The achievement gap: Trade basketballs for books

Etienne LeGrand, president of the W.E.B. Du Bois Society in Atlanta, has an interesting AJC guest column today in which she discusses the stubborn academic achievement gap between black and white students.

She notes significant gaps between blacks and whites in NAEP math and reading test scores, high school completion rates, college enrollment and college completion rates. She says the answer goes beyond the classroom to a potent “sub-culture” within the black community that is not interested in school.

It is time, she says, to recognize “the reality that African-American children are growing up in a peer culture and community network that celebrates achievements in sports and entertainment more than academic achievement.”

“Consider the time and energy many parents invest in their sons’ and daughters’ athletic careers, yet they may not take 60 minutes to review their child’s academic standing or assist with homework…Parents must choose after-school activities that promote, stimulate and motivate a love of learning. If that’s not possible, they might consider picking up a book and reading to their child or turning off the television set and talking to one another. ”

I have to add here that many young kids – white, black and polka dot – will say that they want to be basketball or soccer stars or models or rock stars when they grow up. I am not sure that the celebration of sports is a problem as long as there is also acclamation for academics. There are many disciplined scholar-athletes.

What do you think?

59 comments Add your comment

Lee

September 18th, 2009
5:50 am

You can’t have a discussion about the black/white academic achievement gap without a discussion of IQ. The politically correct pathogens that promote the “everybody’s equal and there are no IQ differences between the races” are the modern version of Flat Earthers.

No matter what metric you use (SAT, ACT, CRCT, IQ test, etc, etc), the results will follow a predictable pattern – Asian, White, Hispanic, Black.

Perturbed

September 18th, 2009
5:53 am

Ms. Grand has an excellent point. From my inner-city teaching experience, it was clear why the President spoke during the school day: the kids who needed to hear it most did not have parents at home who would encourage them to watch the speech. And you’re right, it’s not just a black issue, but if you look at the kids in the libraries on Saturdays in study groups, her opinion is reinforced.

There are some great movements that have begun, such as 100 Black Men, and the “Rookie Team of the Year” in FIRST Robotics that was an all-black team from Atlanta. Spark the interest of any kid and you can help them achieve many things.

Autoteacherman

September 18th, 2009
7:01 am

This is an interesting test that we use to determine successful outcomes for entering ninth graders.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/08/02/the_truth_about_grit/

And this is an intesrting perspective of teaching

http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2009/06/white-teacher-speaks-out-what-is-it.html

BTW I teach in an inner city school and have many AA students that are wonderful learners, successful graduates and are in great careers because of my classes.
One of my students told me the sagging pants and other “Thug” habits were not an AA thing they were a Black thing because of culture that is promoted by a segment of society that appears to offer the ggod life via hip hop, drugs, sex and blame the white race for all failure.

Hope this helps

alice

September 18th, 2009
7:30 am

I also think economics and single parenthood (especially when there is no father around ever) play a role.

I teach in a school that has many apartment complexes. We almost never have a white child move in or move out during the school year, but black children change schools more often. (They are mostly renters, most whites are homeowners.) We studied the data and found that while 94 percent of our white students enrolled before the October FTE date, only 72 percent of the black students did.

V for Vendetta

September 18th, 2009
8:10 am

Maureen,

Your inexperience relative to those in the classroom is showing. Ms. Grand makes an exceptionally good point, one that people have been choosing to evade for far too long. There IS a different mentality inherent in black culture in regards to achievement. Success in academics is not held in very high esteem, but success on a field is–so much so, in fact, that it comes at the expense of a child’s academic achievement. I have long railed against those who bemoan the athletic culture in our high schools; their arguments are typically petty and grounded in ad hominem attacks. However, there is a marked difference between the perceptions of whites and blacks when it comes to athletics in high school. Whites see it as an extracurricular; blacks see it as more of a necessity.

