Educators of Color a Non-Negotiable: Students of Color & White Students’ performance in RUSD “Troubling”

The purpose of this protest is simply to address the violation of students’ civil rights in regards to receiving a rigorous public education from RUSD. Our intentions are not to shame anyone though some may feel that way based on the facts outlined throughout this protest. We know educated people across the whole round globe are more likely to fair better than those who lack any kind of post-secondary training. The African American Community has to be acknowledged. The inequities must be eradicated at once. Resources should not be distributed based on a “One Size” fit all model. All schools do not share the same concerns or challenges. The hardships many students and their families face, are more than not, grounded in the negative impact of the academic achievement gap. Education has been referred to as the “great equalizer.” It is said, education levels the playing field for all students despite their origin or street address. I would like to push back on that and say, education helps tremendously, but yet a habitual track record of colossal short comings in eliminating racist beliefs, systemic barriers, and unfair policies. Awful beliefs which lead to disgusting and unwarranted treatment toward too many people of color, and poor whites. The first section of our protest is to address the status of Racine and the public schools’ ongoing disappointment and failure in educating many of its citizens. Some districts are being sued by students of color, for failure to educate.
“A group of former students from five of Detroit’s worst-performing public schools is suing the Michigan Department of Education and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for their constitutional right to access literacy.” The students cannot read or write to a level needed to function throughout a lifetime. https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/11/07/detroit-public-schools-literacy-lawsuit

Racine continues to lead the country as one of the Worse

“For the third year in a row, Milwaukee and Racine are among the worst cities in the United States for African Americans to live, according to a recent report from a financial news company. Black Americans in the two cities make half of the median income of white residents and are nearly 12 times more likely to be put in prison than their white counterparts, according to the report.
24/7 Wall St., a Delaware-based financial company that produces financial news, ranked Milwaukee the worst city and Racine the second worst city for black people to live. Last year, Milwaukee ranked second and Racine ranked third. In 2017, Milwaukee ranked third and Racine ranked fourth.
The company created an index of eight different measurements, including education, income, health, incarceration and achievement gaps between whites and blacks to assess the race-based gaps in the nation’s metropolitan cities. Pamela Oliver, a sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said she has studied incarceration rates across the state. “Segregation and discrimination are preventing the upper ward mobility of black folks who migrated here a generation or two ago. She told WPR that Wisconsin is traditionally a state where white people are more well off than their black neighbors.” The next section of concerns focuses on the achievement gap and how the achievement gap never disappears once school years are over and the negative impact on Racine’s local economy. Retrieved 6/18/2020 from: https://www.wpr.org/report-milwaukee-racine-rank-worst-cities-african-americans-live

What exactly is an achievement gap?
The term “achievement gap” refers to disparities in the academic achievement of specific groups of students (Coleman et al., 1966). The achievement gap now measures four years: by the end of high school, African American and Latino students have skills in literacy (reading) and numeracy (mathematics) that are virtually identical to those of White students at the end of middle school (Lyman & Villani, 2004; Scherer, 2002-2003).
What about the Achievement Gap once school years are over?
The achievement gap exists during school years, but when the school years are over the achievement gap becomes an opportunity gap. In other words, students become adults. In many cases, adults who will not be able to pay for everyday essentials such as food, purchase a home, have access to health, vision, or dental insurance. Again, all due to the everlasting achievement gap.  The achievement gap can impact one’s life time earnings and where they live. In addition, in recent months we have come to realize that COVID 19 has been severely devastating for most of these same Black & Brown communities ravished by high poverty, high crime, high police presence which sometimes results in black deaths, low wages and high rates of babies dying at birth. Lower life time earnings can have a direct impact on where people live and what kids are exposed to as they grow up. Lower life time earnings can very well impact one’s credit score and put up barriers that prevent home ownership and sometimes prevent the opportunity to rent. Consequently, most are forced to live in low credit score neighborhoods. Low credit score neighborhoods can breed a host of negative exposures such as violence and childhood stressors. Low score neighborhoods are inundated with liquor stores, cigarette ads, and corner stores that sell nothing but unhealthy processed food. All of these factors add to negative childhood experiences due to the incessant achievement gap. As a result, school districts across the country have created Social Emotional Learning programs. Now SEL is a billion dollars industry. It’s a cycle of milking poor Black, Brown, & White families. What if we closed the gap for one generation of students?
All school districts including Racine Unified School District have a direct impact on students’ outcomes, local economy, and if other companies are willing to move to relocate to, which ultimately create jobs as well as an improved economy. The first question usually raised by organizations deciding on which city to locate or relocate their business, is the status of the school system. “How great is the school system?” It’s extremely difficult for co-operations with educated employees who have school age children to move to a school system with severe concerns such as RUSD. Racine Unified or any other school district not closing the gap for at least 3 years consecutively have a significant impact on where students live as adults. The next section of this read, explains the possible negative impact of where a student ends up living once they drop out of high school or graduated from high school NOT college or career ready.

The Impact of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects (STEM CAREERS for Wealthy)
For the purpose of providing explicit clarity, it’s necessary to provide research study findings which clearly show that neighborhoods have an impact on people’s beginnings as a child and their outcomes as an adult (Chetty & Hendren, 2017). Where you live is strong predictor of who becomes scientists and inventors. “Neighborhoods in which children grow up shape their lifetime income, college attendance rates, and fertility and marriage patterns” (Chetty & Hendren, 2017). The researchers analyzed more than 7 million families by analyzing de-identified families with IRS records from 1980s. The results of the findings show “neighborhoods affect intergenerational mobility primarily through childhood exposure” (Chetty & Hendren, 2017).

These pictures of abandon streets, dire poverty, and diminished opportunities are barriers to reaching the American dream. Students who attend Horlick, Julian Thomas, Gilmore, Wadewitz, and Jerstad Middle and live on Memorial, Marquette, Douglas, and MLK neighborhoods have the most diminished opportunities due to Horlick’s poor academic outcomes. This is consistent with the other high schools of Racine such as Park and Case. Many of these students will not attend post-secondary schooling and will remain in these neighborhoods. Exposing another generation of children to adverse childhood experiences such as gun violence, child abuse, incarceration of love ones, and extensive exposure to drug abuse. However, the downtown portion of Douglas Street is well maintained and passable streets and yachts. Another picture below shows how poverty impacts living conditions for African American children on Racine’s north side of the city.

