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White teachers fleeing black schools

DECATUR, Georgia (AP) --Jason Johnston took a job at mostly black Midway Elementary School in hopes he could make a difference with the children who needed him most.

But Johnston, one of only a handful of white teachers at the school, decided to leave after less than a year, disillusioned by pupils who struggled, parents who weren't involved and the constant pressure to meet state achievement standards.

"It wasn't what I expected," explains Johnston, who now teaches high-performing fourth-graders at a wealthy, mostly white Atlanta school.

"It's not because of race issues," he says. "It's about where you feel comfortable."

Johnston is part of an exodus of white teachers from black schools that some see as a troubling symptom of the resegregation of the South.

As decades-long court busing orders are loosened or lifted, the region's schools have become increasingly segregated. And a new study suggests that the trend is having a dramatic effect on where teachers choose to teach.

Race factor
Three Georgia State University professors found that during the late '90s white elementary school teachers in Georgia were much more likely to quit at schools with higher proportions of black students.

After the 1999-2000 school year, 31 percent of white teachers quit their jobs at schools where the student population was more than 70 percent black, and those who changed jobs went to schools that served lower proportions of black and poor pupils.

"The race of the student body is the driving factor behind teacher turnover," the researchers wrote. Other studies have found white teacher flight increasing -- in California, New York, Texas and North Carolina -- but only the Georgia State study singled out how race factored into the phenomenon.

Many Georgia teachers say they felt pressured to leave low-performing schools after the state passed an education reform law that tied teacher pay to test scores. Still, the study found that white teachers were leaving predominantly black schools even in the Atlanta city and suburban DeKalb County districts that were among the state's highest paying.

"It's discouraging," says study co-author Ben Scafidi, an assistant professor of economics, public administration and urban studies. "And the most depressing part ... is our evidence suggests that even large wage increases won't help."

Elise Crisp teaches at DeKalb County's Avondale High School, where the student body is nearly 100 percent black. She has been there for six years and seen other white teachers leave for more affluent schools, with more white students.

She says some are overwhelmed by the culture shock of an all-black school; others just want to work closer to home.

"I just don't have those problems," said Crisp, who teaches English. "I really see no difference in what my job is, whether the students are black or white. They're children. It's my job to teach."

Teacher exodus
But John Evans, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in DeKalb County, says no one should be surprised to see young white teachers leave for the suburbs after a year or two. Many teachers, especially young women, are scared of black neighborhoods and don't want to be there after dark, he says.

Evans rejects the idea that black schools can't be successful without white teachers. If they don't want to be there, then let them go, he says.

However, there simply aren't enough black teachers to go around. Only 20 percent of Georgia teachers are black, but black students make up 40 percent of the public school population.

That means high teacher turnover at black schools, which hurts the quality of instruction, Scafidi says. Schools that have a lot of teaching positions to fill every year can't be as selective. They also wind up with more inexperienced teachers.

During the late '90s, there was a rapid increase in elementary school construction in Georgia, and the state mandated smaller class sizes. This created more jobs and made it easier for all teachers, both black and white, to switch schools. But it still doesn't explain why black schools got hit the hardest by teachers turnover, Scafidi says.

Mike Worthington, Avondale High's principal, says some of the blame rests on university education schools. Because they don't train teachers for a diverse classroom, some young white teachers are bewildered by black schools, he says.

"They just don't know," says Worthington, who is white. "They perhaps don't understand their students, and the nuances and the style and the dress."

But that's no excuse, says Mike Gluck, a white guidance counselor who has worked at Avondale for 22 years and has covered his office wall with photos of students, white and black.

"I think it's a cop-out," Gluck says. "Whether they're white, black, rich or poor, they all have needs."



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Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.

© MBM

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I believe that we will see more white/or other races leaving black schools to teach elsewhere. One reason is because of the lack of respect they get from some students and their parents as well. All one has to do is check out some of these AA sites and read some comments from these young people. Most have racist attitudes, and are extremely disrespectful. I do not know who is raising these children! Any teacher white, or whatever, would not feel comfortable or feel that they could do an affective job with students like those I mentioned. I am not saying "ALL" black students, but there are far too many. It is unfortunate that this is happening. I see the handwriting on the wall.

The Universe it perfect. It never makes a mistake.
Now for some of the facts. First, the overwhelming majority of inner city schools can claim 3 traits: 1)the principal and adminstration are BLACK. 2) the local school board and city council are majority black. 3) most of the teachers are black.

