Black educators discuss inequalities in the school system
Sean Smith, another black teacher at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School, said students in many urban school districts like his, where students of color tend to make up the majority, face unique challenges.
And there is research to prove it.
According to a 2019 Economic Policy Institute report, black and low-income children are more likely to have adverse childhood experiences that lead to “disturbed physiological functioning” and “depressed academic achievement.”
Smith, 26, said negative childhood experiences can cause students to fight or have communication problems as a means of “survival”.
“It’s high-impact work, and it’s very difficult at the same time,” Smith said. “Because we don’t come home with a lot of our kids…you don’t know what happens when they come home.”
Some educators believe New Jersey’s achievement standards overlook external factors that can hinder a student’s willingness to learn, Morgan said. He claimed that cultural biases and systemic inequalities in the school system impact performance.
He pointed to discriminatory policies and practices that historically targeted communities of color, resulting in widespread poverty.
“The educational debt that we incur because of lack of funding, because of lack of resources, because of when you tie funding to property taxes, and then you historically marginalize an entire community through ‘white theft’ and so many ‘other things that leave you vulnerable,’ Morgan said.
“A lot of the biases that people carry with them affect how you present yourself as an educator. And so when I’m in class, my expectations of students remain high, even though I know what’s going on against them,” Morgan added.
Morgan founded Liberation Lab, an education consulting firm that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
But the research also suggests that having a black educator in their formative years can be critical for student development, as black teachers tend to have “higher expectations for black students,” according to the Week. education.
Education Week found that “black students, especially black boys from low-income communities, are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college when they are new to school. only have one black elementary school teacher. And that black students are “less likely to receive detentions, suspensions, or expulsions from black teachers.”