My daughter is very young, but she has already told me that she wants to be a teacher, a doctor, and a soccer player. She has been read to since she was born because research proves early childhood reading to be one of the most influential factors in later academic performance–a fact that is no secret.

The means to make a change are out there, but Ms. Grand is right: They must first desire to make a change before anything can happen.

Reality 2

September 18th, 2009
8:14 am

It’s ignorant and racist people like Lee that drives African American kids to seek refuges in sports. Whether or not you become professional athletes, black children seem to receive equal treatment and equal acceptance in the playing fields (and the military is another place where they are treated equally and fairly).

Well, DUH...

September 18th, 2009
8:56 am

Bill Cosby preached this about 20 years ago, but now a black FEMALE says it and it is news? Mr. Cosby was considered an “Uncle Tom” when he said it, despite the fact that he has a real PhD after his name (not just honorary – though he has received several of those, too). Way to jump on the “race bias” bandwagon, Ms. Downey! (ANd just what happened to my original post – it was here, and now it is gone!)

oldtimer

September 18th, 2009
9:02 am

Asian children of aall cultures tend to be higher achievers…it is expected. School work is first. I loved having these high achievers in my classes……but, keep in mind they are no smarter. They work, work, work!!

OvenBaked

September 18th, 2009
9:03 am

I would hope that this person is not making a generalization about African Americans. This issue is not isolated to people labeled as African American. I can only speak of my experiences. I was called nerd by Black and White students throughout school. There was not a cultural difference that I could witness. Contributing factors extend beyond culture. Media is a powerful influence on our current generation. Most of the African American characters on multimedia platforms are clowns, comedians, buffoons, athletes, drug dealers, rappers, thugs. Mainstream Anglo characters in multimedia platforms are presented as kind, intelligent, successful, corporate executives, heroes, and problem solvers. Black girls in 2009 still choose the Anglo dolls as being more pretty and smart than them. This mentality gets reflected in homes and manifests itself in daily life which would include academics. Teachers will in effect bring their biases into the classroom and treat minorities as incompetent leaving them having to prove their competence. Many teachers especially in Georgia are suburban upper middle class Anglo women who often don’t have children of their own. They never learn how to manage behavior and cast out those who they feel presents a behavioral problem (usually Latino and African American children) Sports then becomes an outlet especially with inner city youth because that is what they come to know and are treated special when doing it. This has to be corrected, but I fear revenue streams will be affected which take precedent over academics. Sad, Sad, Sad.

Been There. . . Done, well. . . just done!

September 18th, 2009
9:35 am

Having taught in a school where most of the students are African-American & Hispanic, one trend I noticed held true with both groups: the boys would not give off the vibe of wanting to do well in school (or routinely having good grades), lest they be accused of being nerds and – this is one I’d heard on several occasions – of “acting White”. I can recall on one specific instance an African-American boy making the honor roll in a “blended family”. While his parents were divorced, his mother was remarried, worked as a nurse in a WellStar-run hospital, and was expected by both of his folks to give his best effort in school EVERY day. Thus, family expectations, BOTH parents’ desires for their child, and a habit for giving one’s best at school had been developed at home for years. This boy was NOT an outcast in any way – his folks simply made performing well in school a mandate, and set it up in such a way where this young man knew what was expected of him and performed accordingly – withOUT any apparent adjustment issues. When I checked with a teacher in the following grade level, this boy was STILL performing well! There are definite ways to instill this value, but it starts early, and with BOTH parents “on board”.

DeKalb Conservative

September 18th, 2009
9:59 am

@ Lee – The IQ issue is a valid one, but not in this context. This is more about effort and behavior and not about talent.

@ Alice – Good point on the % of students that live in apartment complexes. That’s an excellent sociological variable to consider based around classism.

@ Reality 2 – Lee’s comment isn’t racist, because it has scientifically proven, though his comment isn’t very relevant to this discusion. Since you brought up the racial equality issue in sports, you would have to conceed that non-athletic blacks, especially taller ones, are often viewed as being an athlete by default because of their physical apperance.