The findings also revealed, place matters. Children who grow up in poor environments tend to mimic the same income and outcomes in adulthood as the permanent residents in the community. The same can be said if a child is exposed to improved environments. Secondly, neighborhood matters largely because of differences in childhood exposure, rather than the differences in job market conditions. Third, each year of childhood exposure matters (Good or Bad environments) roughly equals that of a child born in the neighborhood. However, age of the child’s move to an improved environment does matter. For example, moving to an improved environment has less of an impact on adults who are 23 years old compared to a child who moves to an improved neighborhood by age 9 or 10 (Chetty & Hendren, 2017). Retrieved from: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/assets/documents/movers_paper1.pdf

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Consider two American children, one rich and one poor, both brilliant. The rich one is much more likely to become an inventor, creating products that help improve America’s quality of life. The poor child probably will not.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by the Equality of Opportunity project, a team of researchers led by the Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Chetty and his team look at who becomes inventors in the United States, a career path that can contribute to vast improvements in Americans’ standard of living. They find that children from families in the top 1 percent of income distribution are 10 times as likely to have filed for a patent as those from below-median-income families, and that white children are three times as likely to have filed a patent as black children. This means, they say, that there could be millions of “lost Einsteins”—individuals who might have become inventors and changed the course of American life, had they grown up in different neighborhoods. “There are very large gaps in innovation by income, race, and gender,” Chetty told me. “These gaps don’t seem to be about differences in ability to innovate—they seem directly related to environment” (Raj Chetty, 2017).”The discrepancy in who gets patents is not the result of innate abilities, Chetty and his team, Alex Bell of Harvard, Xavier Jaravel of the London School of Economics, Neviana Petkova of the U.S. Treasury Department, and John Van Reenen of MIT, conclude. Children from many different backgrounds excel in math and science tests in third grade, for instance. But it’s the wealthy children who do well in math and science that end up getting patents. Why? Because they have more exposure to innovation in their childhood.” Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/12/innovation-income-chetty/547202/

Student Achievement in RUSD: College & Career Readiness
RUSD’s Vision Statement: All students graduate Career and/or College Ready
DesJardins, Gaertner, Kim, and McClarity (2013), Preparing Students for College & Careers: The Causal Role of Algebra II looked at the impacts of taking Algebra II in high school.

ACT defines college and career readiness as “the acquisition of the knowledge and skills a student needs to enroll in and succeed in credit bearing first-year courses at a postsecondary institution (such as a two or four-year college, trade school, or technical school) without the need for remediation” (ACT, 2020). There are but two courses remedial courses such as English and Mathematics. There are no remedial sciences, social studies, or French courses. So, when observing the state of Wisconsin current data on African American Students’ academic performance in the 2 college ready courses English and Math, the scores are as follows with no change but academic regression. Completing Algebra II is the number one Academic Factor that predicts College and Career Readiness (ACT, 2016). When a student completes Algebra II, they are more likely to preform higher on their college admission assessments such as ACT or SAT, which improves students being admitted into college. “The mathematics courses students take in high school affect their academic achievement and their admission to competitive postsecondary schools and professional programs” (Schiller & Muller, 2003, p. 300). Adelman (2006) states, when students complete high-level mathematic courses such as Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, and Calculus these are the most significant predictors of achieving in postsecondary systems.

Stein, Kaufman, Sherman, and Hillen (2011), research findings suggest there are inequities regarding those who take Algebra in 8th or 9thgrade. This is common for minority students, lower income students, and students whose parents have minimum education (Filer & Chang, 2008; Gamoran & Hannigan, 2000; McCoy, 2005; Shakrani, 1996; Walston & McCarroll, 2010). According to research by Stone (1998), these demographic inequities in Algebra have been evident since the early 1990s in large urban school districts.
Now that we know how American College Testing (ACT) defines college readiness, let’s see how African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites have been performing over the last 4 years in RUSD, based on FORWARD EXAM results retrieved from the Department of Public Instruction in Madison, Wisconsin (2019-20). State scores from the FORWARD exam are strong predictors of determining which students are ready to enter college ready to endure the rigor and expectations college present. In addition, students are not enrolled in any remedial course. For example, when we consider Park High School 2019 student achievement scores in math, 98.2% of African American students did not score at proficiency on the yearly Wisconsin’s State Assessment. This is severely YUCKY.

As it relates to RUSD’s ACT scores, 19.5% of students who took the ACT were proficient or advanced in ELA, a 0.3% increase from the previous year. The proportion of students scoring proficient or advanced on the ACT dropped about from 12% to 10.1% proficient. About 13% of Unified students didn’t take the test (Journal Times, 2019). Wisconsin Policy Forum on Wisconsin ACT data from the past few years, researchers found “areas of concern with declining and stagnant college readiness scores of high school juniors” (Badger Herald, 2020) Retrieved from:

The gaps in the college readiness benchmarks are most prominent among racial lines. This is especially the case for English Language Arts. According to Wisconsin’s ACT data, there was a 43% gap between white students with 57% at the benchmark level compared to 13.3% of African American students. These gaps were also consistent between economically disadvantaged students and other racial minorities across other courses (Badger Herald, 2020).

Park High School’s 3 years Report Card 2019 (DPI, 2019 State of Wisconsin)
English Scores for African American Students (Basic + Below Basic)

2017 94% Failed English 2018 94.4% Failed English 2019 94% Failed English
2017 98% Failed Math 2018 97% Failed Math 2019 98.2% Failed Math
Not College Ready Not College Ready Not College Ready

What’s even more alarming is the fact White students in RUSD are failing at an alarming rate too. 74% of White students failed English at Park High School and 85% of White students failed Math. RUSD has a direct impact of the City of Racine’s current and future economy. At this rate, we can predict the City of Racine’s outcomes for future constituents. Many times, we overlook poverty and poor academic outcomes for White students. It is mandatory to consider all students suffering from poverty.

Whites with the Least Education are Dying Early

“Middle-age white Americans with limited education are increasingly dying younger, on average, than other middle-age US adults, a trend driven by their dwindling economic opportunities, research by two Princeton University economists has found” (STAT, 2017). “Despite advances in health care and quality of life, white middle-aged Americans have seen overall mortality rates increase over the past 15 years, representing an overlooked “epidemic” with deaths comparable to the number of Americans who have died of AIDS, according to new Princeton University research.
The results are published in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from Anne Case, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, and Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs and professor of economics and international affairs.

Although death rates related to drugs, alcohol and suicides have risen for middle-aged whites at all education levels, the largest increases are seen among those with the least education, the researchers found. For those with a high school degree or less, deaths caused by drug and alcohol poisoning rose fourfold; suicides rose by 81 percent; and deaths caused by liver disease and cirrhosis rose by 50 percent. All-cause mortality rose by 22 percent for this least-educated group. Those with some college education saw little change in overall death rates, and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher actually saw death rates decline” (Princeton University, 2015). Retrieved from: https://wws.princeton.edu/faculty-research/research/item/rising-morbidity-and-mortality-midlife-among-white-non-hispanic
https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/23/dying-whites-middle-age-less-education/

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/despair-and-the-white-working-class/

Case High School African American Scores over 3 years: State of Wisconsin Scores 2019 (Basic + Below Basic)

2017 90.2% Failed English 2018 87% Failed English 2019 88% Failed English
2017 95% Failed Math 2018 97% Failed Math 2019 95.2% Failed Math
Not College Ready Not College Ready Not College Ready

Horlick High School State of Wisconsin 2019 African American Students (Basic + Below)

2017 97% Failed English 2018 97% Failed English 2019 94% Failed English
2017 99% Failed Math 2018 99% Failed Math 2019 99% Failed Math
Not College Ready Not College Ready Not College Ready

There is a direct correlation between state assessment Forward and how a student will score on the college admission test such as ACT or SAT. Not MAP (NWEA). Though RUSD and other school districts speak a great deal on MAP Testing growth, MAP Testing scores are showcased more than not to the public for the purpose of appeasing the public. Again, MAP Scores have NO impact to very minimal for improvement on Wisconsin’s State Assessment (FORWARD) or ACT scores.

