there's no doubt racial profiling and discrimination exists in schools as well.
     
  13. JustMe

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    Sadly I understand much of the article to be accurate. I don't think black students are targeted...I think many make themselves impossible to ignore. :(

    This is not to say I agree with the entire article (such as the point about seeing a black student and knowing there would be issues) and it's certainly not implying all black students present behavior issues and that all behavior issues come from black students. But if there are very high numbers regarding black students and discipline, maybe there is a reason other than discrimination. Actually, not maybe...for sure there is.
     
  14. Croissant

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    Feb 10, 2013

    :thumb:
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

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    Feb 14, 2013

    I've thought long and hard about what the author states. I find most of it very accurate (I can speak from my own past experiences). I found myself nodding my head as I was reading each paragraph...
     
  16. AnthonyA

    AnthonyA Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2013

    Let's be REALISTIC

    The posts I'm reading are hilarious, yet not surprising. Are all of you that brain-washed? Let's be realistic here. Whether we are talking school behavior or street crime, blacks simply commit more offenses. Period. Too many people worried about being labeled "racist". The numbers don't lie and they're not biased. Only a liberal would think otherwise. What troubles me most are people who are claiming biased numbers, etc, yet they choose NOT to live in a black neighborhood, for example. Or send their own kids to predominantly black schools. Wow, can you say HYPOCRITE! My question is, do you really believe what you type or are you trying to be politically correct? Is the answer is the former, then you are simply brain-washed, most likely from the ultra liberal college professors who like to dish out "White guilt". Wake up people. Oh, and if you believe what you say, at least don't be a hypocrite. Move into that black neighborhood and send your kids to black schools. Yup, didn't think so. I'll tell you one thing, at least I have the b*lls to see reality and not to give into being politically correct. Geez, what a world this had become. Pathetic.
     
  17. Ms.SLS

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    Feb 14, 2013

    I live in a black/hispanic neighborhood, thanks. I don't have kids, but if I did, they would be going to my local school.

    I would say more, but there's no point in arguing with an immature, internet troll.
     
  18. AnthonyA

    AnthonyA Rookie

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    Troll or REALIST? Typical. You don't agree, so call names. By the way, we're not talking about Hispanics. They (Hispanics) also have a much lower suspension rate than blacks, but of course that's not what is focused on in the article. They only like using Whites to compare. Funny, Asians have an even lower suspension rate than Whites, but they're not mentioned or being compared to. It's okay, keep your heads in the sand.
    By the way, the rates are consistent across every single city in the US. I guess every single city and their schools are biased. Yeah, that MUST be it. What else, right?
     
  19. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Feb 14, 2013

     
  20. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    My best friend is black. He says there are few male father figures in most households in his neighborhood. How about we quit blaming teachers on the problems of the world and start talking openly and honestly. That's how problems begin to be solved. I'm sick of political correctness.
     
  21. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Feb 14, 2013

    Exactly. I work in a school that is 99% African American. I have had the same experience as you.

    Children can sense adult attitudes, even if they are not overtly stated. When children feel supported and cared for, they respond in kind.

    This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
     

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