Could it be that these white teachers, working under black leadership, eclipsed by black staff, are chided, ignored, and generally discriminated against in their day to day dealings? You are damned right thats likely. I have witnessed this first hand, and may have even been guilty of it when I first started teaching years ago.
MrB,

You make some very valid points in your post.

Norland,

I vehemently disagree with your assessment of America. We have come a long way but in my mind we have a long way to go. Our military is strictly a voluntary organization at this juncture in time. This means that all the African Americans you see in uniform are there because they want to be there. The issue you are probably speaking about may be a lack of opportunity for our brothers and sisters, hence the miitary has become a viable source of oportunity for them.

Good teachers dont run away from kids with problems they stay and help them. It might be a good thing that these teachers are running away because some of them might not be worth their salt in the first place. There are many other possible causes for the mass migration including lower pay, lower dollars spent per student, an uninvolved community and many other things.

Principal Worthington is right, teachers are not always properly trained to deal with the demographics of the student population they will work with, which results in frustration and inadeqautely prepared students. I am a strong proponent of multicultural education programs and a strong proponent of educational reform. The teaching profession itself has got to be restructured and retrained to meet the needs of the 21st century. I am a proponent of school uniforms, rigid school discipline and year round schooling.

As a soldier, I make it my business to prepare myself for my enemy before I go into battle. The classroom is not different. You cannot use the same tactics on evry type of student, it is just that simple. Instead of moaning about why white teachers are leaving predominately black schools, we might want to try to figure out why blacks arent flocking to the classroom. We know from integration that black students respond better to black teachers, especially in the south.

Tank
I agree with you MrB. A long time ago there was an article in the local paper about a white teacher in a black school. She got in trouble with her students' parents because she read a book called Nappy Hair to her students, a book about black pride. The children liked the book, but the parents were angry that a *white* person read this book to their kids. They thought that a *black* person should have read it.

The question is, are incidents like this causing white teachers to flee black schools? Or are there other factors involved, like ignorance of black culture? Racism on the teacher's part? Fear of being a minority in a black school? Money issues? I think that it could be a number of things.
quote:
As a soldier, I make it my business to prepare myself for my enemy before I go into battle. The classroom is not different. You cannot use the same tactics on evry type of student, it is just that simple. Instead of moaning about why white teachers are leaving predominately black schools, we might want to try to figure out why blacks arent flocking to the classroom. We know from integration that black students respond better to black teachers, especially in the south.


Tank,
I definetly have to agree with you on that point. 9 or 10 years ago I decided that when I retire I would like to teach so I have been researching the school/teacher situation. It is amazing the reactions I get just for walking in the school to ask a question about the profession. By being a black male it seems that as long as I have a pulse the job is mine. The usual reasons I get is the lack of black male role models and the women are not able to really give the younger males the guidance they need. I ask about elementary schools and each time the principal or district rep almost beg me to take highschool. The reason given is alot of the students intimidate the teachers (mostly white) and they feel more black males would truly make a difference.

I also agree in a multi-cultural education system but maybe the point that was made about whites not being able to relate and communicate is part of the problem. I'm 99.9% sure that I will teach but until then I will continue to follow articles and reports like this closely.
great points, Ocatchings and Leigh. This topic has a lot of associated branches and sequels. I personaly believe that the entire teaching professiona needs to be transformed. I currently possess a Masters in Education so I full understand and empathize with teachers and the problems they face in the modern classroom but I refuse to believe that the situation is dire. I can talk at length about this subject but I'll reserve my comments for a later date. Bottom line is that the modern classroom is totally different from the one we attended, so therefore the training of the teacher and the leadership structure of the school must be different. You have really opened up a "can of worms", LOL.

Tank
761tank - do you agree with regular teacher testing? It seems that many in the teaching profession are against it. As a parent though, the thought of children being exposed to incompetent teachers is incomprehensible.

Do you have any thoughts about how to make wholesale improvements to the public school system? What do you think about vouchers?

Now is the time to make real the promises of Democracy.
I think this is an issue that needs to be looked at on all sides the white teachers, the parents, and the students.