V for Vendetta

September 18th, 2009
10:07 am

Lee and Dekalb,

I would not say that it has “been proven.” I would say that a body of research exists that supports that hypothesis; however, it must be noted that the lack of early childhood education in lower sociodemographic areas (black and hispanic) plays a larger part in students’ inability to achieve later in life than does their IQs. Some research suggests that it is not easy to accurately measure their IQs because of these early education discrepancies.

Mind you, I am in no way making an excuse for them. I’m simply asserting that it has more to do with value recognition than it does intelligence.

Happily retired

September 18th, 2009
10:14 am

I was in the classroom for more than thirty years. What is true of African-American and Hispanic males is also true for many white males. Also many females seem to reject the importance of academic success. Hey, do you ever watch Jay Walking on Leno’s program?Enter your comments here

Maureen's accountability metric

September 18th, 2009
10:17 am

V for Vendetta,

In regard to your statement of Maureen “Your inexperience relative to those in the classroom is showing.” I’m going to submit to you something else is showing. And that is her fear.

Real, palpable fear.

Notice how quickly V, how very, very quickly, she wrote “I have to add here…white, black, polka dot…” so that she can distance herself from author Etienne LeGrand? Of course she has to distance herself; she’s a white liberal!

Would you have been the least bit surprised if she had reflexively added “Some of my best friends are African-American.” LOL

Of course Etienne LeGrand makes some very valid points, says things that need to be said, but too often people are afraid to say. For example, ever hear an educrat address this? You know, the ones who always want to say they are “for the children”? The only one I know involved in education who will bring this level of honesty to the debate is Dr. John Trotter.

Now for all those Neanderthals out there who want to turn this into something ugly, notice LeGrand refers to a sub culture within the community, not the community as a whole. In other words, she’s not making blanket condemnations, just talking about the values and priorities some individuals have, and have in large enough numbers to affect a community as a whole.

Of course after some of what I’ve read on these blogs, to compare some of these posters to Neanderthals is a gross insult to Neanderthals. My apologies to Neanderthals.

But as far as Maureen, maybe it’s topics like this that box Maureen into preposterous statements like “there’s no data to support” the contention that teachers need more support when it comes to discipline. Or the equally preposterous claim that it’s not a “pressing” issue.

Downey is, after all a columnist at a newspaper in a large urban area. And if Downey is forced, even for a moment, to look at what the student brings to the table as far as behavior, instead of the teacher, maybe the white liberal Downey has to look deep within herself, and go to places that Downey the white liberal, in her heart of hearts, really doesn’t want to go.

But at least Downey did bring up LeGrand’s column as a topic for discussion. Give her credit for that. And to play devil’s advocate, there’s such a partisan environment out there these days, maybe she deserves some slack.

Then again, if Jim Wooten had written it, you sense he would have embraced LeGrand, not immediately distanced himself from her.

Maybe one day Downey will be comfortable enough in her own skin to honestly address what many teachers are dealing with, and be honest enough to address what they aren’t getting, in terms of support for discipline, in order to truly do “what’s best for Georgia’s students.”

Black Girl

September 18th, 2009
10:28 am

There are many reasons as to why many black students don’t achieve academically. Socio-economics plays a large role. Poorer parents that lack education see sports as a “way out” for their family. So yes, they’ll buy the cleats, helmet, jerseys, etc first instead of books. But, if you were to go to a middle class community of African Americans you would find more students in the library, studying at home and placing a high value on their education. For example, my kids are in an environment where our neighbors are successful and educated. There are physicians, attorneys, entreprenuers, educators, IT professionals and engineers living right in my neighborhood. We all value education. Most send their kids to private school but I’ve opted to try and support the schools in my community (as frustrating as that has become!). These kids play sports AND they excel in school. My son is in the gifted program and he’s an outstanding athlete. He understands that school comes first!