In RUSD, 19.5% of students who took the ACT were proficient or advanced in ELA, a 0.3% increase from the previous year. The proportion of students scoring proficient or advanced on the ACT dropped about 2% to 10.1% proficient. As a result of COVID 19 interrupting schools in March of 2020, academic performances for all students will suffer. However, students from more stable homes and educated parents are more likely to be exposed to educational opportunities. More than not, this will not be the case for Black and Brown students and RUSD is not providing students with efficient and rigorous learning opportunities. RUSD has failed the City of Racine and they continue to behave as if there is no academic plan tailored to students having unbreakable access to Remote Learning, despite students’ home address. This next section of this protest will focus on African Americans who attended college prior to COVID 19.

Attending College benefited African American Students during the era of COVID 19

For the purpose of providing clarity to RUSD and the community of Racine, I conducted a small investigation on LinkedIn in order to collect data from random African Americans who attended college at an HBCU or any college institution. I wanted to find out if there were benefits to having attended college and safety from COVID 19 pandemic. I also sought information about their jobs and steps their jobs took to protect them (African American) from contracting the many times fatal disease. The results are glaringly clear. African Americans who attended college were less likely to die or contract COVID 19. They were more likely to receive healthcare as well as get regular check-ups from their doctors. Nevertheless, over 63% of the survey participants know someone in their immediate surroundings who either died from COVID or negatively impacted from coronavirus. I now realize that social distancing is a privilege. Many students living in poverty cannot socially distance themselves from others due to living in small hotels, shelters or multiple family members living in one home. In other words, to sit on the other end of the sofa is a privilege we middle class people take for granted. Please view the research findings:

These data findings make it clear that being truly college and career ready matters. Students must be exposed to a highly qualified diverse staff which embraces variance. RUSD’s test scores are strong predictors for who will be successful and who will not. Many students may face plenty of challenges throughout their life. Finally, as you can see from question #13, no matter what part of the country one may decide to live, having a college education or post-secondary training are extremely beneficial coupled with various health care benefits for prolonging a healthy life.

As a result of RUSD supreme failure of educating students of color, we can predict the life expectancy and living conditions of African American Students, Hispanics, & Whites as a result of poor MATH scores. Why? Algebra II is the #1 academic factor associated with college readiness. More than not, these students will suffer from a possible shorten life span and possibly inundated with situations associated with poverty. If there are ever COVID 21, 22, or 23, many of these students who failed the State of Wisconsin Assessment or ACT have increased possibilities of contracting this horrible and sometimes fatal disease. These same students are more likely to live in high crime and violence infested neighborhoods as adults, thus exposing another generation of AA Students to Traumatic Childhood Experiences. RUSD has a direct impact on these awful childhood experiences and the stability of Racine’s economy.

RUSD Mission: Educate every student to succeed. (ESSA -every student succeed act, 2015).

The Core Values are as follows: “Core Values In RUSD, our Vision, along with our Core Values, form the basis of the work we do each day to ensure every student exceeds expectations. Our Core Values were collaboratively developed by teacher and District leaders in a process that gathered input from all employees and RUSD families. Our Core Values reflect the priorities of the District and establish the essential foundations for decision-making and collaborative work. Our Core Values ensure that the organization moves forward in ways that reflect the values and beliefs of everyone. The first Core Value places students at the center of all actions and decisions at the classroom, school, District and Board of Education levels” (RUSD, 2020).

EXCELLENCE. Leadership must value their employees and their contributions to making the organization strong and welcoming. To start living up to the established CORE VALUES, hire more teachers of color. Not just for special education classes or physical education. What about Mathematics, Science, English, and Social Studies?
The next section of this read makes it clear that hiring educators of color matters tremendously.

Research from John Hopkins University: Hire Black & Brown Educators

It is severely clear that RUSD is not living up to their established and documented Core Values as it relates to diversifying the district. Diversity and inclusion of others are the only ways any organization will reach and sustain Excellence.

Hiring Practices in RUSD: According to DPI of Madison, WI (2019), RUSD has 1515 certified and uncertified teachers.

When considering demographics of students in Racine Unified, Whites 38%, African Americans 27%, & Hispanics 28%. When considering the demographics of teachers, there are 86% White, 8.8% Hispanic, and 4.7% African American (3.5% or 53 black females and 19 black males or 1.2% in RUSD). This is amazingly awful and RUSD is not living up to their CORE VALUES. As a result, students are NOT at the core of RUSD’s values.

According to John Hopkins University (2017), “Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, concludes a new study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist. Having at least one black teacher in third through fifth grades reduced a black student’s probability of dropping out of school by 29 percent, the study found. For very low-income black boys, the results are even greater – their chance of dropping out fell 39 percent. The researchers initially studied about 100,000 black students who entered third grade in North Carolina Public Schools between 2001 and 2005. About 13 percent of the students ended up dropping out of high school, while about half graduated, but with no plans to pursue college.
However, low-income black students who were as good as randomly assigned to least one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade, were not only less likely to drop out of school, but 18 percent more likely to express interest in college when they graduated. And persistently low-income black boys — those who got free or reduced-price lunches throughout primary school — who had at least one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade, were 29 percent more likely to say they were considering college (John Hopkins, 2017).

https://releases.jhu.edu/2017/04/05/with-just-one-black-teacher-black-students-more-likely-to-graduate/
John Hopkins University 2017

Remote Learning and RUSD Intentions and Profound Failure to Educate

From March 17, 2020 to July21, 2020, there has been no real teaching and learning happening for RUSD’s students. It has been consistently fragmented at best. There is a colossal amount of concern in the African American Community, but the district of Racine did not adjust to accommodate the communities’ concerns, which is to educate their child(ren) with a guaranteed and viable curriculum. RUSD failed to effectively communicate their virtual plan as a result of having no plan and have no plan today. Doug Reeves a popular researcher of student achievement would call this “Mal-Practice” (2000). Please keep in mind, there are no vaccines or effective treatments for Coronavirus except to distance oneself from other humans. All districts across the country will have to establish a sound and clear safety plan which includes Remote Learning for Fall 2020 and beyond. It is here to stay. Access to public education in many cases will look different or should I say, tailored to 21st century learning.

While schools were being cancelled and the Black and Brown students had no consistent remote learning opportunities or other opportunities to learn, Rosalie Daca continued to provide possible falsehoods to Journal Times and the community about how they were working on Remote Learning for students or why the district is not going to provide devices because of the different levels of poverty as it relates to students. It never fully happened. Parents are still outraged at this major debacle. While Rosalie Daca was disclosing half of the story to parents, she was trying to leave RUSD for predominantly white school districts. These are the districts. Please see the dates of these interviews in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Traverse City, Michigan and the days Rosalie spoke to Racine Journal Times. Here is Eau Claire:https://www.record-eagle.com/news/tcaps-superintendent-search-goes-ahead-virtually/article_08c7caf4-831a-11ea-9f69-f782d0e71a67.html

This evidence may possibly show Rosalie Daca, Chief Academic Officer had other priorities. When their first priority should have been dealing with how to educate students by creating Remote Learning opportunities for students. However, Ms. Daca can’t be blamed in isolation. There are others to blame. The citizens of Racine voted yes on the referendum. Student achievement tied to the $1 billion dollars must be priority #1. African American families are outraged at RUSDs lack of urgency and poor virtual plan. Minority families continue to report there are no teaching and learning opportunities happening. Parents are very afraid their children academic performance will decline more the coming Fall 2020, due to fragmented to no direct instruction along with no teacher modeling expectations. By no means am I criticizing teachers. The platform for teaching opportunities must be a priority for administration in central office.