It wasn't too long ago that I gradutated and I can remember clearly how some of my black peers treated the teachers and the school staff. It was an all black school the attitude that some of us had about our education was self destructive. I think that this is still going on in our school systems. There could be other factors I'm not saying that some white teachers just don't want to work with black students but, it could be the other way around too. The black community really needs to get it together for our children. It takes no dummy to know that children fair better when there are two parents at home, there are no drugs or violence, and the parents paticipate in their education. We have too many baby daddies and baby mammas not living in the home taking care of the children they brought into the world. That (I know from experience) can really hurt a child. There are the issues of role models too. Our children need role models at home parental role models, not snoop dog and eminem.They need parents who finished school and are not in jail. They need to know that being smart is no whack or uncool. They need to know that getting a education is a must for everyone especially a black person . They need to take advantage of that education no matter what race the teacher is. Respect on all parts teachers, parents, and students might just be the solution.
Well said justice4all,

Indeed both natural parents play a huge role in keeping a family intact. More must be done to provide gainful employment opportunities for the natural parents. Without gainful employment it is extremely difficult to provide for one individual, let alone several. It is certain, that this issue of creating lawful, and gainful work opportunities, within our own community, will bring hope, and promise into the lives of many individuals, who cry out for just one chance to make an honest go of it, so that they are not forced to provide the necessities of life by illegal means. Lack of gainful employment opportunity within our community is the primary reason that drives many individuals to commit criminal acts, that eventually lead to prison. Far too many Black families are headed by Black women, because the Black male prison population continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Housing prison inmates is big business. Building prisons, housing inmates, etc., creates jobs for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, lawyers, doctors, social workers, clergymen, accountants, judges, etc., to which the incarceration of Black people, be it through legal, or unlawful means, primes the pump of opportunity for every other ethnic group but Black people.

The same can be applied to foster care. Many times, social workers, juvenile courts, break-up good solid Black families in our community, to place children in government institutions such as a "Mac Claren Hall", and/or the private homes of individuals who have little if any interest in the children placed in a foster home. In some instances, foster parents keep children in their homes, to which they do not have the first legal document to justify separating a child from his or her natural parents.

Just as with the prison system, the Department of Children Services, creates many forms of gainful employment, at the expense of the traditional Black family structure, which primes the economic pump of opportunity for every other ethnic group but Black people. In some instances some of Black America's own educated class, as it applies to social workers, and probation officers, become co-conspirators in the illegal, unwarranted, and/or un-American destruction of the tradition Black family, at the expense of truly law abiding Black families.

Education starts at home, because the teachers, like police officers cannot do it all. In many instances the environment of living in the "Ghetto" is not conducive to promoting classroom learning, because of the many internal and external destructive influences that make it very difficult for anyone to concentrate on acquiring a sound education. Many kids share adult issues such as providing food, clothing, and shelter for themselves, to which the very serious issue of survival, places acquiring a good education on the back burner.

A community is only as good as the people that live in the community. A family is only as good as the effort and sacrifices made to make for solid family structure. The sense of community in our community has lost its' luster, or has seriously deviated from the path of righteousness.

Perverted activity seems to perpetuate itself in our community. Being respectful to persons or property of others, being ethical, moral, and/or lawful has been tossed out the window with the bath water, to instead be replaced by the very destructive ideals of earning a living through, deceit, greed, selfishness, incompetence, and/or sleaze.

Sincerely,

Michael Lofton

[This message was edited by Lofton on January 25, 2003 at 01:48 PM.]
are we saying that black children suffer from lack of exposure to white teachers?


I agree with lofton re: social services, probation officers, etc. Like colin and condi, these workers are there to do a job for the gov't...they cannot necessarily advocate for black people. As a social worker, you must either find a way to make the policies work for the families, assimilate into racist policies, or get burned out and disillusioned.

I feel black students taught by black teachers is a good thing. I do recognize there are some excellent and supportive white teachers out there. I have met many. But can we really expect white teachers really put his/her all into teaching my child who will grow up and compete with her child?
Dwill:

First of all, none of what you've said is accurate. Most of the administrtors and teachers within predominately black school systems are white, not black. The local school boards and city councils are also predominately white, if not completely so.

If it is true that many white teachers are fleeing the inner cities, then I'd venture to say that it's because of two things.
1: Inability to relate to black students
2: Disrespect towards teachers, which ties in with number one.

I'm in no way saying that white teachers cannot effectively educate black children, but from what I've seen so far as a teacher, it's not very common. I've found that many, many of them simply do not know how to relate to black children. When the kids are older (middle school), they're down right frightened of them.