Regarding the arguement on IQ’s, I’m sure that I could find data to support my opinion as well. There are still too many blacks living below the middle class level. Many grew up in the projects and mentally are still there. Those of you that taught in black and latino schools were probably dealing with parents that made a little more than minimum wage. They, like most Americans, want a quick fix. Sports appears to be that quick fix. The sad part is that only a handful will go on to play professionally. The rest will be left making minimum wage and expecting their kid to be “the one”. It’s a cycle that must be broken…but how do we do it?

Black Girl

September 18th, 2009
10:29 am

Why do my messages keep getting lost?! This is frustrating! I give!

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
11:27 am

All children CAN learn. African American children CAN learn. But, not all children WANT to learn. This is the issue. The MOTIVATION to learn is a culture phenomenon. The asian children WANT to learn more intensely than the while children, the African American children, and the hispanic children. (All four perfect scores on this year’s SAT came from Asian children.) Obviously, family environment makes a huge difference — as studies have shown that if a child comes from a two-parent household, he or she has a significantly higher chance of being successful in school. There is the same positive correlation between social economic status (SES) and student achievement. Some children just start their “hundred yard dash” ten yards behind the starting line. That’s why we celebrate so much when a child from dire economic and familial circumstances performs so well academically. We celebrate this because it is simply so unusual. I personally love to hear stories about children growing up in terrible conditions who overcome the social and economic obstacles to get accepted at Yale or Princeton. This is inspirational because we know that this child has overcome much more in his or her success than a child born and raised in Alparetta or Milton or Suwanee with two parents at home who have provided him or her with all of the tools and nurture which enable the child to start the formal schooling process with all the requisite readiness skills.

I too have observed this “acting white” phenomenon. This is a reality among African American children. I published a research article on the peer pressure perceptions of “academically able Black male adolescents” in The Journal of Negro Education (Winter of 1981). Often times, a young African American student will simply have to withdraw from from his or her peer group in order to be successful in school. The anti-academic peer pressure is simply that great. Our daughter admitted to her mom taht she purposely made lowered grades in high school because she did not want to endure the criticism of “acting white.” She flawlessly speaks the “Queen’s English,” is very articulate, and loves to read. Often times, these traits, for a “child of color,” are a liability among his or her peers. This is sad, but this is just a fact. I have observed that this is particularly strong among “children of color.” African American children have so much to overcome. This is why teachers should be freed up to be creative to be able to reach these children, to be able to find ways to MOTIVATE academically these children.

Putting teachers in pedagogical straight jackets and requiring them to teach from some inane cookie-cutter pattern only creates more and more tedium and boredom in the clasroom. (Research has demonstrated that one of the greatest, if not the greatest, hindrance for keeping the students from learning is simply their claim that they are immensely “bored” by the schooling process.) Teachers are not allowed to be creative. In fact, creativity scares the administrators. Of course, administrators appear easily scared these days. Three MACE colleagues and I visited one of Atlanta’s middle schools yesterday, and from the reaction of the principal, you would have thought that I was Darth Vader. All of the secretaries happily jumped up in apparent excitement that we arrived at the school at the end of the day and were signing in the visitors’ log, but the principal did not apppear too excited and began making phone calls. She asked me to talk with one of her apparent superiors downtown whom I have known for years. This central office administrator, in repsonse to my stating that we had done nothing out of the ordinary — nothing different from the other unions, jokinly said, “Now Dr. Trotter, you know that they see you as John Wayne.” We made a trip downtown and apparently have this little snafu worked out, but this just illustrates how nervous the administrators are these days. They apparently want NO CREATIVITY. They apparently want teachers to teach boringly with their heads down. They seem to be very scared people, as a whole. This is sick.

