Racism is a prevalent problem in schools, but some teachers are more proactive than others in trying to root out the problem. Whether it’s teaching students about diversity and inclusivity, combating racism and teaching students about a healthy dose of skepticism, or imposing consequences for racist behavior, these are the most effective ways of combatting racism that teachers can employ.
One of the most publicized issues in the education world is the problem of racism in our schools. Racist incidents occur on a regular basis but are often underreported because of fear of retaliation or a lack of reporting procedures. This is unfortunate, because racism is not just a problem for minority students, but for all students in public schools.
Racism is a serious problem in American society and it has been taught by the education system in various forms. Racism isn’t a secret — we all know it’s a problem, and most of us are disturbed by the idea that it still exists in this country. But that doesn’t make it any less worrisome. The racism in schools is an uncomfortable issue that the media never seems to talk about, but it’s a problem that’s hurting many students and teachers, and it’s something that can be solved — with a little education.. Read more about how to deal with racism in schools and let us know what you think.The uprising of the 6th. January 2021 was a dark day in the history of our country. Even more unclear is the fact that officials were involved in this disturbance. Police, firefighters and even teachers from our area were present that day.
As for the leaders of these industries, I applaud their investigation and eventual removal of these individuals. But these leaders must also be concerned with rooting out the racists who hide in offices, patrol the streets and teach in classrooms.
It is the responsibility of law enforcement; for blacks, removing racists from the ranks is a matter of life and death. The same goes for eliminating racists in schools.
While it’s understandable that many of the insurgents present were not educators, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of educators who agree with their message or, worse, are racist.
Take a look at Facebook.
About 60 percent of whites voted for Donald Trump. Whites think the presidential election was run well the least and the least that the votes were counted correctly. This cannot be ignored when one considers that white teachers make up 80% of teachers nationwide.
That doesn’t mean that all white teachers support the idea that the election was rigged, but it does mean that some white teachers might believe it. Some are just smart enough not to put their thoughts on social media or express their feelings in public, but it will definitely affect their education and their decisions to teach.
Across the country, teachers who witnessed or participated in the riots are being investigated and even suspended by their school districts – and that’s the way it should be. However, it is easy to filter out such people.
But what about the racist and bigoted teachers who did not attend or participate in the riots, the racist staff who remained hidden?
*Source: Data Collection Civil Rights **School Suspension ***Suspension means you stay in your current class.
In examining the records of schools whose staff participated in the rebellion, we find that in almost all of those schools, black students are disproportionately suspended, kept out of school, and underrepresented in gifted and talented courses (see Figure 1).
We cannot attribute these statistics solely to the educators who were present at the riots. Still, there is something to be said for a school climate in which concern for appearance is not enough to deter an educator from traveling to Washington D.C. to protest fair elections.
Through these stories and statistics, we can sound the alarm about the systematic racism that is supported and perpetuated – knowingly or unknowingly – by the adults in these school districts. Employees because of their participation in the action of the 6. Failure to investigate or impose a suspension or dismissal in January may give the impression that your district does not tolerate racism.
But the data tells a very different story.
It is not enough to eradicate racist educators when they are discovered. You must exterminate them without knowing who they are.
You do that by making all the racists and white extremists around you feel uncomfortable. This is how it can happen:
- Hire more black teachers and principals. It is important to employ teachers of color, but the United States has a history of anti-black racism; that history continues today throughout society, including in the schools. More black educators in your building and district will have several consequences. This promotes the academic success of black students and means that more blacks are involved in decision-making about policies, procedures, and curricula. Furthermore, the more black educators there are, especially in leadership positions, the more uncomfortable the situation becomes for the racist educator. I know this because I have experienced it myself. When a career educator position becomes available, hire the best candidates of color who applied.
- Offer anti-racism trainings that are uncomfortable and ongoing. Teach lessons on the development of racial identity and racist behavior. Requiring educators to read books like Why Do All Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria? Offer sessions on adopting and integrating culturally responsive pedagogy into the classroom and integrating culturally responsive resources into content – using texts such as Cultivating Genius and Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.
- Require educators to perform annual community service for social justice. Just as schools require students to perform community service as a condition of success, schools could impose a similar requirement on teachers. This requirement can be built into the curriculum so that this work takes place in the classroom between teachers and students. Hours of social justice is not only about community service, but also about engagement in public policy to improve society for all, especially for historically marginalized and oppressed communities. Engage community stakeholders and activists to work with teachers to implement these lessons.
- Include anti-racist benchmarks in teacher evaluation standards. Every teacher, school principal and board member should know that anti-racism is such a high priority in their district that it is included in performance standards and evaluations. Teachers will embrace or resist the program until they lose and leave.
- Empowering parents to stand up for themselves. Parents are not only empowered when schools communicate their commitment to anti-racism and social justice; almost all schools have done so through daily statements since George Floyd’s murder. Parents are empowered when asked to hold the school community accountable for its anti-racism efforts. Parents should have an idea of what is expected of schools and an evaluation formula.
This is what racial justice looks like. It is no coincidence that these measures, if adopted, will cause resentment among those who believe that schools should remain white institutional spaces, with black and brown students and educators merely tolerated and grateful for their inclusion.
None of these measures guarantee the elimination of the racists who remain in hiding; and they are certainly not implemented in isolation. However, if we work together, school leaders can create a culture in which educators from racial backgrounds are so uncomfortable that they don’t seek jobs or leave if they already have jobs.
I understand the natural desire to unite rather than divide, and this tactic can be divisive for some. Of course, one hopes that the racists in each district will convert. But educators need to teach students that a person of character and integrity means something.
Educators must set an example by defending what is right and condemning what is wrong. Why else are we here?
This article was originally published on the Philadelphia Division 7 website.
Photo by Monkey Business Images, licensed from Canva.If you aren’t sure how to get rid of the racists in your school, one of the best things to do is go through with a few of these tips.. Read more about teaching racism in school and let us know what you think.