I wish you could hear some of the comments I've heard about our kids coming from the mouths of white teachers. I almost don't go to the teacher's lounge anymore for lunch. To say that there are lower expectations for these children is an understatement.


MBM: For the most part, I have a real problem with the catch phrase "qualified teachers." I've found that having a Master's and a myriad of licensures and endorsements does not an effective teacher make. Due to the shortage of teachers, there are many subs in open positions.

Now according to what we read in the paper, these subs aren't really "qualified" to work with children because they are not yet licensed. In reality, some of the best teachers I've met are those who aren't "qualified by the expert's standards. Likewise, some of the worst teachers I've met are those with advanced degrees and licensure to burn.

I find that Boards of Ed. and others in the position to call the shot are blind to the real problem in many urban schools: DISCIPLINE!

I don't care what type of degree of license you have. I don't care what style of teaching you do. Discipline and structure must come first. When you're dealing with a student population with low parental involvement or homes where the kid is running the household, this is difficult to do, but not impossible.
MBM,

Yes, I am a proponent of teacher testing and teacher certification. Most teachers are qualified to teach their content areas but need to additional training to update their skills base. I also believe that all teachers should receive some multicultural education training regardless of where they teach.

I have mixed feelings about school vouchers. I think that they are like using a "band-aid to fix a broken leg". Vouchers could be good for students in some areas but catastrophic for students in other areas. I think that the US DOE needs to set and enforce a standard dollar amount to be spent on each student. This is one way could help to improve our existing pblic schools. I am apprehensive about spending money in private schools because here in the South they were mostly developed to perpetuate segregation.


If I were the Secretary of Education I would attempt to make the following improvements to education within the United States.

- Institute and fund year-round schooling programs to assist lower achieving students

- Enforce teacher and administrator accountability for student achievement (following the SOL model from the state of Virginia)

- Make teaching a year round profession and provide school systems with the funding to make this occur

- Develop more cooperative education programs with public institutions of higher learning to assist administrators and teachers

- Increase funding and educational opportunities at public HBCUs

- Increase teacher pay and benefit packages

- Devise more stringent disciplinary measures for students (i.e impose martial law in schools)

- Fund and mandate special educational training programs for teachers and administrators

- Provide financial incentives/benefits for teachers to excel

- Mandate school attendance until age 17

- Develop and fund more military style alternative schools for problem kids

- Conduct research on the increased use of behavior altering drugs in schools

Toumani,

You have touched on another hard issue. teachers must have high expectations for their students or they will never succeed. I actually did a study of this problem while I was in graduate school.

I would agree with you that paper credentials dont make good teachers. The whole teaching profession in my mind is a labor of love much like the military. As a soldier, I dont receieve the pay I deserve commensurate with my duties and responsibilities but I dont serve for that reason. I love being in the Army and what it stands for. The same is true for those dynaic educators. The excel because they love their students and wil do whatever it takes to ensure that they are successful. I understand what you are talking about when you say that the kids are highly undisciplined and are running thier households. These are the kids that we have to transform into soldiers. They want and need discipline and we give it to them. The low teacher expectation is a part if this equation because if a child knows that he cant make it and you reinforce it then that child instantly becomes a problem.
Toumani,

You have really gotten me started, LOL. AA parental involvement in schools must improve dramtically. One possible reason why our involvement is low is because of sharp increase in young black mothers. Statistically speaking, I am not expert on the numbers involved but my gut tells me that we are talking pretty high numbers. Couple this with the fact that we no longer use the "village concept" to raise our kids and we have a big problem on our hands. I am mad as heck because we will pack the stands for a football game but not for a PTA meeting. We must wake up and realize that we can have a powerful influence on the way our schools are run simply by our presence.

I am sure that you are a wonderful teacher and I applaud your efforts to make our schools better. Keep your head up and dont let those other ignorant, lethargic teachers pull you down. You know what is right and must fight with all of your might to take care of your students.

I apologize for any typos on this post or any previous post. I suck at typing.

Tank
Hello 761tank,

"Institute and fund year-round schooling programs to assist lower achieving students

- Enforce teacher and administrator accountability for student achievement (following the SOL model from the state of Virginia)

- Make teaching a year round profession and provide school systems with the funding to make this occur

- Develop more cooperative education programs with public institutions of higher learning to assist administrators and teachers

- Increase funding and educational opportunities at public HBCUs

- Increase teacher pay and benefit packages

- Devise more stringent disciplinary measures for students (i.e impose martial law in schools)

.....doubt very seriously if the taxpayers, voters, or any concerned parent will go along with this one, because martial law implies a "police state" or heavy police presence.

