Let’s see how well I can paint a picture for you to better illustrate what I want to say in this piece. Pretend that you’re a teacher, and you have the opportunity to apply to two different schools in the same district that have an opening in your license area. One school is a private school, the other public.
The private school is an extremely good school. It has a 100% graduation rate, and about 90% of its graduates go on to college. The graduating class usually generates about $4 million in scholarship money per year, and this is out of a class of only 250 students. Because the school is a private school, it can enforce standards of conduct that directly affect the student’s ability not only to attend the school, but even to graduate.
Not only do the conduct standards affect the behavior of the students, but most of their parents actually give a shit about their education because they’re paying tuition in addition to their local school taxes. The parents expect their children to get a good education, and place high academic standards on their kids. After all, who wants to feel like they’re wasting their money? The result is that although kids will be kids, there is virtually zero violence at the school, and the environment is safe for all involved.
The public school across the street has a graduation rate of about 60% each year. Almost half of the students that go through that school will not even graduate high school, let alone attend college. Maybe 10-20% of the 60% of students who graduate each year go on to college. The expectations of conduct at the school are not unlike the private school, but they’re not enforced as rigorously because nearly half the student body would be expelled.
Additionally, many of the students’ parents don’t give a damn about what they do so long as they’re not getting picked up by the police or expelled. Many of these parents did not graduate high school either, and some parents, not all, are the welfare lifers that use their monthly clothing stipends for drugs. Because of these conditions, violence at this public school is through the roof. The school has to have at least 2 police officers on the campus at all times to maintain some semblance of law and order, and it’s fairly often that a student is hauled off for bringing some sort of weapon to school.
Now, given those two scenarios, as a teacher which school would you want to work in more?
The article I read today says that schools whose student body is mostly made up of African American kids have less experienced teachers than schools in the same district whose students are mostly white. Of course, the article says it’s a Civil Rights issue, but it is way deeper than that.
Where you go as a teacher has nothing to do with the race make-up of the school and everything to do with the level of violence and academic performance of the students. Some teachers like to go to the shitty schools because they feel they’re doing some good in the world. Many of them realize that it’s pretty fucking hopeless, and work hard to get into a school that is less violent and one that has better academic performance. The scenario I described above is actually a true scenario. I went to the private school described, and literally right across the street from us was the public school. Out of around 1,000 students, maybe 30 of them were black at my school. Out of about 2,000 students at the public school, there were probably about 200 white kids.
This doesn’t mean that black people are inherently inferior or violent, it’s just a cultural thing. The kids that went to the public school were all about the gangsta thug lifestyle that is perpetuated by rap artists, and their parents simply didn’t give two shits about their education. Those who have been teaching for a while generally try to get into a school that’s not going to have a bomb threat or lock-down every week. I think the reasons are obvious.
This isn’t about Civil Rights, it’s about a culture that keeps these kids down. Maybe when the thug life is no longer idolized as a viable alternative to productive citizenry, then perhaps schools with mostly black children will be less violent?
Does it really make sense to get experienced teachers in to teach a bunch of kids that already don’t give a shit anyway? Doesn’t that seem like a bit of a waste? I know that everyone is entitled to a good education, or at least should be, but that premise assumes that everyone actually gives a shit about getting a good education.