Racism In Education

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It is evident racism continues to be an issue not only in our schools, but throughout daily encounters in society. Although I have personally overcome many obstacles that poverty stricken children face, I have also confronted racism while teaching on a Native American reservation. Nonetheless, those experiences provided me with a deep understanding of others needs and an immense desire to help those who are potentially at risk. Fortunately, I have a very diverse family with interracial marriages, providing me the awareness and the understanding of Native American and African American cultures. In my opinion, building a trusting, caring, and positive relationship with all students is the number one factor to ensuring students success!
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According to Payne’s description of the educational challenges that face African Americans and children living in poverty is a bleak position to support. As educators, we are obligated to provide our students a quality education, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic feature. Recently, when considering our school data collected from local and state assessments, the subgroup of English Learners achieved the greatest gains in reading. I believe the data is a testament to our school staff and our commitment to ensure the students’ academic needs are afforded. This is not to say, we have resolved all issues and challenges affecting African American students. In my opinion, too often, nonwhite children are referred to remedial reading and special programs because of the language, not necessarily due to their abilities. Unfortunately, special programs typically implement scripted programs and doesn’t focus on critical thinking. As suggested by Delpit (2006), academically, students need more than the “basic skill”, they need critical thinking activities, connecting background knowledge, a sense of belonging to the community, and understanding, honoring, and respecting the African American students’ culture.
In conclusion, parents of African American children want their children to be successful without a doubt in my mind. My experiences and interactions with parents communicated a pronounced interest in their children’s learning, making it evident Ruby Payne’s framework of poverty is not accurate. Personally, I appreciate the opportunities to work with African American children and families. The students and parents are respectful and appreciate the important work we do
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