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In Jacksonville it is only up to teachers to save young black men (sic).

Let me preface the following with, I was not at the Urban Education Symposium and I am taking below from the Times Union, unfortunately not exactly the bastion of fairness and reliability that it should be. All that being said, come on it’s only up to teachers to save our young black men???
Here are some passages from the Times Union’s report on the symposium:
 “It is important for teachers to make sure they encourage students constantly to reach all of their goals,” said student Gregory Hill.
But teachers who schedule tests on the first day back from holiday break, people who say you “suck” in football and people who “don’t believe” you can become a great gospel singer suck the air out of their dreams, they said.
Teachers must want them to learn and succeed — one of the students said he did not get that feeling from some white teachers — and recognize their different learning styles. And they must make class interesting.
“I am a young leader ready to learn. I like small groups and fun activities, not to listen to a boring teacher all day long just talking,” said student Turner Robinson.
Also, teachers should be alert to when students might be “having a bad day,” but not let their own bad days be visible in their teaching, the teens said.
And they asked for more black male teachers in the classroom. Seeing teachers who look like them and have “attained something better in life” would help put them on the path to do the same, one teen said.
And that other than an obligatory line about young black men need mentors was it. It’s all on the backs of teachers to save young black men.
Not the policy makers who have sucked the joy out of learning for so many teachers and students alike through their high stakes testing agenda. Or the ones that have diminished the teaching of skills, art and trades and yes industry certifications are up but they are nowhere near where they should be.  
What about the African American community who votes for the same disengaged policy makers over and over again?
Parents, church leaders, African-American sports figures, the kids themselves and all others got a pass at the symposium but those damn teachers better put it in gear.

Are there problems? Yes. Are teachers a large part of the solution? Yes but it’s not all on their backs and putting it all there is not going to make things better. 


  1. This is a perfect example of how we fail to recognize the bigger picture. We are expecting teachers to be social workers while cutting back on support for school counselors and support professionals in the classroom. We have barebones paraprofessional numbers. To expect teachers to do their jobs AND wear a dozen hats in the classroom is overkill.
    Furthermore, the implication that teachers are somehow racist in their work is unfair and it is inflammatory.

  2. We're expected to "build relationships" with students which is impossible when you have 200 of them. It really means "grease the squeaky wheel" which is what teachers do anyways. The ill behaved get all of our attention.

  3. I struggle with this whole thing. Yes, there are some bad white teachers, and yes, there are some bad black teachers. Yes, some teachers take things out on the kids when they have a bad day, but most do not. Are there tests scheduled when students have just had a break? Yes! Most of the time that is because of non-teacher tests like CGA's which students and teachers alike cannot escape.
    I am frustrated by the fact that teachers, who only see students for 90 minutes every other day, are supposed to solve all ills. Realistically, no one can do that, and the schools cannot do that. Teachers only have like 1/10 of the impact on students; students have like 5/10 and parents/families have 4/10. (These stats refer to having an effect on student success.) Our students are only at school for about 7 hours. Where are they for the other 17 hours?

    The following would go a long way to helping solve some of the problems:

    1. Offer free lunch to all students, so every student is fed.
    2. Have a nurse in every school, so medical needs are addressed.
    3. Have a social worker and psychologist dedicated to each school.
    4. Put more counselors in the school, a minimum of 1:200 students, even though I feel like more counselors are needed.
    5. Create smaller classrooms for classes that need it.
    6. Double-block English/Reading, so every student has more exposure to literature.
    7. Have an actual working media center, so students have access to computers and printers.
    8. Put every 9th grader in the Transition class, so they have an elective that really tries to help them in succeeding in high school.
    9. Offer more electives, so students won't be stuffed into classes of 50 for art or culinary arts.
    10. Make the students only take 4 classes at a time instead of 8, so they won't be so confused or frustrated by the every other day classes. Even college students only take 4 classes at a time. Also, it allows students to retake a class they just failed instead of waiting until the next year to take it.
    11. Have a graduation coach for every grade level.
    12. Allow every student to take the ACT/SAT for free like Duval is doing for some schools.
    13. Get rid of Deans of Discipline and put more AP's with actual power and authority back into the classroom.
    14. Hold kids accountable. They need organization and structure, not wishy-washy authority.

    People, please add to the list as you see fit.

  4. 15. Keep parent contact numbers up to date. They can't be corrected at the school level. Many phone numbers haven't been valid for years.

  5. Many black male students are insanely disruptive and its the students fault. Hold them accountable.


    It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It takes parents. Preferably two parents. That 'village concept' excuses and enables poor parents !

  7. Is being black and male the only qualifications for mentorship? If that's so, then skin color is all that matters and that is racist.