RUSD & Journal Times Quotes in Racine Journal Times Newspaper
“Some one-to-one districts, such as Waterford High School, have a regimented schedule with specific remote classes scheduled for certain times each day, while others, such as Union Grove High School, assign work through applications like Google Classroom and allow students to finish it any time during a given day.”
Racine Journal Times April 26, 2020.

https://journaltimes.com/news/local/school-shutdown-could-widen-equity-gaps-racine-unified-reveals-high-school-grading-plan/article_8e397209-668f-5c5a-997b-5cc66ed1832e.html

Daca’s quote: “That brings up an equity check as well,” said Rosalie Daca, Racine Unified’s chief academic officer. “We don’t want to create really cool lessons that kids with (internet) access can participate in and then everyone else gets this silly worksheet that’s just not at the same level of quality. So, we try to make sure that’s not happening too, and that’s a lot to consider” (April 26, 2020).

“We are working hard to gather the resources needed to equip our families,” said Stacy Tapp, Unified’s chief of communications and community engagement. “We are also developing plans to ensure we can obtain enough hotspots for families who need them.”

Daca’s quote: “We could give every kid a device,” Daca said. “That doesn’t mean they know what to do with it. That doesn’t mean that they’re used to learning that way. We have to move the teachers and the students to a place where they are comfortable with that and they are used to that.”

Tapp: “We are developing a ‘Re-Entry Plan’ for next school year to address gaps,” Tapp said. “We are partnering with districts across the country to come up with a multifaceted plan which takes into account the extra supports that will be needed like tutoring, extra review, slower pace, etc.; but also preparing for a better transition to remote learning in case we find ourselves in this same situation in the future.”

Daca’s quote: “Racine Unified students will not be required to participate in e-learning days during the shutdown. Chief Academic Officer Rosalie Daca said this is because the district does not know if every student has access to a device and internet to complete their schoolwork” Racine Journal Times, March 17, 2020: https://journaltimes.com/news/local/rusd-not-requiring-online-work-virtual-learning-days-planned-for-west-end-schools/article_b82d28be-5d45-5a1b-87b3-9a30b6c255b2.html


How many black teachers are there in RUSD?

There are 53 AA females (3.5%) and 19 AA males a total of 72/1515 certified & uncertified teachers. 19 African American males equate to (1.2 %) of 1515
Demographics RUSD TEACHERS
Black: 4.8% Hispanic: 7.5% Two or more races: 1.5% White: 85.2% https://publicstaffreports.dpi.wi.gov/PubStaffReport/Public/PublicReport/StaffByEthnicityAndGenderReport


RUSD students Demographics
Black: 25.3% Hispanic: 28.4% Two or more races: 5.9% White: 38.9%
Racine teachers Demographics
Hispanics 7.5%, Black 4.7%, White 85.6%

What is the graduation rate for African American & Hispanic Students?

Why are African American employees fleeing RUSD in record Numbers?

Kevin Brown, Gabriel Lopez, Janet Colvin, Julie Landry, Chelsea Stallworth, Angela Davis, Keona Jones, Jackie Moga, Stacy Kimmins, Gretchen Stewart, Lindsey Blue, Demetri Beekman, Alyson Eisch, and Valencia Koker. This is not an exhaustive list. I named a few.

African American teachers and administrators constantly complain about the amount of unfairness they endure just to maintain their jobs. They complain they are severely needed but severely undervalued. Their voices are not heard. They state they lack professional developments which enhance their skill sets to improve academic success for all students. The same community of RUSD’s educators of color state there are absolutely no opportunities for career advancement due to not being part of the Miller Park (baseball) good ole boy group. The African American educators and the African American community continue to be concern about the inadequate to absolutely no equity training for such a diverse school district. Excellence will never be achieved until school districts operate through a cultural lens (National Equity Project, 2015). The organizational charts below speak volume. We have to ask, why does an awesome diverse city not have people in the organization reflective of the community?

RUSD Organizational Chart of Shame due to severely Lacking Diversity

BOE can also be included. The BOE also lacks diversity.

Dan Thielen and Christie Gajewski are no longer with RUSD. To be extremely clear, many if not all of the people on the charts are our friends. They are great people and have the best interest of all students. Please understand, this protest is not against these employees or teachers. We are asking for more diversity throughout RUSD. We are not a hostile group. We are seeking solutions for the sake of improved student outcomes.

Angela Apmann-Horlick High Jeff Miller-Park High & Cassie Kuranz-Case High

Board Member Mike Frontier’s son Dr. Tony Frontier’s Research on Opening new Schools

The passing of the $1billion dollar referendum was an awesome accomplishment. It’s exciting to know the City of Racine’s students will be moving into new buildings one day. All of the students and teachers deserve state of the art schools. However, the purpose of schooling cannot be overlooked for new windows and shining new door knobs. Student Achievement has to happen as well. Student Achievement should be at the core of schooling. New bricks and parking lots will have absolutely no impact on student achievement.

Vignette 1: “A New School Based on the premise that “smaller is better,” Willow Wood School District was awarded a significant grant to create a small high school, with funding provided for various structural changes that would be required. The grant application had described how the smaller environment would create a more connected, personalized learning experience for students. In the initial months the district addressed complex logistical details and brought in architects to plan for changes to a wing of an existing high school. The district’s IT team began to plan for a new computer network. A planning committee was formed to discuss the mission and vision of the new school. It was decided that teachers would be trained in a comprehensive instructional methodology emphasizing authentic problem solving and workplace readiness. The district brought in a consultant to assist with marketing to appeal to students with an interest in 21st century manufacturing and international business. A school principal was selected. A name, Global Prosperity Academy, was chosen because it aligned with the adopted mission of providing an international education that would prepare students to thrive in a global economy” (Frontier & Rickabaugh, 2014)

“Six months before the opening of the new school, staff members were hired from the existing high school, and they were empowered to make a number of decisions related to curriculum and school structure. The intent was to develop a curriculum whereby students could focus on one of three sets of courses emphasizing workplace-readiness skills, global awareness, or engineering. Each student would have a laptop. The staff chose to implement a block schedule, and rather than using a traditional report card, they decided to use a new standards-based report card. An online curriculum development tool was selected for teachers to develop and track their curricula. By the start of the school year, the building was ready and students were enrolled. Staff had attended two summer workshops to gain a better understanding of authentic problem-solving strategies and workplace-readiness skills. At a parent meeting a few days before school began, the new standards-based report card was distributed, along with a pamphlet explaining the philosophy of the school and its mission statement.

