Debate time! Should a specific race or gender be given special consideration?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Caesar753, Jul 9, 2014.

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  1. Mrs. Rader

    Mrs. Rader Rookie

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    This is so very true! A stereotype can be so damaging to a child's outlook on society and even what they can expect in life. We need to encourage our students to see that a stereotype is not always true.

    Perhaps, the education field does not attract a very diverse group of people? :confused: I have never given that thought much consideration... I wonder if that is true.
     
  2. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :2up: I LOVE this quote! A writer I came across this spring had an article on education in general, schools and their policies, etc.. He mentioned how administrators, policy-makers, and various people in education routinely load their written language with what he called "weasel words," like "may" and "could." (That way they could weasel out of taking a stand or, as "a2z" suggests, force someone to accept their point of view because "unless something is completely false it is accurate.")
     
  3. Mrs. Rader

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  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think some of you are looking at the opposing viewpoint the wrong way. I don't think anybody is saying it's impossible for a white female to be an effective teacher in a majority-minority classroom. People are just pointing out that it's good for students to see positive role models that... yes... look something like them. Yes, students should respect their teacher no matter what. Yes, ideally we'd live in a color-blind (and gender-blind) society. But the reality we live in is that having a "black" name makes it a lot harder to land interviews than having a "white" name, that successful people on tv tend to be overwhelmingly white (outside of the athletic and music fields, that is... which might explain why so many African-Americans tend to look at these fields as their "way out?"), that many students don't have as many positive role models at home as they ideally would, and that too many students out there don't think they can overcome poverty and end up just giving up at some point down the line.
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    On the other hand, consider what I was told by a student some years ago. For a little background, I taught in an inner city school and was the token white person in the entire school: students, faculty and staff alike.

    One day we were done a little early with my planned lesson, and I was leading a semi-humorous group discussion. We were laughing and enjoying each other's company for the last 5 minutes of class, when one of my students piped up and said "You know Ms. mmswm, you're the first white person I've ever met that actually likes me and has never looked at me like they were afraid of me." Several others in the class agreed.

    In the urban environment they lived in, they didn't have a chance to meet very many white people. The ones they did meet tended to be the slumlords that mistreated their parents, shopkeepers that eyed them like thieves every time they walked into the store, and cops that treat everybody in the ghetto like criminals from the time they're toddlers. Not everybody, of course, was like that, but enough were that it struck a chord with my students that the way I treated them was different than most of their experience has been.

    The point of this is that while yes, it is important for students to see people like themselves being successful, it's also important to see people who are different treating them with the respect they deserve. After all, how can we expect the next generation to accept diversity if we don't actually give it to them?
     
  6. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Why is it that you say it's not true? Because you don't think racism exists, or you don't think it has an effect on the balance that benefits caucasians, or for some other reason?

    And when you say not true "at all", do you also mean that my first statement regarding the intent of AA to be to rectify the effects of past institutionalized racism is also untrue?
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I was on the interview commitee for my very poor, mostly minority school. The other two teachers on the committee were a Black male and an Hispanic woman. We interviewed a white female, an African-American female, and an Hispanic male. We wanted to try to hire someone that matched the school's population if we could, but we ended up hiring the white female. The other two candidates just were not as strong. The new hire did turn out to be an awesome teacher. The male was hired by a neighboring school but he left after one semester.

    I think diversity should be taken into account, but the best candidate should be hired regardless of any other factor.
     
  8. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    If you suck as a teacher, it doesn't matter what gender and/or race you are.
     
  9. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I am SO offended that you would automatically assume that my desire to have a diverse staff would mean that I want to segregate! Wow. :dizzy:Are you always inflammatory , or did I just strike a nerve? First, I teach in a middle school on a team of 6 teachers, including SPED, with each teacher responsible for a subject. Every student has every teacher at some point throughout the day. I believe every one of my students would benefit from learning with a non-traditional candidate ( non-traditional for my school), but we've never had a minority candidate interview to my knowledge. Yes, my student population is not very diverse at this time. That is changing every year. In the past, many of our minority students were biracial or Asians adopted by Caucasian families, but we are seeing more minority families as well as ELLs from all over the globe move into our community. I spent a year of my life taking ESL courses to better reach all of my students. I work hard to establish a world citizen viewpoint while teaching SS, but I do have to fight against some very very racist attitudes coming from a few families of my students. The racists are in the minority too.
    I am over 50 and was educated in a white post-civil rights movement world. For the record, I think my family and my teachers did a great job at exposing me to a world that included lots of very different people and ideas.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Mary, I think you were the one with the nerve that was struck. I saw 2nd's question as a very valid one. If the reason to choose someone because of race or gender is the deciding factor in order to help those of the same race or gender, how can that be accomplished if the students aren't in the class with the teacher. The question is, will that one person of race or gender really make an impact by just seeing the person in the hall in passing?

