In our concluding part of The Adverse Consequences of Race Based Education Part III we want to offer some realistic recommendations. It all starts with the School Board, then the Administrators then the Teachers and holds families in each community accountable.
By way of review, I acknowledge there are some tangible benefits for students wanting to come to school see someone who looks like them and there may be some tangible benefits for students to do better. But that is only based on the SKILL of the teacher of color, NOT just the color of their skin. When you have to choose between color and skill always take skill over color. Everyone benefits. Color does not dictate skill for any race!
NEVER COMPLAIN UNLESS YOU HAVE A SOLUTION! BE THE SOLUTION!
1) School Board members should remove all race based thinking. You are holding yourselves and your districts to a lower standard when you start down that slippery slope. Color has nothing to do with learning or teaching any more than a disability determines a person’s heart or drive to overcome the effects of their disability. Knowledge and intelligence are not of themselves dependent upon ones color. Desire to learn and effort are not determined by color or culture. Self-respect, respect of others, desire to learn, listening, doing homework, reading the assigned material are not exclusive to any ONE group of people regardless of race, culture, gender, etc. However, they can become excuses for lack of effort and hatred. Color can become an excuse for those who harbor resentment toward others who do not look like them, talk like them or think like them.
No school district or any teacher is responsible for what is said or done in a student’s home. Looking back on my upbringing my mother read stories to my sister and me every day. We had magazines and maps before there were computers. We actually had to memorize our information and use our memories to do math equations, spell words, learn general subject matters, etc. We actually had to go to the library to look up our information in books!
Now the latest nonsense I have heard is that “the teacher is not of my faith“. What a crock! That is total nonsense! We should be asking them what faith is that? Maybe it’s their faith that is failing them! Since when does a person’s faith teach rudeness, disrespect, faking time sheets, swearing, disrespecting their teachers or their fellow students. Since when does ones faith encourage racism and discrimination and prejudice? Where’s my barf bag?! Stop making excuses for lack of effort and incompetence.
I personally grew up in the Central neighborhood back in the day and attended Warrington elementary. I only had two teachers of color, Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Smith. I was bused to Bancroft in the 5th and 6th grades and did not have ONE teacher of color. I got accepted to Blake along with others in my community, but our parents could not pay the tuition. Some went on to Marshall and others attended Bryant Junior High School and Central High School. I moved over 700 miles SE of MN and my Junior High school had a black principal, and a math and science teacher! My high school had less than five teachers of color. It did not prevent me from doing my homework or treating people with dignity and respect. Granted my graduating class had about 90 plus people and my cousins were chief of police the mayor. It certainly helped my self-esteem!
I had NO teacher of color in College but managed to graduate with over a 3.0 GPA and was nominated Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. The color of my teachers who nominated me was white! Tell me again, how does color impact my education?
Our parents taught us to say please and thank you and to respect our elders regardless of color. We were taught to open doors for people, let the ladies go first. Manners are NEVER out of style or outdated! Manners are not exclusive to any race and they used to be highly valued in the African American communities. I would like to think that they still are in some families. Unfortunately, it’s the negative behavior of the few that gets the negative press and certain individuals choose to take that to create their own agendas. School Administrators and Board members need to wake up and use some common sense.
Here are my recommendations for bad school districts.
i) Set a Minimum Behavioral Standard for all levels of class and for all schools within the district. K-3 Students should know how to share, say please and thank you and generally display good manners and follow oral directions. Who is responsible for teaching them? The parents!
ii) Parents should be given a MINIMAL ACCEPTANCE BEHAVIOR FORM to sign at the beginning of each year for all students. That form should state what behaviors are expected, and the consequences for not following them. The student and the parents should sign the form and it should be put in the students file. A school form should be highlighted in every classroom to be seen daily by all students.
iii) Only students who meet the minimum standards should be allowed in REGULAR CLASSROOMS. Students who do NOT measure up to the standards should be placed in a totally different building if not within the district then somewhere else.
2) School Boards and School Administrators and especially parents need to understand that public schools are NOT therapy centers, nor should they be. Teachers do NOT have a therapy degree! They have Math, English, Science, and other degrees, etc. If a student has behavior issues those behaviors should be documented and given to the parent with a list of community service providers who deal with those issues. The parent is responsible for contacting those programs. Since they raised their children to be that way shouldn’t they at least be responsible enough to complete the application process. For parents who say they are working or too busy……news flash…their child! Your time or job is no more important than anyone else. Stop dumping parental duties on teachers.