The facility looked great, and the community was energized by the concept of a new, small school with a global focus and lots of computers. On opening day, a crew from a local television station pulled in front of the school, and a reporter spoke with students and others about the opportunities offered by the Global Prosperity Academy. The story that aired that night featured a close-up of the school’s gleaming new sign; a few interviews with excited parents, the principal, and hopeful students; a shot of the impressive computer lab; and a closing scene showing a group of students heading inside as the first bell rang. The prospects of the Global Prosperity Academy had stirred tremendous excitement. Unfortunately, that excitement quickly waned. After a few months it was clear that student achievement was no better than it had been at the large high school—and attendance rates were actually worse. The curriculum was never fully developed around the identified mission and purpose, and factions formed between what students perceived to be the high-achieving engineering group and the low-achieving workplace-readiness group. Two years later, the school was moved to a new site and completely reorganized. The enthusiasm of the early days gave way to finger-pointing, blame, and frustration” (Frontier & Rickabaugh, 2014). Retrieved 6/21/2020: http://www.ascd.org/ascd/pdf/siteascd/publications/books/5levers-excerpts.pdf

Thomas Jefferson Lighthouse-Changing the name to Lloyd Jackson

References

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-dark-side-of-thomas-jefferson-35976004/

https://www.vox.com/2016/4/8/11389556/thomas-jefferson-sally-hemings-book

https://uwm.edu/sreed/wp-content/uploads/sites/502/2019/11/WEERP-Brief-Nov-2019-Race-Relational-Trust-and-Teacher-Retention.pdf

https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/wisedash/pdf/Act%2028%20Remedial%20Course%20Report_2017-11-16.pdf

Questions for RUSD Executive Leadership and Board of Education?

What forms of Equity professional development are available for the entire district? Are all students provided with a guaranteed and viable curriculum with access and without a break in their learning experiences? This must be coupled with certified and qualified teachers in their subject matter.

What types of trauma work are happening for the entire district of RUSD? What plan and action steps are available to address students’ traumatic experiences during COVID 19 & social distancing? Are there certified psychologist, social workers, and counselors available to address the severe trauma? Are there psychologists of color who understands Black and Brown culture because we know having employees of color, provide leverage and understanding? These attributes are necessary for improving concerns students maybe experiencing.

What steps are being introduced to parents and families so they may be able to better address their children academic concerns? How is RUSD working with internal and external stakeholders to improve academic outcomes for African American students and students who live in poverty, despite their race or ethnicity.

Who is responsible for addressing the RUSD’s old and new policies which may be considered discriminatory in 2020? Are parents and community members part of the policy analysis? If not, will you please include a true cross section of Racine’s communities in this process?

Do African American teachers feel supported? Are there several artifacts of evidence disclosing how teachers of color feel about the district’s culture and climate? Just as the Gifford Elementary School principal so eloquently stated, a positive culture and climate is essential, mandatory, necessary and imperative for any organization’s success. If so, please provide to Racine communities. What action steps are being taken to address this situation? Is the plan available for the public? If there are plans to address these pressing ills, how often are they progressed monitored with timely feedback to all teachers, faculty, and principals? Do you have a Culturally Relevant Curriculum for core subjects and more? If so, please provide opportunities for communities to see the Culturally Relevant Curriculum.

https://www.rusd.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Departments/Assessment_and_Accountability/2019-20%20RUSD%20Scorecard.pdf

https://www.rusd.org/district/raising-racine-progress-reports

Summary
The community would like for these concerns to be addressed as soon as possible. The community is paying attention and waiting for sound evidence of plans to address each and every question raised above in this protest for Equity, elimination of structural and systemic barriers, and improved Student Achievement, graduation rates for all students, and more African American, Hispanic, and other teachers of color. This is the only way to reach “Excellence” as a district.

Respectfully submitted,

Black Humanity Coalition
Scott Terry
Daryl Carter
Kimberly Rice
Zakee Darr
Preniece Love
Theres More
Cardell Gallagher
Carl Fields
Brenda Harris
James Ford
Dr. Kevin Wayne Brown
African American Community–We are NOT a hostile group. We seek improved opportunities for all students. This is especially true for African American and Latino students.

Voices of Urgent Concerns!

We are willing to work together! Students of Color must know there are people fighting for their future!

The Gap Between The Science On Kids And Reading, And How It Is Taught

This is an awesome article and I had to share this with my colleagues and friends.

By: CLAUDIO SANCHEZ         February 2018
Mark Seidenberg is not the first researcher to reach the stunning conclusion that only a third of the nation’s schoolchildren read at grade level. The reasons are numerous, but one that Seidenberg cites over and over again is this: The way kids are taught to read in school is disconnected from the latest research, namely how language and speech actually develop in a child’s brain.

Seidenberg is a cognitive scientist and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In his latest book, Language at the Speed of Sight, he points out that the “science of reading” can be a difficult concept for educators to grasp. He says it requires some basic understanding of brain research and the “mechanics” of reading, or what is often referred to as phonics.

I talked with Seidenberg about what it will take to improve reading instruction. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

So how do you explain this to teachers?

Success in reading depends on linking print to speech. There’s a massive amount of behavioral research, neuroimaging research, on brain organization and brain development, which conclusively shows that skilled reading is associated with children’s spoken language, grammar and the vocabulary they already know. It’s about teaching kids the correspondence between the letters on a page and the sounds of words.

And you’re saying that teachers don’t know this?

This basic science does not go into the preparation of teachers. More often they’re told it’s not really relevant, that the science is sterile and has no connection with what teachers do in the classroom.

What I point out in the book is that in order to grasp the research, [teachers] need basic scientific literacy to be able to understand it. They can dismiss [what I’m saying] or they can share my outrage.

Is that the reason you wrote Language at the Speed of Sight? Outrage?

I was motivated by accumulating frustration. I’ve reviewed the science of reading and documented how little impact it has had on educational practice, and I think this is bad. It has put kids at risk for failure.

Reading scientists have been talking about this for a long time and tried to communicate with educators and failed. We have not been able to get the science past the schoolhouse door.

In your book, you wade into the reading wars and argue that the debate over phonics vs. whole language is largely to blame for the poor reading skills of American students. But you say it’s not a question of “either/or.” Kids need to be exposed to great books and rich literature and they need to know the symbols and sounds of letters. Where are we on that front?

The reading wars are over and science lost. Phonics is just one specific component of learning to read that’s important at a particular point in a child’s development. The reading wars did not focus on this, so the conflict was set up in a bogus way.

You say the conflict has been political.

The political solution was called “balanced literacy,” which called on teachers to use the best of both approaches. But it left it up to teachers who had been trained to dismiss phonics and brush off the science.

One interesting recommendation you offer is that college graduates who sign up for Teach for America be hired not as classroom teachers but as an army of reading tutors.

Yes. They could be trained to provide supplemental reading instruction, one-on-one or in small groups. That’s what wealthy people do. They pay for tutors. Poor people can’t.

So I would say yeah, put more people in the classroom or after-school programs who focus on reading and language. This would be helpful.

What about legislation like what Michigan passed recently that prohibits schools from promoting third-graders to the fourth grade unless they can read at grade level? Educators have been supportive of the new law but say the funding for it is sorely lacking. Do you think such a mandate is a good idea?

I don’t think its a good idea if they merely passed a law that says, “You better read.” That’s punishing the kid. There have to be programs and investments to support teachers, students and parents.

You insist that the training and credentialing of teachers is also inadequate, and you single out colleges of education.

It’s clear that ed schools are setting teachers up to fail. [The teachers are] plopped in the classroom to learn on the job because the ideology in ed schools is a “learning by doing” philosophy. I think it’s really a mess.

At the end of your book you recommend that schools of education overhaul the curriculum to make sure newly minted teachers leave with a basic understanding of linguistics and child development. You say states must change their teacher-licensure requirements. And, finally, you want school districts to vastly expand tutoring for children who are struggling to read.

Yes. It’s necessary to get all these folks on board. And indeed, one could see how parents and community leaders would also get on board. I don’t pretend to know how to approach them. What I can do is explain how reading works, how children develop and how we can teach children to read better.