Besides, plenty of evidence exists to show that more so than the kids, some adults under the employ of the public school system, as it relates to the inner-city, need to police their own actions. The inner-city, including public schools, is already saturated with police officers, narcotics agents, etc., to which heavy police influence has aggravated, an already dismal set of circumstances.

Should any police officer unlawfully violate the U.S. citizenship rights of any student, without just cause, the legal ramifications relating to civil lawsuit for damages, can be very devastating to the financial coffer of a public school district. Parents must be given the right to discipline their own offspring, because in the event police officers take on this responsibility, a child will be seriously maimed, and/or killed by the average police officer.

- Fund and mandate special educational training programs for teachers and administrators

- Provide financial incentives/benefits for teachers to excel

- Mandate school attendance until age 17

- Develop and fund more military style alternative schools for problem kids

- Conduct research on the increased use of behavior altering drugs in schools"

I assume that you are not asking homeowners, and the taxpayers to agree with increased taxation to finance the points that you have defined above.

Besides, the administration, which includes, some members of the board of education, some principals, some teachers, etc., of large public school districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, have mismanaged or misused millions of dollars earmarked for education, and/or the building of new school facilities, to instead squander the money by taking elaborate vacations around the globe, and/or building an educational facility, such as defined by the "Belmont High School Fiasco", on land known to be saturated with deadly hazardous waste buried on property unfit to be used for any public facility, let alone to be used as a site for an educational facility for school children.

The mindset of property owners, and taxpayers is for reduced taxation, for accountability, as opposed to the misappropriation, mismanagement, and/or theft of multi-millions in taxpayer's dollars. Money exists to improve the quality of education for all students, provided the money spent, is spent wisely.

Typically the school administrators, as it relates to the Los Angeles Unified School district, have spent money earmarked for educational purposes recklessly, like a runaway freight train, on projects which are counter-productive as it relates to educational facilities within the inner-city.

In contrast, money spend in affluent areas, is money well spent, because the administrators, the elected officials, the teachers, the principals, etc., know they are bound by law, and they have a fiduciary duty to spend taxpayer's money wisely, or face:

1. being fired.

2. being voted out of political office.

3. recall.

4. being removed from a public position of influence.

5. criminal prosecution, and/or civil lawsuit for damages.

6. any combination of items 1 through 5.

....should the membership of the PTA, and/or other influential members of the community determine otherwise.

Sincerely,

Michael Lofton

[This message was edited by Lofton on January 27, 2003 at 01:00 PM.]
"In contrast, money spent in affluent areas, is money well spent, because the administrators, the elected officials, the teachers, the principals, etc., know they are bound by law, and they have a fiduciary duty to spend taxpayer's money wisely, or face......"

In addition, the number of students on record as it relates to attendance determines how much money is to be allotted to a particular campus. It is certain, that in some instances, affluent areas in the domain of a large public school system, such as the LAUSD, have stolen or taken funding that should have gone to an inner-city school.

Here again, the administrators of each school, as it relates to principals, teachers, etc., have the right or the duty to challenge or seek equity by petitioning the school board member that represents the area in question for redress, in the event it can be proven that any jurisdiction is being cheated out of its' mandated per student capita funding. Such a challenge or issue of equity, or the act of being a "watchdog" to look out for the interest of your own respective school area, will minimize or prevent any school or group of schools from receiving funding to which it is not entitled to receive.

A typical inner-city school gets cheated on both ends as it relates to funding, and/or the assignment of school teachers. The "cream of the crop", as it relates to any highly qualified Black school teacher is assigned to teach in an affluent area, which is generally Caucasian or otherwise. In contrast, the misfits of Caucasian America or otherwise, meaning school teachers whose ability is very questionable, who would ordinarily be washed out, due to their own incompetence, should they be assigned to any school location of affluence, in the suburbs, are assigned in large numbers to teach within an inner-city school. This is intentionally done to mislead or mis-educate Black school children which results in a very substandard public education.

