Student: My school district
hires too many white teachers
This is what the teaching corps
should look like, too. (Photo by Matt McClain for The Washington
Students are better off when they can see themselves in their
By Glenn Sullivan
June 26, 2014
Glenn Sullivan, 19, recently graduated from New Orleans' Lake Area
New Tech Early College High School.
High school is full of, well,
high schoolers. We are not naturally the most self-disciplined group. When the
bell ending the lunch period rings, for example, students finish socializing and
playing with their friends rather than rush to class.
At Lake Area New Tech High School
in New Orleans, from which I just graduated, we often talked to girls or texted
each other instead of studying in our spare time.
But one day I started noticing
exceptions. My fifth period history and civics teacher, Mr. Allen, was one of
them. When chaos erupted at the end of the lunch hour, he simply
opened his door and let his students into his classroom.
They filed in
respectfully, unlike in other classes. By the time the tardy bell
rang, we'd all taken our seats and opened our history books, quietly awaiting
Mr. Allen is one of
too few black teachers in a school system where about 90 percent of students are
black, and I think that shared background helped explain our
behavior. Many other teachers cannot control their classes, let
alone get their students interested in the work. Mr. Allen can do
In my school, as in many schools
- especially in reform-oriented school districts - a lot of the
good, black teachers have been replaced by younger white
When I talked to administrators
about the departures of good black teachers, I was told that students need
diversity in order to receive a high quality education.
Students do need diverse
educational experiences, but that diversity doesn't need to be about a teacher's
race. Hiring more white teachers is not the best way to improve education for
students, particularly students of color.
fact that the city's public schools now accept students from all over the city
only makes this problem worse since it breaks the connection between schools and
I firmly believe that
having more local teachers and more teachers who understand the city's social
and political problems can provide students with the training they need to be
successful as students and as adults.
Education is historically
considered to be the thing that levels the playing field, capable of lifting up
the less advantaged and improving their chances for success.
"Play by the rules, work hard, apply yourself and do well in school, and that will open doors for
you," is how Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, puts
But a study published in
June suggests that the things that really make the difference - between prison
and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death - are money and
Alexander is one of the authors
of "The Long Shadow," which explored this
scenario: Take two kids of the same age who grew up in the same city - maybe
even the same neighborhood. What factors will make the difference for each?
To find the answer, the Hopkins
researchers undertook a massive study. They followed nearly 800 kids in
Baltimore - from first grade until their late-20s.
They found that a child's
fate is in many ways fixed at birth - determined by family strength and the
parents' financial status.
The kids who got a better
start - because their parents were married and working - ended up better off.
Most of the poor kids from single-parent families stayed poor.
Just 33 children - out of nearly
800 - moved from the low-income to high-income bracket. And a similarly small
number born into low-income families had college degrees by the time they turned 28.
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Sending Your Children to the WCDC
Saturday University to Improve Their Reading
Dr. Tonea Stewart
was a little girl about five or six years old, I used to sit on the garret, the
front porch. In the Mississippi Delta the front porch is called the garret. I
listened to my Papa Dallas. He was blind and had these ugly scars around
his eyes. One day, I asked Papa Dallas what happened to his
'Well Daughter, he answered, when I was mighty young, just about
your age. I used to steal away under a big oak tree and I tried to learn my
alphabets so that I could learn to read my Bible. But one day the overseer
caught me and he drug me out on the plantation and he called out for all the
field hands. And he turned to em and said, Let this be a lesson to all of you
darkies. You ain't got no right to learn to read! And then daughter, he whooped
me, and he whooped me, and he whooped me. And daughter, as if that wasn't
enough, he turned around and he burned my eyes out!
At that instant, I
began to cry. The tears were streaming down my cheeks, meeting under my chin.
But he cautioned, Don't you cry for me now, daughter. Now you listen to
me. I want you to promise me one thing. Promise me that you gonna pick
up every book you can and you gonna read it from cover to cover. You see, today
daughter, ain't nobody gonna whip you or burn your eyes out because you want to
learn to read. Promise me that you gonna go all the way through school, as far
as you can. And one more thing, I want you to promise me that you gonna tell all
the children my story."
---Papa Dallas Stewart,
telling the story of how he was blinded to his granddaughter Dr. Tonea
Call 773.285.9600 to register
your kindergarten through 9th-grade students for the WCDC Saturday University,
every Saturday, through September 6, 2014. Classes are free and no one will
blind our children for their wanting to
Click Here to See This Story
about Papa Dallas Stewart
Click Here to learn more
about the WCDC Saturday
The chants of "Let's go, West" followed soon after Cameron Bufford's grand slam
danced gently over the right-field fence Saturday.
Now Jackie Robinson West is
headed east to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., after a 12-7
victory over New Albany (Ind.) in the Great Lakes Region final at Stokely
"I was trying to get a base hit,"
said Bufford, West's No. 9 hitter. "But it went over the fence."
The home run came on the first
pitch he saw from New Albany reliever Cody Medley in the fifth inning and gave
West its first lead, 10-7. Bufford trailed Darion Radcliff, Josh Houston and Ed
Howard around the bases before ducking and weaving his way toward home, where
his teammates were waiting eagerly.
"When he hit the ball over the
fence I said, 'Ballgame,'" West manager Darold Butler said. "We had the best
pitcher (Marquis Jackson) in the Great Lakes Region on the mound.
"Games like that are character-builders. It was bound to happen. The good
thing about it is (the contributions) came from everywhere." West outscored
opponents 61-19 in six region games.
The celebration spread to the
stands behind the first-base dugout, where parents, fans and supporters,
suddenly came alive.
"I was just praying it went
over," Bufford's father, Robert Bufford, said. "I'm not just happy for him, but
for the city of Chicago. ... You couldn't write it any better than that."
Call 773.285.9600 for your school, band, cheer
team, National Honor Society, acrobatics team, debate team, dance team, drill
team, chess team, sports team, math team, robotics team, church, community organization, business, fraternity, sorority,
marching unit or social club to participate in one of the best back-to-school
parades in the country.