7 Fears You Need to Overcome to Be An Effective Leader

Written by:  LOLLY DASKAL

Everybody has fears—and that means every leader has fears. But not letting those fears get the best of you is an important part of successful leadership. If you don’t learn to manage your fears, you’ll be tempted to take the kind of shortcuts that undermine your authority and influence. Here are seven of the most common fears that leaders, in particular, need to look out for:

The fear of being seen as an imposter. If you secretly feel you’re not really good enough or smart enough for leadership, you’re not alone. But left unchecked, those feelings can do harm to your effectiveness. Fear can make you forget everything and want to run. Instead, leverage your fear by experiencing it and being great anyway. As Mark Twain once said, courage is the resistance to fear, not the absence of fear. You can feel the fear and still be who you want to be as a leader.

The fear of being criticized. Facing criticism is part of the territory of leadership. You don’t have to let it bother you—in fact, you should be concerned if you never hear criticism, because that means you’re probably playing too safe. Think of it this way: If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success. So don’t fear criticism but take it in stride and strive to be your own best and meet your own standard of excellence. On the other side of your fear is everything you need to be.

The fear of being a failure. When you fail as a leader, you get everyone’s attention. Failure is something we all fear, but it doesn’t have to mean it’s fatal to your leadership— think of failure as simply part of succeeding. When you become afraid to fail forward, you end up missing out on new learning experiences and new opportunities. In the end we regret only the chances we didn’t take.

The fear of not being a good communicator. Not everyone is born to be a great communicator, but good communication skills are essential to leadership. if you are fearful that you’re not good at communicating in a compelling way—in a way that inspires and motivates others—practice your speaking or writing skills. The more you practice and rehearse and revise, the more confident you will be and the less fearful you will become.

The fear of making hard decisions. As a leader, you need to be able to make hard decisions without getting stuck in “paralysis of analysis”—taking too long to choose because of indecision. A lack of decisiveness can cripple any business or organization. Hard choices are sometimes necessary without much time to reflect. Make the best decision you can based on where you want to go, not where you are, and then move on.

The fear of not taking responsibility. As the saying goes, with much power comes much responsibility. To take responsibility you have to first realize that your leadership is the cause of and the solution to the things that matter, and you can’t escape that responsibly by postponing or evading it. The moment you move past your fear and take responsibility is the moment you can change anything.

The fear of not getting it done. In today’s global economy, effective leadership is defined by results—but, as we all know well, there are hundreds of distractions and millions of diversions that can get in the way. If you’re fearful you won’t get the job done, stop focusing on the results you want and concentrate on the actions you can take right now that will lead to those results.

Lead from within: These are just a few of the possibilities. The leaders I coach have all kinds of fears. Whatever form your fears take, once you learn you can tackle them head-on you’ll quickly realize you can handle anything.

 

Why I’m Against Innovation in Education

Education policymakers are too driven by fads—at the expense of tried and true approaches
By Mike Schmoker
May 1, 2018

I’m against innovation in education—as currently conceived and conducted. I’m not against small-scale educational experimentation, where new methods are tested, refined, and proved before they are widely implemented. But I’m against our inordinate obsession with what’s new at the expense of what works—with exceedingly superior (if much older) evidence-based practices. The difference in impact isn’t slight: Michael Fullan, an international authority on education, believes that our best high-leverage methods produce “stunningly powerful consequences” in schools. And they will do so, as professional-development expert Bruce Joyce has noted, “very rapidly.” Our willingness to recognize and act on this difference may be the central educational issue of our time.
Consider John Hattie’s research on the power of formative evaluation and feedback. His exhaustive studies confirm what we’ve known since the 1960s: that ongoing monitoring and adjustments to teaching, informed by feedback, may have more impact on learning than any other instructional factor.
Doug Lemov concurs. In his mega-best-selling book, Teach Like a Champion, he identifies “checking for understanding” as the pivotal element in an effective lesson.
I know teachers in two different schools in the same district whose adoption of these methods contributed to enormous one-year, whole-school gains on their state writing exam. After learning of these incredible gains, I joined these teachers to advocate the expansion of their efforts in their district—but their successes were entirely ignored. To our astonishment, their respective school leaders opted to pursue a string of popular—but weak or unproven—innovations, including SmartBoard training and standards-based grading.

Or what of New York City’s New Dorp High School? With the struggling school in danger of closure by city officials, the principal decided to go all in on exceedingly traditional instruction in reading, public speaking, and writing in every discipline. In just two years, the school made immense gains and is now a mecca for visitors. As author Peg Tyre explained in a 2012 article in The Atlantic, the school’s success was not a function of innovation or experimentation, but of old, proven instructional “fundamentals that schools have devalued or forgotten” (my emphasis). As Tyre points out, the fundamentals-first instructional model on which New Dorp based its program “would not be unfamiliar to nuns who taught in Catholic schools circa 1950.”
And then there’s the simple power of curriculum. Nothing cutting-edge here. Yet meta-analytic evidence from Robert Marzano and other researchers indicates that a coherent curriculum—if implemented—has more impact on learning than any other in-school factor. Not long ago, I attended an award ceremony for a school in Arizona that ranked in the top three for statewide gains in math. They achieved this in a two-year period, a direct result of having teams of teachers map out, for the first time, what they would teach in each math course, by grading period. I’m friends with an elementary school principal in Boston who persuaded his faculty members to do the same for every course at his high-poverty school. Scores rose, in his words, “with amazing speed”: from the bottom to the top third in the state, in a single school year.
Finally, consider working-class Brockton High School, in Massachusetts. Brockton was among the lowest-achieving schools in the state. The faculty responded to dire performance indicators by making “reading, writing, speaking, and reasoning” in every subject area their mantra. In 2001, the first year of their effort, the state’s education commissioner called to inform them that Brockton had made the largest gains in the commonwealth. In the next few years, Brockton rose from the bottom rungs to the top 10 percent in Massachusetts.
Perhaps the most promising fact about the best evidence-based practices is that they are currently the least implemented. Because of that, their use would have a swift and substantial impact in thousands of schools and on millions of students. But not if they continue to be supplanted, as they now are, by innovations like the flipped classroom, student-centered learning spaces, teaching with mobile apps, gamification, or the now-ubiquitous variations on personalized learning. Not one of those ranks high on any list of what’s most effective. What researchers Thomas B. Corcoran, Susan H. Fuhrman, and Catherine Belcher wrote years ago in their study of professional development is still true: Those in charge of what teachers learn are not an “evidence-based community.” They are driven, on the contrary, by “whims, fads, opportunism, and ideology.”

When I donated a kidney to my sister, the doctors didn’t experiment on her with the latest anti-rejection drugs. They gave her the best, evidence-based anti-rejection medicine available at the time—Cyclosporine. And it saved her life.
We have a pretty stark choice: We can either implement the best we know or continue to treat students and teachers like lab rats. It’s time for education to make the leap to a more authentic professionalism—by giving innovation its due, but never letting it supplant or precede those practices that would produce “stunningly powerful consequences” in our schools and in the lives of students.
Mike Schmoker is an author, speaker, and consultant. He is the author of Focus (ASCD, 2011) and Leading with Focus (ASCD, 2016).