Any Black administrator or otherwise, such as a principal, a school board member, a teacher, or PTA body composed of community residents who agree with the "status quo" of consenting to the brightest in our own Black teachers being sent across town, while allowing misfits from various ethnic groups to be farmed in, while concurrently allowing an inner-city school predominately composed of Black students to be unfairly deprived of mandated based upon per capita funding used to pay for textbooks, computers, audio-visual equipment, etc., can only blame themselves for the very dismal conditions that exist in a typical predominately Black inner-city school.

Sincerely,

Michael Lofton

[This message was edited by Lofton on January 27, 2003 at 04:07 PM.]
There have been so many great points and issues raised here, it's just incredible!! And I think pretty much all of you are right!! (Esp. you teachers ... for who would know better than you??! Smile

Being that I am not an educator and am proverbially 'on the other side of that fence' there are a couple more things that I think go into this whole problem. Starting with the initial subject matter, I believe that at least a part of the flight of the white teachers from our schools is also a basic national issue ... that White people simply don't understand Black people! The majority of them just don't get it! And I don't believe it's anything we can fight or perhaps even change. It is a part of their make-up, of who they are, and our reasonings, ways of thinking, basic common-sensability is something they just don't comprehend. When dealing with our youth, it is imperative that you are able to look beyond the surface of most of them to bring out that inner light that shines in all of them. If you don't know what you're looking for or can't identify it, then your goal may seem out of reach to you. And thus, you leave to find greener pastures.

Watching several of the documentaries that have been on dealing with the race issue, it seems to me, also, that generally speaking, White people are afraid of Black people! Down in their inner being, there is a fear that tends to manifest itself in several different ways! I was thinking today how funny that is, because, truth be told, we used to be even more afraid of them back in the day!! Unfortunately, we had the best of reasons to be ... the uncertainty of Whites all too often carried a high possibility of death, or at the least, serious bodily injury! Eek Not saying that we live in a utopia now, but things have changed! I would go into the reasons I believe this to be true, but this isn't the post for all that, so, I'll switch gears for now! Smile

The problem of our babies raising babies is one that is truly gargantuan in size. You have a young girl who was never taught what she needs to know to be a responsible parent by a mother who doesn't know how to be one herself! Give her a child of school age, and the only responsible adult that child might know would be his/her teacher! The contributions of educators are beyond remuneration! All of you who stay in the field and teach have my undying admiration and gratitude! Big Grin

I don't know if it's our biggest problem, but the issue of funding is the one that can and will make all the difference. Until our students can obtain the proper adequate surroundings and materials which are condusive to knowledge and learning and which help to promote a stronger sense of self-worth, ambition and intellectual growth, we will continue to act like the hampster on his wheel ... running fast, but going nowhere fast!!
Lofton,


You bring out several good points in your post.

Let me address my comment about imposing martial law in schools. The problem teachers are facing is undisciplined students. Good principals with the assistance of their staffs can easily rid themseves of drug dealing teachers. I did not literallly mean lay siege to the schools but we must allow teachers and administrators more leverage when it comes to disciplining their students. We must impose more stringent punishments/consequences at school because parents arent doing their duty at home.

2. Let me address your comment about funding.

I am not asking taxpayers for anything extra because we have to study the training issue and determine how much it is going to cost. I am, however, asking for the government to re-prioritize how it currently allocates its funds. I would disagre with you that taxpayers would not accept increased taxes if they knew it would make education in their communities better. You have touched on a good point. Principals can no longer be in that position because they are the winnningest coach in school history. They must be in that position of authority because they are master instructors and savvy business people. I agree with you that we caanot afford to squander already constrained financial resources. Why do we spend money on building prisons when we could be spending it on alternative schools so that we can educate or troubled kids.

I also disagree with you on your point about money being spent better in suburban areas as opposed to urban areas. I am firmly convinced and there is a plethora of evidence out there that says that money spent on students in urban and rural areas is significantly less than students in suburban areas. If this is true then the problem is not enough funding as opposed to misappropriation. You are right in saying that some of the best teachers and administrators choose to work in suburban areas and for obvious reasons. I agree that the school district and school administrators must fight hard for what is rightfully theirs but you cannot "get blood from a turnip", no matter how hard you try. The "cream of the crop" would stay if they received incentives and comparable pay.

I have seen a lot of the things you spoke about in your post in the Norfolk and Hampton City schools while I was in graduate school. We do not have enough black administrators in the urban areas to truly make a difference. When affirmative action get abolished , thanks to the current regime, we will really have a problem training qualified black administrators.