All children are different. They are not inanimate objects floating down a educational conveyor belt. All children CAN learn. But, these days we need to (1) free up the teachers to be creative and (2) support the teachers when it comes to discipline. The worst thing that we can do for children is to coddle and pamper them. They need strong stuctured environments where they perceive that the teacher cares — even loves — them. Then, the chances for children to respond positively to the learning is enhances. The key to learning is MOTIVATION, and MOTIVATON to learn is indeed a culture process.

For the curious…the school was Turner Middle School in Atlanta. (c) MACE, September 18, 2009.

DAVID

September 18th, 2009
11:42 am

This INFO has been in the public domain for years…Where is the news-??

DAVID

September 18th, 2009
11:43 am

DUH–??? THINK I’ll go back to sleep…

Corey

September 18th, 2009
11:44 am

Lee, what is the answer?

Black Man

September 18th, 2009
11:46 am

Black Girl, You are not Alone!!! Stay Strong!!!

Black Girl

September 18th, 2009
11:47 am

Dr Trotter, I know that principal…oh the stories I could tell!

Maureen's accountability metric

September 18th, 2009
11:56 am

As I posted earlier, Dr. Trotter is about the only one I can think of in education who is comfortable embracing the very valid points Etienne LeGrand makes. Hopefully there are others who I am not aware of.

Obviously, he’s very comfortable in his own skin, and not overcome with fear in the form of “white liberal guilt.”

NewParent

September 18th, 2009
11:57 am

My husband and I have 2 sets of children. Our oldest children live with his ex-wife and all 3 of us instill the importance of education to all 4 of our children. The oldest 2 are 17 & 16 and they both (boy & girl) play AAU basketball in another state. They are on championship teams and they both have 3.5 GPAs. Parents, our kids can have it all if we instill that into them. The kids that live with us are 11 and 6 and the 11 year old lost her sports privledges because her grades dropped. She is a great cheerleader but school comes first. The 6 year old just started playing football this year and if his grades were to start suffering, he would be pulled from the team as well. What we as parents have to understand is that we dont have to know all of the answers. We only have to find help for our children. If you cant sit down with them and do Algebra, find someone who can. I have found that peer teaching works great with my daughter. Kids can actually teach other kids better than most teachers. I’m not supporting doing it in class, but just let your kids have study dates at your house or flip flop the study venues. It doesnt matter where they study as long as they are getting the help that they need. Plus, with peer teaching, it is free. You don’t have to pay for tutors or those expensive sessions with people who dont know your kids.

Just some thoughts from someone who loves her kids enough to understand that she doesn’t have all the answsers but knows that they are out there if I look for them

NewParent

September 18th, 2009
12:04 pm

BTW, I am a black woman married to a black man. So education is important to black families.

NewParent

September 18th, 2009
12:06 pm

Enter your comments here

TW

September 18th, 2009
12:10 pm

Worthless observation. Better parenting produces a better student? No kidding.

So, you gonna hold the parent accountable? No.

So what are we to do with this info? While the schools could help tremendously, the added programs would have to be funded.

And sadly, we in the south would rather pontificate over the problem (see above) than vote to fund the solution.

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
12:11 pm

Hey folks: Please forgive the typos in the previous post. A couple of books that might be informative (to all except “David” – LOL!) are Beyond the Classroom: Why School Reform Has Failed and What Parents Need To Do by Laurence Steinberg (1996, Simon & Schuster) and Left Behind: A Century Of Failed School Reforms by Diane Ravitch (2000, Simon & Schuster). Happy reading!

Reality

September 18th, 2009
12:12 pm

I was on a MARTA train and overheard a black male parent voice how disappointed he was because his son in high school broke his heart by telling himm that he no longer wanted to play sports. I wonder what his attitude would have been if the kid suddenly said, “I’m no longer interested in math because I no longer want to be an engineer.” When we were beginnig to flex our freedom muscles here in the south after Jim Crow was laid to rest we took our eyes off the ball(our kids education). Instead, we focused on forcing others to accept us, buying things we could not afford, building mega churches, lauding ministers simply because they have “Rev.” in front of their names and breaking our necks to get into politics and following whites into the burbs. I simply to refuse to accept the argument that I am tied to an ethnic group that are like children who have to be protected from themselves. I will not accept that premise; however, when I look at the state of the black community and our youth as a whole I’m very discouraged. Can you imagine what it is like to be tied to a group that is constantly flooding news programs with bad behavior to include people elected to positions of turst, power and responsibility. Canada, here I come.