    Mary, you are applying your very specific situation to a general discussion. In our schools there are multiple "teams" because the school population is so high. Hiring one person because of race or gender wouldn't do a lot because only 1/4th of a grade has a chance of having that teacher (fewer if it is an elective or world language or if the student's need's dictate that he or she will have to go to another team for a one of the core subjects). In a general discussion, your specific situation most likely won't apply.

    BTW, our schools have a trend where white females are the definite majority at the elementary level with increasing diversity as you move from MS to HS.
     
  11. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Yes, the comment struck a nerve. It's a loaded question. In my situation, 50% of my grade level would have the new teacher, and the other 50% would see that person in the hall. And yes, in my community, I think that just seeing that person around the school would still be beneficial. I'm not part of the hiring committee for anyone of our openings so I will not have a voice.
     
  12. SleekTeach

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    I'm a black male. From the day I stepped into my first education major course I was told by my professors that I already had a job. They told me to look around the room. Pretty much the majority of my classes were white females. (I went to a major university in Texas) in fact, any class with less than 80 people I was the only black person and usually the only male. My qualifications right after graduating college were no better than anyone else's, but I was bombarded with interviews even before I graduated. However, all of the schools I ever interviewed at were poor black and Hispanic schools. I still don't feel like I have a chance getting hired as a teacher at an affluent white school. Especially as a first grade teacher. I think race and gender only come into play when it's for a disadvantaged school.
     
  13. Preschool0929

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    I saw the same situation happen during college. There was 1 man in my elementary education classes and he was told by professors that he would be guaranteed a job. Sure enough, after graduation, when many of us were struggling to even get job interviews, he was getting calls from districts he hadn't even applied to, to ask him to come in for interviews. He got a job right out of school, while it took me, with a higher gpa and more experience, 2 years to get a teaching job.
     
  14. bandnerdtx

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    I would imagine that if you tried your hand at administration, you would find you were bombarded, once again, with interviews and offers, even at affluent schools. Our profession is overwhelmingly female, but our administration is overwhelmingly male. I think that's sad.
     
  15. Mrs. Rader

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    I have seen this as well. There were only two male students in my final year of major courses. Student A went into Kindergarten. Student B went into Middle School. Both received job offers before graduation. Both had very similar experience when compared to the rest of the graduating class. Honestly, Student A had a very low GPA and had a bad attitude toward our classes. He also bragged about forging some of our volunteer hours in the classroom. None of this impacted his ability to receive job offers.
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is an excellent point. My elementary school had only two male teachers (this was decades ago so it shows how much it stuck in my head), and they were 5th and 6th grade respectively, which kept them away from the younger kids. It makes me wonder if my childhood perspective of gender roles would have been different if one of the kindergarten teachers were male.

    On a side note, I think that same elementary school had more minority teachers than minority students. It probably made the move to a more racially diverse middle school less of a culture shock.
     
  17. vateacher300

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    I grew up in the rural Northeast and looking back on my school days, our staff and student body were not diverse at all. I think my classmates and I would have definitely benefitted from having a more diversity in our teaching staff. :2cents:

    Now having moved to the South, I teach a much more diverse student body. We are a majority-minority district, but only have two minority teachers (both female) on staff in our school (although both our administrators are minorities).

    This disparity has been an ongoing issue at our school board meetings amongst members of the community in the past year. Even the head of the local NAACP spoke at a meeting basically saying that white teachers can't properly teach minority students. There were serious discipline issues at our school last year and the community was rightfully concerned, but this sentiment really lowered the morale amongst our staff in already challenging times.

    I definitely agree that our school would benefit from more diversity in our teaching staff. I know our school tries to hire qualified minority candidates, but being rural with lower than average starting salaries makes it difficult. Qualified, minority applicants are in-demand here in Virginia in all divisions, and most will take higher paying jobs in the more urban/suburban divisions nearby.
     
  18. TnKinder

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    I teach in an urban school. The majority of the students are black or Hispanic, while the teacher population is more evenly split in terms of black and white. I think is make a big difference to see diversity in schools. Growing up, I had teachers of different races, but I only saw white people at school, because they didn't live in my neighborhood. My neighborhood was all black, so if I never had a white teacher I would have grow up thinking that what I saw on tv was real. (all white people are rich) But it goes both ways. If I never had those teachers that looked like me, I would have grown up thinking that what I saw on tv was real (all black people are poor or criminals). The diversity of the teachering population can make an impact on the students even if they just see someone who looks different in the halls while going to class.
    To answer the OPs original question. When hiring, the person that is best qualified should get the position.
     