Once the parent contacts the provider, the family will work with that provider until their student is released from services and determined to be “fit” to enter a “NORMAL” classroom. The community service provider is only given a prorated fee based upon the individual student’s allotment similar to county services when multiple agencies are involved.
If a parent or student needs help with getting things done then the school should have community contracts with multiple service providers that can walk the parent and students through the process. But ultimately the parent is still the primary contact and individual who needs to complete the paper work. At some point parents are going to wake up and make their sons and daughter smell the proverbial roses and read them the riot act with real consequences.
There are multiple options out there, but I like Progressive Individual Resources or 3VLLC that help with mental health, Vocational Rehabilitation and Character issues. 3VLLC has a number of articles that can help any student or staff improve their performance. School Districts need to institute and ENFORCE a minimum requirement of behavior before a student can be accepted into YOUR district. That minimum standard of conduct and behavior to attend public schools is what should be expected across the country. A national standard should be written by congress. There should also be a minimum standard of behavior to obtain employment that is directly related to school standards. Failure to meet those minimum standards would prevent a person from getting employed until they have demonstrated they have control of their conduct and language. Swearing and rudeness should be outlawed in public schools. It should be a misdemeanor and escalate to a more serious offense if the student becomes aggressive and lacks self-control.
Change the expectation of what is required to enter YOUR district and watch parents start getting their kids butts in gear. Hold the parents accountable for the behavior of their student. States need to pass a bill that says if their students are involved in any physical or verbal conduct that causes damage to another person the parents will be charged for ALL EXPENSES, including cost of medical bills, lost wages, police and security expenses, etc., etc., etc. They will also be MANDATED to have to take their student to a mental health specialist for anger management and aggressive behavior and make restitution on “any” damaged property be it school property or any staff property, such as a car or home. You want to see behavior change?…………….POW, Whop, Zowie!!!….Oh, I thought I was watching a Batman rerun, I regress.
Think back….50 plus years when we were getting ready for preschool, what was the first thing they would ask our parents? Is your son or daughter ready to enter school? Do they know how to GET ALONG WITH OTHERS? Remember that? Now work with me here, if they expect that in preschool, shouldn’t we expect that in the remaining grades? Am I asking too much here?
Then they would put us in a group and see if we knew how to share or how we treated others in our group, how we spoke, did we have vision problems, etc. They may have even given us some Mickey Mouse test with blocks back in the day! No doubt many of those things have been changed over the years, but manners are never out of style. Shouldn’t we have expectations about a student’s ability to have self-control, to respect the rights of others BEFORE they enter school, especially high school? That is equivalent to an adult sitting in a restaurant and being bottle fed by his mother. Sounds bizarre but isn’t it just as ridiculous to think that someone in high-school does not know how to treat others with respect and kindness.
SKILL HAS NO COLOR!
3) Find me one job in the (DOT) Dictionary of Occupational Titles that says you must be a certain color before you can do this job? It does not exist! Why? Because skill has NO color! Hire administrators based upon their “people skills”, not the color of their skin.
Check to see, do they communicate with everyone in a timely way?
Do they communicate with, all staff, especially the white staff who are looking to their administrators to enforce the rules and make the school safe for everyone.
Do they take responsibility for everything that takes place in their districts and buildings or do they have their own agenda?
Do not hire any administrator or teacher who is unwilling to attend a meeting and speak with a parent face to face about their child’s progress and behavior in the classroom. If they cannot look the parent in the eye and talk about the students behaviors they are not qualified for the job period! If they cannot perform the job description as written they do not qualify. Obviously, if they are disabled and have a disability that needs some type of accommodation that is totally understandable. Just as important do not let administrators hire their friends or cronies just because they are of the same race. That only makes the problem worse!
REMOVE INCOMPETENCE GIVE AT WILL EMPLOYMENT
Do not keep any teacher if they cannot do their assigned work. Give all NEW teachers an AT WILL CONTRACT! Give your best teachers bonuses. If a teacher is being REQUESTED BY STUDENTS and PARENTS, there is NO BETTER RECOMMENDATION! Case in point, if a black student is requesting a white teacher that supports everything I just said in this series. Color does not determine the quality of education.