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
12:20 pm

“David” and “TW” (Same Blogger): I am sorry that my earlier comments might have stolen your blogging thunder (LOL!), but you cannot “fund the solution.” This is the point. We have been “funding the solution” to no avail for years because our legislators and policy-makers don’t really understand the problem. It appears that you don’t understand the problem as well. You also appear not to understand the difference between elucidation and pontification. Let me stop here…long posts seem to get under your skin…or is it jealousy?

TW

September 18th, 2009
12:30 pm

Dr John Trotter – your ‘observations’ only provide great fodder for the status quo.

That you would suggest funding programs like pre-K and ASP are a waste of our money really sucks the air out of any cred you claim to have. Except for typing. You type well.

BTW – the schools in East Cobb are excellent – and full of creativity :)

TW

September 18th, 2009
12:32 pm

Oh, and I guess subsidizing lunch is a loser to? lol…..

oldtimer

September 18th, 2009
12:37 pm

Did anyone see Dalton Sherman on the Today Show this morning.A good example of what two parents involved with their child can do

J.M.

September 18th, 2009
12:41 pm

Maybe it should be illegal for people making below a certain income to have children? I don’t know how you’d enforce such a law–and its collateral damage might outweigh its benefits–but the root cause of most problems plaguing the black community is the inability of parents to support their children financially.

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
12:41 pm

“TW”: You make my point…you use “East Cobb” schools as your example of “excellent” schools. Look at the Census Report for East Cobb. Significantly more two-parent households and significantly higher incomes. Oh well…arguing with someone like you is so boring. Please give me a more substantive query. Setting up straw men as you did in stating that I am against all school funding is so sophomoric (or is that sophmoric?). After School Programs do not provide “solutions” if peer pressure and motivation to learn are not addressed. Yes, programs which do not address underlying causes for failed school performance are going to be very limited in their success.

Richard Coleman

September 18th, 2009
12:56 pm

My sons basketball organization that he plays for stresses academic achievement, social conscience and life skills. It is unfair to lump all African-American children as you have. If you know of anyone playing ball without the other facets of life being cared for, look at the Atlanta Select basketball organization. We build young men to succeed in life as well as sports.

Black Man

September 18th, 2009
1:00 pm

Black Girl, Your message is not lost and you are not alone. Keep your head up.

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
1:14 pm

“Black Girl”: The points in your post of 10:28 AM are well-taken. Again, it goes back to motivation, not ability. All children CAN learn, but not all children WANT to learn. But, when children (like the ones whom you talk about) perceive that they come from a learned culture, then they are much more likely to have the MOTIVATION to learn and to be academically successful. Mr. Coleman, as a former coach myself, I am all for athletics and know that a coach and parents can use athletics in a very positive way to help build character and to motivate children in school.

just browsing

September 18th, 2009
1:18 pm

The economic issue is surely a valid point when discussing the limited vision that many economically deprived children are subject to. It is then not surprising that when they find African American males being validated and valued in the athletic markets, they to seek that validation. Until a high primium is placed on retaining, educating, and expanding the experiences of impoverished students, so they may make more choices, they will continue to suffer from a limited field of vision regarding their potential and options in the world. Perhaps I would view school with a sense of dread if my importance was restricted to becoming a special education statistic, alternative school attendee, or ISS participant. Let’s get honest, school is not “black male friendly”, most notably when they are economically deprived. Until culturally deficit thinking stops, and federal funds are tied to investing in their success through accessible, relationally rich programs(mentoring, exposure, tutoring, etc)as opposed to that used for their enrollment in special education services, might real progress be made. Georgia must do better towards its student, and creating and mandating more initiatives of this type would be helpful. When we know better, we do better
and LEE- students do well on prominent tests such as the SAT and ACT when they are literate of the dominant culture and their values- Those persons are typically Caucasian–AKA- test bias- we can only learn through the lens of those responsible for creating the curriculum

