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Because of strong unions, incompetent teachers are allowed to keep their jobs to the detriment of our children. This is the teacher who was found sleeping in class, who missed more than 20 days of school, who was chronically late, whose lesson plans were not fully developed, who did not check homework, whose student scores did not improve, whose students were caught on videotape sleeping, playing cards, and doing whatever they wanted as long as they did not bother the teacher. This is the teacher who tells her students, "I get paid whether you learn or not.
If school districts could eliminate the bottom 10 percent of their teachers and use that money to pay for Master Teachers, we could compete against the top rated countries in education. The reality is only one out of teachers will lose their license in contrast to one of 95 lawyers and one of 57 doctors. If you've read any of my books, you know the five types of teachers:. Custodians have low expectations of their students, poor time on task, poor classroom management skills, and principals have a very difficult time getting them removed. Referral Agents are quick to recommend students to special education and the principal's office for disciplinary problems.
Instructors believe they teach subjects, not students. Unfortunately, after the primary grades we have an increase of instructors. Unfortunately, all types of teachers, including Custodians, Referral Agents, and Instructors are protected by tenure agreements and unions, so they don't have to make any changes in their pedagogy. Principals cannot mandate that teachers understand Black male learning styles. They don't have to develop lesson plans conducive for right-brain learners.
In nearly every school district in the U. On the other hand, Master Teachers not only understand their subject matter like Instructors, they also understand the importance of developing a pedagogy that is congruent with their children's learning styles. They understand that how you teach is just as important as what you teach. If we had more Master Teachers who understood this truism, we would see an improvement in the academic performance of African American males.
Finally, Coaches not only understand subject matter like Instructors and congruence of pedagogy and learning styles like Master Teachers, they also understand the children's culture. What happens to the Black boy's spirit when you send him to the corner, outside the door, or to the principal's office? Why is there a disproportionate number of boys in your school in special education, remedial reading, earning poor grades, suspended, and dropping out? What is the worst comment you've heard in the teachers' lounge or cafeteria about Black boys?
The definition of culture is lifestyle. Everyone has a lifestyle, but many Whites and middle-class African Americans believe that if you don't have White middle-class values, you are culturally deprived. Many educators believe that if you do not come from a middle-income home with two parents who are college educated and speak Standard English, then you are culturally deprived.
This is the cultural deficit model. According to the cultural deficit model, the problem is with the student, not with the system or the teachers.
So many times schools bring me in to fix the "bad" children. The assumption is that there's nothing wrong with the teachers, curriculum, pedagogy, or administration. The cultural deficit model presumes there is something wrong with Black boys. If African Americans were inferior, there would be no need for racism. African American students have many strengths that have been overlooked by teachers. Saggin' has its roots in the American prison system where inmates are prohibited from wearing belts that they could use to hurt themselves or other inmates.
As a result, their pants drop down or sag. Some African American males who have a defiant oppositional view of White mainstream America have continued the look outside of prison, and now it's an unfortunate fashion statement.
Ironically, some White fashion designers adopted the look for their menswear lines. The Dozens crackin', rankin', signifyin' is a verbal word game. In male culture there's a desire to find out who's the best — or in Ebonics, who's the baddest. Since schools have rules against fighting rightfully so , African American males created a nonviolent way to blow off steam and determine who's the baddest on the playground. The Dozens is a verbal word game that plays off the most valued persons in the Black community, mothers.
Language arts skills are needed to play the Dozens well: making words rhyme, a constantly expanding vocabulary, quick thinking skills, and a comfort with speaking in public. In White culture, words are taken literally.
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In Black culture, words are figures of speech. Let's say a teacher is listening to two boys playing the Dozens. Taking their words literally, she assumes, incorrectly, that the boys are about to fight. Actually the boys are trying to avoid a fight. If they are allowed to continue, she'll find that they'll be the best of friends minutes later. Interestingly, the loser will probably use the winner's lines in his next Dozens match against another student.
The class clown acts out because he is trying to cover up his academic deficiencies. It is embarrassing being in eighth grade with low level reading and math skills. One of the ways to avoid the embarrassment is to act like the class clown. This student doesn't care about how the teacher feels about his antics, but getting the respect of his peers, even through laughter, means everything to him. The class clown hopes that the teacher will put him out of the classroom, but this is the last thing teachers should do.