Hold everyone accountable for their work and do not give favoritism to teachers of color if their attitude and skills are sub-par. Case in point, I was working for a county agency when a female of color saw a picture of my wife on my desk. She had the nerve to tell me she found it offensive. My response was DON’T LOOK AT IT! She was nuts! She was hateful, prejudiced and obviously racist and working a highly emotionally sensitive position with caring for the welfare of at-risk youth. The point is there are many people who bring their personal biases to work and expect people to bow to their wishes simply by being rude, loud and disrespectful. News flash, your misery comes from your own misconceptions!
NO DOUBLE STANDARDS
When you have double standards that does not make for a good working environment. Good teachers are leaving and incompetent teachers are being hired because of double standards. The really good teachers see it and the ones who really care about their jobs see it and they are asking themselves what’s going on? Why was this administration brought in here? Each district should have a basic expectation on behavior for everyone before accepting new hires or new students into the district. Stand up for your teachers and create an environment where they can do their jobs without being bombarded with “unnecessary” behavior issues. Make it clear you will NOT tolerate nor allow any teacher or staff to be verbally abused or physically attacked by anyone, be it another staff or student! PERIOD! Advise your staff stop using race for every failure a student of color experiences. Let their work speak for itself not the color of their skin or their culture or their college. Dismiss students from the DISTRICT until they meet specific requirements. Be sure to explain to the parents it is their responsibility to pay for the services required NOT the districts. Get a backbone, TAKE your schools back. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CLASSROOMS and HALLWAYS and CAFETERIAS. Make your schools safe for EVERYONE! If you need a spine I will personally pay for the 2 x 12 board so you can strap it to your backbone. “Come on man” get a grip, broski!
ENFORCE BEHAVIOR POLICIES
Put in place a policy that ANY STUDENT or TEACHER who verbally abuses or physically attacks another teacher or student will not be allowed to return until they receive anger management classes. (NO EXCEPTIONS) They need to bring the report to the admin office. It becomes part of that student and teachers file. Students should also be required to make an apology to that teacher or staff person in the presence of administrators with their parents and apologize to their classmates for disrupting their learning environment. The cost for their anger management sessions or any supportive service during their leave is PAID BY THE FAMILIES, NOT THE DISTRICT. No exceptions. This needs to be clearly stated in your policy. Parents need to understand that BEFORE ENROLLING their students into the district. There will always be someone who claims a hardship case. Simply, direct them to the GO FUNDME page. It is not the schools problem. When you hit parents in the pocket book, watch what happens to their students conduct!
IF A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, IMAGINE THE AUDIO!
4) Record all HALLWAY NOISE – let parents HEAR what their student’s sound like in the hallways. If parents heard the filth coming from the mouths of “their” students would they be appalled? That is an interesting question. Let parents SEE what they students are doing with each other; groping one another in the hallways like wild animals in heat! Keep it real! You know what I am talking about! Remember I was a school counselor for three schools. I worked with over 3700 students, adults and professional athletes since 1977. I speak from experience not bias! Any teacher should be able to tell any student, please sit down, put your phone away, please do not use foul or disrespectful language, etc.
Think about this, that ONE student or GROUP of students are NOT the only ones in the classroom. So it is the schools and the teachers duty to remove any disruptions so that a peaceful educational environment can exist for the students who want to learn. Isn’t that what parents sent their kids to school for in the first place? If not, there are adult day programs their kids can attend through a county waiver program.
TAKE THE SCHOOL CHALLENGE
I challenge all school districts to COMPARE YOUR SCHOOL to other schools in your respective states and in the US to schools where students actually walk peacefully to their classrooms and treat people with dignity and respect. Show those good schools to YOUR student body. Also, look at other ORGANIZATIONS to see how they function. Ask some Fortune 500 companies to provide your school with a video on corporate culture. Have them allow their employees speak on the video about corporate work ethics and requirements for employment. You want to learn how to exhibit proper behavior for public environments simply look at how they do business. Let students see what other schools and organizations are like through those videos. Let parents see what those schools and organizations do and how they behave. Then compare the blatant reality of your own student’s language and behavior to how people should behave.
Temptations 1971 excerpt from Smiling Faces.
“The truth is in the eye ’cause the eyes don’t lie, amen.
Remember, a smile is just a frown turned upside down my friend.
So, hear me when I’m saying”
On the positive side I would also like to see schools spotlight students who are excelling by attending class, doing their homework, respecting their teachers, and classmates. Video tape them, make them part of the school culture you want to become.