  19. Barrister

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    A to Z newbie here jumping into the fray--be nice:

    I think that "being [name of race/ethnicity]" oftentimes equips a candidate with certain skills and knowledge that may help them do their job exceptionally well, depending on the situation. It's not the race/ethnicity itself that should give the applicant an "edge," but the skills and knowledge that (tend to) go along with the race/ethnicity. Therefore, race/ethnicity can be an indicator for who's the "best fit" for a position, but of course a job search should always go deeper to see if, in fact, that is the case. For example, a white teacher may in fact be better suited to teaching in an "urban" (by the way, isn't that just a euphemism for "poor and black/Hispanic"? I hate how that term is always used like that) school than a black teacher, depending on the specifics of each teacher's background, experiences, and skills/knowledge. Due to these types of exceptions, I'm hesitant to say race/ethnicity itself should be used as a tiebreaker. The skills and knowledge that often correlate with race/ethnicity, though, absolutely are OK to consider.

    Aside: If students and/or parents don't like dealing with teachers of a particular race/ethnicity, that's their problem and they need to get over it. Student/parent attitudes toward race/ethnicity should NOT be a factor in hiring decisions. We can be "progressive" without bending over backwards to accommodate bigotry.
     
  20. Ms. I

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    There should be no special consideration. It's whoever the best person is for the job.

    However, my concern is this. Let's say a certain race person is the best person. Can all the individuals on the hiring team truly & genuinely put that aside & admit that that person is the best & actually hire him/her or will they put their own personal opinions, thoughts, biases, prejudice, favoritisms into it, which we as people in society know can be hard to do.

    Often, people can swear up & down that they're not "that type of person", but inside, they are. It's like how parents may not mind if their son or daughter dates people of certain races, but to actually marry them is a whole different story.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

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    Yes, some posts have been moderated. Personal attacks are against forum rules, people. Not all posts that were moderated were offensive; some were moderated either because they wouldn't have made sense without the triggering posts or because they quoted the triggering posts.

    Forum rules don't forbid egregiously and premeditatedly bad reasoning, alas, or even fewer posts would remain.

    If you have complaints about the quality of the moderation of A to Z Forums, by all means feel free to take them up with the site owner, using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom right of this page.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Widgets...

    People aren't widgets, but this thread seems to think that race and/or gender makes that person a widget. There is a huge difference culturally between people who are black. There are huge differences between people who are Hispanic. There is a huge difference culturally between people who are white.

    Unless you are going to ask questions about childhood and cultural practices, the only thing the student will relate to is race or gender. That upper middle class Kenyan man who came here when he was a teen and now teaches in a school where the majority of black young men are generational Americans really didn't have anything in common other than color. Those young men told him so. Yes, this is one anecdotal reference just like others have had their individual reference, but the point is that people are not widgets and without vetting a person to make sure they were brought up in the same type environment, the race or gender won't necessarily impact any student positively.
     
  23. dgpiaffeteach

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    I don't ever remember having a minority teacher, not even in college. My first male teacher was in 7th grade. However, I had male coaches starting when I was four and played soccer. I didn't really have any minority classmates until high school. I don't feel like there was anything wrong with my upbringing. My parents made sure I had an education beyond the walls of my school.

    We currently have no minority teachers where I work. We have I think two minority students in grades 9-12. I really, really wish my kids were exposed to more diversity. They definitely just don't understand a lot of things. Many have never been out of their farming community. I've never even seen a minority candidate interview though.
     
  24. teach1

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    Interesting thread. In answer to the original question: yes, I think schools should take race and gender into consideration IF AND ONLY IF all of the candidates are strong and seem like good fits. I don't believe that there is always a stand out choice and if not, the hiring team is asking the wrong questions. Sometimes hiring teams are fortunate enough to have several incredible candidates. At that time, I think it's important to think "What is best for our students?" ---- and, at the end of the day, I believe having a diverse staff / faculty IS what is best for students.

    In an ideal world, I think it would be best if schools could be comprised of teachers (men and women) with many different backgrounds and skin colors. That is the best way for students to learn about acceptance and how to realize that stereotypes are, in fact, stereotypes.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with admin saying, "okay.... we have a white male and a female of cambodian descent. they are both top candidates and if only we could hire them both. oh, we have several asian teachers already so let's hire the man." OR, "all of our teachers are white, I think our students would benefit from hiring mrs. so and so"

    I also agree with the poster(s) who said that it's important for students to have role models that look like them. In my opinion that is NOT the same thing is saying black children cannot relate to white teachers, or white children cannot relate to black teachers. At the same time, it is important for children to be taught by people who are DIFFERENT from them, so they can break whatever stereotypes they have been taught.

    Sorry this is long-winded by this just seems like such a simple, logical answer to me.
     
  25. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What sorts of skills and knowledge tend to go along with which race or ethnicity?
     
  26. readingrules12

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    I am a white male teacher. I was hired into a school that was nearly all White. After several years, I left to a school that was nearly all Hispanic. Without a doubt, I know I have had far more success as a teacher with the school that is nearly all Hispanic. Is it because they are Hispanic? No, of course not. It just shows that a person isn't always going to do best around students who are the same race or ethnicity.
     
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