Do Educators’ Mental Models Impact Student Achievement

Just today May 23, 2018, my colleagues were talking to me about the “Achievement Gap” and “Equality.” One stated, “After so many years, very little has changed as it relates to closing the gap which continues to linger between Hispanics and White Students as well as African American and White students.” My reply, “Well that’s absolutely true.”  Due to reflecting on that conversation,  I have been motivated to write out my thoughts.

So, I am wondering how do we educators and the implemented systems or barriers contribute to the widening of the ever pressing achievement gap that shows up on multiple metrics such as the American College Testing (ACT), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Measurement of Academic Performance (MAP), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), as well as state assessments such as the LEAP of Louisiana. Research consistently provide evidence, despite ethnicity and social economic status of students, there is a smaller and more manageable achievement gap when students enter kindergarten. Consequently, as students persist through secondary schooling the gap widens. “Why?” What happens for students who attend school 90% of the time but still suffer from the achievement gap?

These questions led me to think about our mental models. Mental Models are “deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action (Senge, 1990). Very often, we are not consciously aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behavior” (Senge, 1990). Sometimes we are not aware of the negative impact on certain students’ academic success.

Explanation of the Achievement Gap

There are many thoughts as to why there is an achievement gap. For example, there are views on what happens at home or in the community and what happens within the walls of the schoolhouse (Ford, 2008). It is clear educators cannot control what happens at home. However, at school many times teachers’ mental models of poor students or students of color are extremely low. As a result, we get what is known as a dumb down curriculum.  In other words, Algebra II of the 1990s is not the same Algebra II in the 21st Century.  To many teachers severely do not believe all students can learn if given increased time on task, necessary supports, and interventions supported by prioritized standards with aligned common formative assessments.

Nevertheless, teachers and principals are in control of the schoolhouse and they should be using data sets to drive instructions every hour of the school day for every student. Subsequently, strong negative mental models of certain groups of students may very well impede teachers from operating in good faith in regards to students of color and their parents who do not have loud voices and possibly less educated ( Noguera, 2012).

It is imperative for principals, department chairs, and administrators to challenge the mental models of implicit biases. This should be a non-negotiable. Those responsible for educating students should be held accountable. Why? Because for many students its truly a matter of life or death. Education breaks poverty. Educated citizens have more opportunities because doors are open for them. Educated citizens are more likely to have insurances such as health, vision, dental and opportunities for homeownership. “The American Dream.”

As of 2014, there are more children of color in public schools than there are students from the majority group. I point this out in order to make the case of how important it is to hold all accountable. There are now more students of color in public school. The very populations who tend to significantly lag behind white students.

“Of the projected 50.7 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in fall 2017, White students will account for some 24.4 million. The remaining 26.3 million will be composed of 8.0 million Black students, 13.6 million Hispanic students, 2.8 million Asian/Pacific Islander students, 0.5 million American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 1.5 million students of Two or more races. The percentage of students enrolled in public schools who are White is projected to continue to decline through at least fall 2026, as the enrollments of Hispanic students and Asian/Pacific Islander students increase” (National Center Educational Statistics, 2017).

As leaders, we must lead with integrity and we must lead with students at the core of every decision that we make. Stay WOKE!!

Standards, Curriculum, and Assessments

 Standards are skills and knowledge students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a lesson, chapter, unit, semester, or school year. Standards are constant and tend not to change from grade level to grade level.  What students should know and are expected to do comes from various cross sections of society such as schools, parents, military, businesses, colleges & universities, and communities. Curriculum on the other hand is flexible and can change from day to day. It’s the material and resources used to help students master the necessary skills or improve readiness.

Since knowledge is intangible or unable to be grasped because it’s inside students’ head, educators must administer assessments or other forms of measurements for the purpose of determining what students know, do not know, or partially know. Formative assessments  which are assessments for learning, provide the instructor tangible insight as it relates to what students know or their readiness level. This valuable insight should be used by educators  to adjust their actions or strategies. Therefore, formative assessments are essential for progress monitoring knowledge gained or not while proceeding with teaching and learning.  Just as a doctor who uses diagnostic tools to determine health levels such as a thermometer, a stethoscope, or blood work and prescribe a treatment plan, a check of mastery by the teacher can design the treatment the student needs in the form of  pathways to enable students to attain the skills that have been determined necessary for the student to know. During the teaching and learning process, formative assessments or checking for understanding should be immediate in order to provide students with immediate descriptive feedback that allow students opportunities to work toward meeting the identified purpose, goals or targets.

 

Why Great Leaders Expect Everyone to Be Great

This is a great article for any leader who challenges the status quo. This article validates you. I really like this one. I hop you do to. This article is written by LOLLY DASKAL.

Great leaders expect greatness from themselves and in turn they challenge others to be great too.

They challenge people to do better, be better and to meet a higher standard.

They do it because settling for substandard, low quality, second rate leadership is not an option.

Great leaders set high standards for their own performance, and for those around them.

Leadership is about service to others, being your best so you can offer your best.

The high standards of great leaders extend beyond the work they do include being a person of character, a leader of integrity and one who inspires the same in those around them.

Here are some of the ways great leaders elevate the standard for themselves and for others:

Establish clarity. Standards reflect values, so before you establish or change them you need to know with certainty what’s most important to you and communicate that with clarity. When you’re clear on values, making decisions becomes much simpler.

Show self-respect. Never lower your standards for anyone or anything. The self-respect that comes with firm standards is everything. Whatever everyone around you is doing, stay true to your ideals. Do what you need to do and do it with meaning and purpose.

Passionately protest mediocrity. “Good enough” are some of the most dangerous words a leader can hear. Nothing great was ever established on a foundation of mediocrity. Always demand more from yourself than anyone else could ever expect.

Never let anyone tell you your standards are too high. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself and your team. When you shift your standards you create change—positive change when you raise standards, negative change when you lower them.

Protect your standards. Make sure people know what’s expected, and be consistent in enforcing those expectations. If you allow disrespect, that’s what you’ll receive.

Never apologize for demanding excellence. Never apologize for high standards. Those who rise up to meet them are the ones you want around you; those who try and need help are the ones you can work with; and the ones who reject it aren’t your people anyway.

Lead from within: When it comes to standards, one thing I’ve found to be true: However high or low you place your standards, that’s how far people will rise.

The Purposeful Silencing of Black Women in Educational Leadership

Thought this was a fascinating take on African American women and Leadership.  Article by Rebecca Lais.

By Contributor Rebecca Lais

“Aggressive.”

“Strong-willed.”

“Passionate”

— have been words falsely labeled as simple descriptors when in actuality, they are evidence of the continued sexism and racism that plagues our society. Women in leadership have always faced adversity and are still seen as second-rate citizens in our country. We see this play out on a national level, but we also see this through daily interactions with those of privilege.

Naively and ignorantly, I believed that we as women shared the same experience. It wasn’t until I was under the leadership of an incredible, Black, female leader, that I realized I was horribly wrong.

During my three years as a middle school English teacher in Tulsa, Okla. I had the opportunity to work under the tutelage of a phenomenal Black, female principal. She embodied the vision of not only equality but equity for our scholars, and she specifically combated the school-to-prison-pipeline narrative through our restorative justice program.

She worked tirelessly and fiercely on behalf of her students. Yet, through several interactions and conversations I observed, she was unfairly labeled as

“too difficult to work with” or “too pushy.”