AVOID THE CULTURE COP-OUT
It is simply sickening to use the excuse, well that is “their culture”, that is what they do or say in “their culture”. I beg to differ. That is what they do in their families. By saying “their culture”, they are stereotyping themselves and putting all people of that culture in the same group. Hmm, that is backwards is it not? Never speak for me, thank you very much! That is simply ignorant and unfounded. Did they take a census and ask everyone in that culture how they behave, what words they use and how they dress? Can you say moron! I thought you could boys and girls!
5) Keep every NEW teacher under a two-year period of observation with an AT-WILL hiring agreement. During that two years help them make any necessary corrections in their deficiencies. At the end of that two years review their situation and if they need to be released, then respectfully release them and wish them well on their next endeavor. Stop enabling incompetence by keeping people on board simply because of color, gender, age, etc. The only people who suffer are the students and competent staff who are stuck doing the work of the incompetent hired person. Color does NOT determine competence of the staff. There is no direct correlation to color of the teacher and grades or behavior. There is a correlation between manners, respect and discipline and expectation within the home and a student’s grades. When parents are involved in the educational process at ALL levels, the student excels in their work.
TEACH THE SUBJECT MATTER
6) Stop talking about color of the students and culture and start talking about the subject matter of the classes. If you want a “cultural” education, then find a cultural school or create your own. Public schools are public for the benefit of the entire community, not just one group of people. The conversations should be how can we help students learn the subject matter? Color and Culture do not determine, kindness, self-respect, respecting the rights of others, self-control, mildness, joy, peace, patience, etc. Those qualities are learned at home and in the inner circles which we grow up and the friends we choose. If you lack those basic human skill sets, what does that say about YOU as a person, or your family? Stop blaming the school and the teachers for a parent’s failure in child rearing. Send parents a list of community programs that can help them with their behavior challenged student. Put a link on your websites that parents can access with phone numbers and addresses.
COLOR DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO COMPETENCE
7) Color of the teacher or administrator does not make them competent or qualified to do anything. Where that nonsense comes from is beyond me and I am a person of color! So for all of the haters you can shut that nonsense up! You cannot hide intelligence and I got that from a black PH’D Psychologist who has TWO PHD’s. I would add you cannot hide manners or a good personality! A students behavior and language are a direct reflection on their family upbringing not on their public school education.
As I have often written in my previous articles, character is your number one transferable skill not your color nor your degree, nor the name of your college! I would hire a felon who admits their mistake over a self-righteous pompous nobody who thinks their crap don’t stink simply because they went to some historical school or grew up in some historical town or who came from a specific cultural background. SKILL trumps color every time! This is America and this is my opinion: If you can’t get along with EVERYONE, do YOUR work and quit making excuses for why it did not get done, then please do not work in a school. Our students deserve better.
8) Stop allowing teachers “regardless of color” to dump their work on others simply because they either can’t do the work or they don’t want to do the work. In a Special Ed environment that really creates problems for the staff and they are not compensated for doing the work of their incompetent co-workers. Special Ed teachers do at least 60-70 hours of work vs. a regular school teacher and they are not compensated for the extra time they do their IEP’s at home or communicate with other staff at home in order to complete their IEP’s on time. They are held to higher standard then regular teachers due to the legality of the IEP document.
TAKE A STAND FOR ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF
9) Hold all staff accountable for how they communicate with each other.
When you smell a conspiracy to get rid of a good teacher by incompetent teachers or administrators then drain the swamp and get rid of the incompetent teachers and the administrator who allowed it.
10) If you demand higher standards in conduct by all students and staff “regardless of color” you will get it. When heads start rolling and students get dismissed and the administrators are on the same page enforcing policy and directing people via the loud speaker, to let them know the expectations every day, you will finally start seeing real changes in the educational environment in all of your buildings. One of my supervisors once said, I am here to be your supervisor NOT your friend.
Even though we played on the same community football teams and won a city championship and hung out and at lunch he was always the supervisor. Administrators should keep that in mind when they hire people. Because if you have to let them go there will be no hard feelings.
What will be the end results? Students will get a better education and the standardized test scores for you district will rise and more students will graduate with a “real diploma”. Isn’t that what most we all want to see?
I trust you found this subject matter invigorating and thought provoking.
Hopefully, it will provide you with a different perspective of education and ultimately I hope it brings about the needed changes within all public school environments.
Remember, be the Best you possible every day and you will live with no regrets!