This problem with inner city schools is a 3rd order impact of slavery and reconstruction. This hurdle is high but not unsurmountable. Make no mistake about it, teachers and administrators regardless of color must be heald accountable for their performances but they must be given the right tools so that they can be set up for success instead of nihilism.
761tank

"I also disagree with you on your point about money being spent better in suburban areas as opposed to urban areas. I am firmly convinced and there is a plethora of evidence out there that says that money spent on students in urban and rural areas is significantly less than students in suburban areas. If this is true then the problem is not enough funding as opposed to misappropriation." by 761tank

No doubt. Given equal or greater funding, inner-city schools can not compete with schools in the suburbs, because of the percentage of funding spent for extra police officers, detention centers, and/or alternative schools for students who must be separated from other students because of disciplinary action. In "suburbia" the learning atmosphere is very conducive to learning, as opposed to the reality of living in the inner-city, where any given day can be a "War Zone" as it relates to any inner-city school, to which any student who graduates from a typical inner-city school, deserves a "Purple Heart", a "Bronze Star", an "Honorary Doctorate", a "medal of honor or valor" for making it out alive.

There is indeed a huge difference between, for instance, an El Camino Real High School, and a Crenshaw H.S. as it related to the Los Angeles Unified Public School system. Crenshaw H.S. being about the best that a predominately Black inner-city public High School has to offer, and El Camino Real High School, whose student test scores, and/or performance rank among the top in the U.S. Both schools are public High Schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District, to which there is absolutely no comparison between the two schools.

"You are right in saying that some of the best teachers and administrators choose to work in suburban areas and for obvious reasons. I agree that the school district and school administrators must fight hard for what is rightfully theirs but you cannot "get blood from a turnip", no matter how hard you try. The "cream of the crop" would stay if they received incentives and comparable pay." by 761tank

Within the LAUSD, teachers are lured to teach in the inner-city with hazardous duty pay, in addition to their normal salary. In many instances teachers and police officers are offered or given the extra incentive of very favorable real estate purchasing privileges to convince a teacher or police officer to remain in the "Ghetto". As reality would have it, this is still not enough to convince top notch teachers to risk being shot at, beaten to death, raped, robbed, etc., as it relates to a Washington High School, Fremont High School, Jordan School, and/or any surrounding neighborhood. Heck, even police officers are slow in responding to the many senseless acts of violence that occur within the "Hood", because should one picture a police officers as being just as human as anyone else, the average police officer makes it his or her business to return to their loved ones, in good standing as well.

"Make no mistake about it, teachers and administrators regardless of color must be held accountable for their performances but they must be given the right tools so that they can be set up for success instead of nihilism."

No doubt. However, few good administrators or teachers are going to risk their lives, risk the well being of their own immediate family members, leave their own families, risk sacrificing personal time, material, and/or assets, to risk losing everything, including life, behind the many senseless acts of violence, and the very deadly unlawful activity that occurs within the inner-city.

It would behoove communities across "inner-city Black America" to improve the quality of life in the "Hood", so that more respect will be shown for life and/or the property of others. Such an improvement will promote growth, as opposed to driving away good individuals, organizations, etc., who strive to be the best that they can be, as it relates to doing the right thing, the constructive thing, as opposed to being very destructive, in every action or reaction.

Sincerely,

Michael Lofton

[This message was edited by Lofton on January 28, 2003 at 06:18 PM.]
Ahhhhh, my brother. Now we are touching on the real issue. Our commnities are in such dire straits because we lack the economic power it takes to fix them. The problem is a by-product of our captivity here in Babylon. We have seen progress here in the past 40 years but not nearly enough in my opinion.

If everything were equitable and utopic, I would strongly advocate segregated schooling. Our kids need strong black role models in our schools that can teach them their history and teach them how to survive and thrive in a racist society.

It is strange to me to find that police are afraid to go into certain neighborhoods yet they continue to exacerbate racial problems in the same communities by continuing racial profiling. Our inner cities are a classic example of Pavlov's experiment in that if you treat someone like animals then they will act that way. The polarization of our inner cities is akin to blatant racism in my book.

Our debate has been interesting and informative to me. I can speak fluently and somewhat coherently about rural and urban schools. You seem to be quite knowledgeable about urban schools.
Hello 761tank

"Our debate has been interesting and informative to me. I can speak fluently and somewhat coherently about rural and urban schools. You seem to be quite knowledgeable about urban schools."