TW

September 18th, 2009
1:24 pm

Trotter – and you make my point. Placing the blame on families goes nowhere. It only allows you to justify screwing your schools when it comes to funding.

And well done – GA is the perfect state for you!

just browsing

September 18th, 2009
1:26 pm

The economic issue is surely a valid point when discussing the limited vision that many economically deprived children are subject to. It is then not surprising that when they find African American males being validated and valued in the athletic markets, they to seek that validation. Until a high primium is placed on retaining, educating, and expanding the experiences of impoverished students, so they may make more choices, they will continue to suffer from a limited field of vision regarding their potential and options in the world. Perhaps I would view school with a sense of dread if my importance was restricted to becoming a special education statistic, alternative school attendee, or ISS participant. Let’s get honest, school is not “black male friendly”, most notably when they are economically deprived. Until culturally deficit thinking stops, and federal funds are tied to investing in their success through accessible, relationally rich programs(mentoring, exposure, tutoring, etc)as opposed to that used for their enrollment in special education services, might real progress be made. When their value is also affirmed in the classroom for scholarly pursuits, and not just limited to that of the sports fields and arenas, might they view education as worthy of their investment. The bureaucracy for high school students is too much, and can be overwhelming for even 2 parent households…let alone a single parent household.
and LEE- students do well on prominent tests such as the SAT and ACT when they are literate of the dominant culture and their values- Those persons are typically Caucasian–AKA- test bias- we can only learn through the lens of those responsible for creating the curriculum

Dr. John Trotter

September 18th, 2009
1:45 pm

“TW”: I am not blaming anyone. I am only explaining phenomenon. I know that you want to demonize me. That is fine with me. You do it all the time under your many pseudonyms. I simply starting with this statement: The MOTIVATION to learn is a cultural phenomenon. (You do know that all four students in Georgia who made a perfect score this year on the SAT were Asian-Americans, right? Are you wanting to simply state that Asian-American students are inately more intelligent than students from other cultural or ethnic groups? I am not. But, I see that you, under different pseudonyms, do want to assign different intelligent ranges to students from different races or ethnic groups. I reject this.) I am not blaming anyone — especially the students. The students are the ones who are suffering under this oppressive negative peer pressure. But, unless we get our heads out of the sand and frankly admit that a person’s culture (I did not say race because, as “Black Girl” so eloquently delineated in her earlier post, there are sub-cultures within different races) affects his or her MOTIVATION to learn, then we are simply putting educational bandaids on a huge learning ailment…the lack of desire to learn. If a child simply does not WANT to learn, then there is very little that a teacher can do to effect learning within this child. The child must first WANT to learn. (c) MACE, September 18, 2009.

high school teacher

September 18th, 2009
3:01 pm

“Let’s get honest, school is not “black male friendly”, most notably when they are economically deprived.”

Can you please elaborate on that one?

Reality 2

September 18th, 2009
4:08 pm

Just the fact that high school teacher needs the statement elaborated points to the huge problem we have in our schools…

Darren

September 18th, 2009
4:14 pm

MACE? Referencing MACE is like referencing Bush on foreign policy. What a joke! MACE is kind of like rolling up Glen Beck with a bunch of bad teachers. What a joke!

catlady

September 18th, 2009
5:00 pm

I teach in a system that is less than 1% black, and 15% Hispanic. I can say that sports are important to a very, very limited number of kids. HOWEVER, our school board continues to blow money on sports-related items (even though we have NO resources to fall back on for other matters). In fact, on the list of the next construction priorities, all but one have to do with sports facilities! Unfortunately, academics are also important to a small number of kids, as well.

high school teacher

September 18th, 2009
6:59 pm

Sorry Reality 2, I have never taught in a predominantly black school. I have taught in a 50/50 school and currently teach in a school with around a 30% minority population. So, I was just wanting to know how a school is black male unfriendly. In all seriousness, perhaps I present a bias when I teach, one that I am completely unaware of, and I can correct that.