As a Black woman in a white male/white female dominated arena, her experience is utterly different than those who enjoy the perks of privilege and one all too well-known by her fellow Black women leaders.

One such example that comes to mind is a meeting I attended as a Special Education teacher. Our principal was explaining to a district-level worker (a white female) that one of our scholars needed additional behavioral assistance due to several concerning situations which our school was not qualified to address. We were then told the district did not have the financial resources to help “all students,” and we would have to make due.

As our principal was advocating for our scholar, the employee begins to talk over her, turns to me and asks me to “reason with her.” I can’t help but wonder if our principal had been white or male, would she have been deemed as “unreasonable”?

As I’ve known our principal and as we’ve discussed her experiences as a black, female leader, she’s shared various memories that she’s given me permission to share. She recalls a time when she had to ask the Assistant Principal, an African-American man, to lead certain conversations with district-level employees because she knew her voice would not be heard and our scholars would lose opportunities as a result.

She also describes a conversation with another Black woman who told her that her long braids were “unprofessional” for a principal. Too often to count, she’s been told by fellow colleagues that her voice is “too stern” or her approach is “too dominant.”

She has faced discrimination from all sides, and yet she still continues. When I asked her why she remains committed to her work as a principal in Tulsa, she said,

“I want our young, black women to know they don’t have to change who they are because of what our society tells them to be. They may not be accepted for who they are, but that is not their responsibility. They need to see black women in leadership who refuse to let prejudice dictate how they will live their life. I want them to own who they are because we need them.”

It is not the responsibility of black women to tailor who they are and how they express themselves because of our white and male-dominated society.

It is not the right of others to label anyone as “too” of anything.

We need black women in leadership.

Our country is evidence of that right now. We need our young, black, female scholars to see their reflection in leadership and to see how each of them can make our nation better.

The Purposeful Silencing of Black Women in Educational Leadership 

 

College and Career Ready Workshop!!

This workshop will provide valuable information to parents and students. During this workshop parents will have the opportunity to raise important questions with a panel of educators from Columbia Public Schools, Mizzou & Columbia College.

Time: January 18, 2018

Address 1818 West Worley, Columbia, Missouri

Teacher perceptions and race

Fixed mindset compared to growth mindset.  Fixed mindsets work against the achievement of all students. When educators are of the mindset that all students cannot learn, he or she may be in the wrong profession.  This article from Brookings (Brown Center Chalkboard) sheds light on how teachers’ perceptions of their students can be harmful if teachers’ perceptions are fixed and they are opposed to a growth mindset.

(The young girl in the picture insisted on showing me what she learned in her ballet class.  I allowed her to demonstrate because I believed in her). Growth mindset. She was overjoyed to show me and her peers. Awesomeness!!

By: Dick Startz Monday, February 22, 2016

When it comes to student behavior, what’s polite or rude—what counts as acting out versus what’s seen as healthy youthful exuberance—depends not only on actual behavior but on how teachers read behavior. Black and white American cultures are still sufficiently different in that how teachers read behavior depends in part on the teacher’s race. New research shows that black and white teachers give very different evaluations of behavior of black students. When a black student has a black teacher that teacher is much, much less likely to see behavioral problems than when the same black student has a white teacher.

New research by Adam Wright, “Teachers’ Perceptions of Students’ Disruptive Behavior: The Effect of Racial Congruence and Consequences for School Suspension,” documents that black teachers have much less negative views of black student behavior than do white teachers. (Conflict of interest notice…hmmm no, braggin’ notice: Wright is one of my PhD students.) Wright looks first at teacher evaluations of behavior, and then at data on school suspensions. Let’s begin with the teacher evaluations.

Wright uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to follow the experience of more than 20,000 students in kindergarten, first, third, and fifth grade. During the elementary school years, teachers were asked to assess a number of noncognitive skills. The measure of interest here is “externalizing problem behaviors,” which asks how often the student “argues, fights, gets angry, acts impulsively, and disrupts ongoing activities.” Notice that we see a measure of teacher perception, rather than counts of disciplinary events. Wright focuses on externalizing behavior because this measure is highly correlated with school suspensions.

On a scale in which the average measure of externalizing behavior is normalized to zero, white and Hispanic students average -0.07, while black students average +0.37. (Asian students average -0.38.) So on average, black students are viewed as having much worse behavior—which presumably reflects some combination of objectively worse behavior and perceived worse behavior.

Wright does something very clever, taking advantage of the fact that students are observed several times and that we know which students are in which classes with which teachers. Wright asks how black students are rated by black teachers, controlling for both the average rating of an individual student by all his teachers and for the average rating a particular teacher of all of her students in a given class. What this means is that Wright can identify how a black student’s behavior is perceived by a black teacher as compared to how the same student is perceived by white teachers. The procedure also adjusts for the possibility that black teachers are just more “easy going,” because the average rating given in a class is effectively subtracted off. So Wright is arguably identifying a causal effect of black students being matched with black teachers.

BEING RACE MATCHED MATTERS A LOT FOR BLACK STUDENTS BUT NOT FOR OTHERS

Bottom line: black teachers are much less likely to find problems with black students than white teachers are with the same students. The difference is enormous, accounting for about half the black/white externalizing behavior gap. (Remember that the data does not tell us whether black teachers have different perceptions of black students or whether student/teacher race matching leads to objectively different behavior.) For black students, being matched with a black teacher matters.

How about white or Hispanic students being matched with white or Hispanic teachers, respectively? Nope, no discernable differences in externalizing behavior. (To be clear, black teachers rate white students about the same as do white teachers.) In other words, being race matched matters a lot for black students but not for others.

Wright drills down further. First—and this is probably unsurprising—the effect of race matching is entirely due to the evaluations given to black boys. There isn’t a noticeable difference for black girls. Second, the effect of matching is limited to the year of the match. When Wright checked reports of black students when they were assigned to white teachers following a year with a black teacher he found no lingering effects of that year of being race-matched. This suggests that the findings reflect teacher perceptions rather than real behavioral differences since we might expect improvements in behavior to persist the following year—and that’s not what happens.

HOW SUSPENSION RATES BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE STUDENTS PLAY INTO RACE MATCHING

Wright then turns to the question of suspension. As is well known, black students are much more likely to be suspended than are white students. Wright shows that the more times a black student is matched with a black teacher, the less likely that student is to be suspended. Unfortunately, the data does not note the grade in which a suspension happened. It is reasonable to speculate that most suspensions come in later grades and that the finding is due in part to the effect of student-teacher race matching in earlier grades. We can’t be sure of this however, and some part of the finding may also be due to fewer suspensions of black students during years they have black teachers.

The difference in suspension rates is large. Taking these findings at face value, Wright estimates that if we doubled exposure of black students to black teachers, the black-white suspension gap would fall in half. Because of data limitations, it’s not possible to test whether black students’ likelihood of suspension changes when they move from a black teacher to a white teacher. Instead, Wright looks at black students who enter the same school at kindergarten but are exposed to different percentages of black teachers through eighth grade. So the causal interpretations about suspensions are less certain than are the interpretations about behavior reports.

In summary, black teacher perceptions about the behavior of black boys is very different than the perceptions of white teachers. This doesn’t happen for other racial groups. None of this necessarily suggests malice or prejudice or favoritism on anyone’s part. It does suggest one more way that race still matters in our schools.