Indeed the discussion has been interesting, and to the point. I've had an advantage in that both of my parents are school teachers. I've lived on both sides of the tracks, as it pertains to the "Hood", and/or areas of strong community affluence.

The first five years of my life were spent in Baltimore, Maryland. The grammar school years of my life, were spent in very good schools, in the States of Alaska, Washington, and Colorado. Because of litigation, and very negative influences beyond the control of both my parents, and/or their siblings I spent over three years of my life in various foster homes, group homes, Mac Claren Hall, other institutions, to which the foster homes and schools just happened to be within the inner-city of the Los Angeles area, school jurisdictions that included John Muir Jr. High, Horace Mann, Jr. High, Washington High School, and Crenshaw High School.

These schools as it pertains to Horace Mann, John Muir, and Washington, were deadly in the 60s, and 70s, so it is not surprising to me, that the death toll has risen. Many of my former classmates are either dead, strung out on illicit drugs, or in prison. An adopted child of a foster parent that I played with in my teens, never made it past age 25, because of senseless Black on Black criminal activity.

In 1971, primarily through the untiring effort on the part of my own family members, namely my parents, the "Joe Pine Radio Show", and one lone Black woman who heard my Mom's appeal to the community of Black America for help in locating her offspring, we were all re-united again as a family, the exception being one sister who remained in the heart of "Watts", until well past age 18.

Not a one of the foster parents had the first legal document to support keeping any one of my sisters, or brothers. You may not believe this but Black people do some very cruel things to each other. Heck, the sister who remained in foster care until age 18 was passed from foster home to foster home between friends, the ring leader being Elder Martha Evans, who made her living by hustling in the name of the "Great Almighty God". My sister was hidden between homes to keep the government benefits for keeping foster children flowing, because losing a single foster child would mean losing AFDC benefits. All of my sister and brothers from age two, to my age at the time, were placed on probation, by Black probation officers, one them being, Probation Officer Elaine Reed, who is now deceased. Neither one of my parents, or their offspring have even been proven criminal, insane, incompetent, etc., nor have my parents ever been found unfit in a court of law to lose the custody of their offspring.

This is yet another chapter, to which eventually the entire story is court documented, and will one day be published for all to read, should they have the interest to read it.

Had I remained in the area it is certain that I would not be alive to discuss this today. However, I wouldn't have it any other way, because indeed, the whole experience has really made me, a much stronger person. It sure feels good to be in the "land of the living" though. I have served time behind bars never to be faced by my accuser, or to have so much as a trial, and/or have faced the music of being illegally convicted for crimes not committed. The same can be said for other members of my immediate family, my parents, inclusive. Again, although a painful and unpleasant experience, it feels good to talk about it, in the light that all my family members are truly innocent and law abiding, as proven by still pending Los Angeles County Superior Court Case #C895188.

One of the High Schools as mentioned is the original breeding ground of the notorious "Crips" gang. "Big Tookie", is one of the original founders of this deadly gang, which has been responsible for killing numerous other Black people, be it gang affiliated or otherwise. "Big Tookie" is presently incarcerated in "Pelican Bay" penitentiary. The probability of certainty is between slim and nill that, "Big Tookie Williams", will ever see the streets again. "Big Tookie" is an alumnus of Washington High School.

Conditions have truly regressed, when articles such as this are printed daily, concerning the seriousness of "Black on Black Crime".

See, "Death at Close Range", Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2002, pages B4 and B5.

"Pagers began sounding throughout the first floor of the Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center shortly after midnight, "Gunshot wound to the head. Male, 33 years old."

A dozen doctors, nurses and technicians filled the trauma bay. They lined up in a semicircle, waiting to receive a South-Central Los Angeles barber critically wounded by a bullet fired at close range.

King/Drew workers see the agony of black homicides every day.

Young black men in Los Angeles County are killed at four times the rate of Latinos, 18 times the rate of white men.

People think, "Why should I have any compassion? They are killing each other," said Dr. Jean-Claude Henry, trauma director at King/Drew. "But I treat them. I get my hands in their blood, inside their chests. And it's the same life.....And when they die, it's the same grief."

On Nov. 17, King/Drew surgeons tried to save John Smith Jr."

"This is very real, and the senseless killing must stop. No one can save us from us but us."

Sincerely,

Michael Lofton

[This message was edited by Lofton on January 29, 2003 at 07:04 PM.]

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