Lee

September 18th, 2009
8:07 pm

Let’s see, where to begin….

Reality 2; “It’s ignorant and racist people like Lee that drives African American kids to seek refuges in sports.”

People start calling names when they cannot refute your logic. Prove to me that there is not a difference in IQ between the races.

Dekalb Conservative: “The IQ issue is a valid one, but not in this context. This is more about effort and behavior and not about talent.”

IQ has more to do with behavior than any other factor, IMHO. So it is relevant.

Vendetta; “it must be noted that the lack of early childhood education in lower sociodemographic areas (black and hispanic) plays a larger part in students’ inability to achieve later in life than does their IQs.”

If you compare the different racial groups from the same socio-economic strata, you get the same distribution.

Corey; “Lee, what is the answer?”

A good first step is to quit trying to teach all students in the same manner and same pace.

Just Browsing; “students do well on prominent tests such as the SAT and ACT when they are literate of the dominant culture and their values- Those persons are typically Caucasian–AKA- test bias”

You know, nobody has been able to explain to me how a black child and a white child can go to the same school for 12 years, take the same classes from the same teachers, and then experience a “bias” when taking the same SAT test.

V for Vendetta

September 18th, 2009
10:37 pm

Lee,

“IQ has more to do with behavior than any other factor, IMHO. So it is relevant.”

My response, simply stated, “No it doesn’t.” Though research points to a difference between racial IQs, there is just as much research to indicate that the differences, present or not, do not necessarily affect the capability for academic performance present in the student. In fact, some research points to the fact that the development of a child’s cognitive abilities from an extremely early age–let’s say one year of age–is a greater determining factor than anything else. (To a certain extent, of course. A child with a 70 IQ will never perform as well as a child with a 120 IQ, no matter how he or she is raised.)

As for your behavior statement, that’s just plain false. Sure, a student with a 70 IQ will have differences in behavior and social interaction when compared with the mean of 100; however, to assert that the slight variations that might exist between races are responsible for certain behavior patterns is completely ludicrous. Early childhood education is far more influential than IQ in regards to behavior and intrinsic motivation. And yes, this too has been proven.

Just Browsing and Reality 2,

You two seem to want to evade reality, but reality cannot be evaded nor can it be shaped or molded in response to your whims and wishes. To be successful in life requires certain attributes that have become over time the dominant culture of success. That many of the attributes are linked to affluence and higher education is no secret; however, not being born into that culture is not a debt to be paid by those in that culture, regardless of race. If you make a comment such as “school is not black male friendly,” you are likewise asserting that college is not “black male friendly” nor is the business world “black male friendly.” If you believe all three of these statements to be true, you are evading reality.

Reality is. A is A. The dominant discourse in society is not subject to your whims and wishes. Rather than attempt to conform the dominant discourse of economic success to your preconceived notions of what it should be, perhaps you should spend your time promoting infant/toddler reading and learning courses, tutoring sessions for elementary and middle school students, and greater access to technical classes for high school students.

In order to deal with reality, you must first stop evading it.

Simpson, D.

September 18th, 2009
11:13 pm

“Darren” (aka catlady, jim d, high school teacher, Reality 2, Lee, and many others): Still mad that MACE doesn’t want you as a member? Jilted, eh? Jealousy is a powerful emotion. I am one of those teachers who implored Dr. Trotter to ask you to resign your membership. You have a very flawed pathology.