Dr. William Darity | Duke Consortium on Social Equity

Dr. William Darity | Duke Consortium on Social Equity


>>AND TO CONTINUE THIS SUBJECT
ABOUT POVERTY IN EDUCATION, HERE’S DR. SANDY DARITY. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.>>GLAD TO BE HERE.>>NOW, WE SEE STORIES ABOUT
EDUCATORS WORKING AGAINST THE ODDS IN HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS AND
WORKING TO TRY AND ENGAGE STUDENTS. IN YOUR RESEARCH, WHAT HAVE YOU
SEEN AS SOME OF THE CHALLENGES HAPPENING IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS?>>SO I THINK THE PRIMARY
CHALLENGE IS THAT WE ACTUALLY DIVORCE KIDS OR LOSE THEM DURING
THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL YEARS. AND WE DO THAT BY GIVING THEM A
CURRICULUM THAT’S NOT PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING, NOT
INTERESTING, THAT DOESN’T STOKE THEIR IMAGINATIONS, DOESN’T KEEP
THEM ENGAGED WITH — WITH SCHOOL AS A PLACE THAT IS EXCITING AND
A SOURCE OF INTEREST. I THINK THAT WHEN WE GIVE KIDS A
VERY CHALLENGING CURRICULUM FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF THEIR
SCHOOL YEARS, THEY STAY ENGAGED. THEY’RE VERY EXCITED ABOUT
SCHOOL, AND THEY MAINTAIN THAT IN FUTURE YEARS. SO FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, THE MOST
IMPORTANT CHALLENGE THAT WE FACE IS ENSURING THAT ALL OF OUR
CHILDREN GET A HIGH LEVEL CRITICAL THINKING CURRICULUM
FROM THE VARIOUS — FROM THE VERY EARLIEST YEARS THAT THEY’RE
IN SCHOOL.>>WELL, LOOKING AT THAT, HOW —
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT STUDENTS ARE ENGAGED,
ESPECIALLY WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES IN
SCHOOL. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT MAKING SURE
THAT THEY ARE INSPIRED?>>WELL, I DON’T THINK THAT
AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES ARE ANY DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER
STUDENTS. AND I THINK THAT THE FACTORS
THAT MIGHT CAUSE THEM TO LOSE INTEREST IN SCHOOL ARE MUCH THE
SAME AS ANY OTHER CHILD. SO — SO THE QUESTION IS, WHAT
DO WE DO TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL KIDS REMAIN ENGAGED IN SCHOOL,
AND I THINK THAT ONE OF THE PROGRAMS THAT SHOWS A GREAT DEAL
OF PROGRESS AND PROMISE IS A PROJECT CALLED BRIGHT IDEA OR
BRIGHT TOMORROW. AND THIS IS A CURRICULUM AND
INSTRUCTION REFORM THAT’S AIMED AT PROVIDING ALL KIDS WITH A
GIFTED LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION. AND THIS IS FROM THE
KINDERGARTEN YEARS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PLACES IN
NORTH CAROLINA THAT HAVE EXPERIMENTED WITH INTRODUCING
THIS CHANGE INTO THEIR SCHOOLS. THE FIRST SCHOOL THAT I VISITED
TO SEE THAT WAS USING PROJECT BRIGHT IDEA WAS THOMASVILLE,
NORTH CAROLINA. THERE’S A PROJECT THAT’S HEADED
BY ONE OF MY COLLEAGUES AT DUKE, ANGEL HARRIS, THAT HAS
INTRODUCED PROJECT BRIGHT IDEA INTO THE WAKE COUNTY SCHOOL
SYSTEM. AND OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THESE
PROGRAMS IS THAT WE FIND THAT ALL THE STUDENTS DO MUCH BETTER
NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF BEING CRITICALLY ENGAGED IN SCHOOL BUT
ALSO IN TERMS OF THEIR PERFORMANCE ON THOSE — THOSE
INDICATORS WE LIKE TO USE LIKE STANDARDIZED TESTS. SO — SO I WOULD THINK THAT IT
WOULD BE VERY WISE FOR MANY OF THE SCHOOLS TO TRY TO REPLICATE
WHAT HAPPENS IN PROJECT BRIGHT IDEA. AND LET ME ADD, THE KEY
DIMENSION OF PROJECT BRIGHT IDEA IS THE FACT THAT YOU ACTUALLY
HAVE TO RETRAIN THE TEACHERS IN AN INTENSIVE WAY SO THAT THEY’RE
PREPARED TO PROVIDE A HIGH LEVEL OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION TO
ALL THE STUDENTS, NOT JUST STUDENTS WHO ARE PRESUMABLY
IDENTIFIED AS BEING ESPECIALLY GIFTED.>>NOW, A RECENT REPORT CAME OUT
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, AND IT SHOWED
INEQUALITIES IN EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS OF COLOR. AND IT CITED INEXPERIENCED
TEACHERS AS WELL AS LACK OF SPECIFIC CLASSES AND HARSHER
PUNISHMENTS.>>YEAH.>>WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS
REPORT?>>WELL, I THINK THAT FREQUENTLY
WE LOOK AT YOUNG BLACK MALES AS BEING DIFFERENT. BUT WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO ARGUE
IS DIFFERENT IS THE WAY IN WHICH THEY’RE PERCEIVED AND TREATED
FREQUENTLY. AND SO THAT CAN LEAD TO AN OVER
EXCESS OF PUNISHMENTS THAT THEY MIGHT BE CONFRONTED WITH WHEN
THEY DO SOMETHING WRONG. AND WE DO HAVE A LOT OF EVIDENCE
THAT, YOU KNOW, IF A BLACK MALE DOES SOMETHING THAT’S WRONG AND
A WHITE MALE DOES SOMETHING THAT’S WRONG AND IT’S SIMILAR
THAT THE BLACK MALE IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS LIKELY TO GET
THE HARSHER PUNISHMENT. PART OF THIS IS WHAT WE CALL
PRE-ADULTIFICATION. THAT’S A MOUTHFUL. BUT THE IDEA IS THAT FREQUENTLY
YOUNG BLACK MALES ARE TREATED AS BEING OLDER THAN THEY ACTUALLY
ARE. SO A 9- OR 10-YEAR-OLD BLACK
MALE MIGHT ACTUALLY BE TREATED AS IF HE WERE 13 OR 14 YEARS OF
AGE. AND SO PEOPLE DON’T RESPOND TO
THESE KIDS IN A DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE WAY, AND THEY MAY
PROVIDE EXCESSIVE PUNISHMENTS OR ADMINISTER EXCESSIVE PUNISHMENTS
FOR THEM. A LOT OF THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE
WAY IN WHICH TEACHERS PERCEIVE THE KIDS. AND SO ONE OF THE DIMENSIONS OF
PROJECT BRIGHT IDEA IN THE RETRAINING PROCESS IS TEACHER
DISPOSITIONS TOWARDS KIDS, BY RACE, BY GENDER, BY AGE, ETC.,
ARE SOMETHING THAT’S ADDRESSED VERY, VERY CLOSELY WITH AN
EFFORT TO HAVE TEACHERS GAIN A DIFFERENT WAY OF LOOKING AT KIDS
AND ACTUALLY TREATING THEM AS KIDS IN MUCH THE SAME WAY.>>NOW, ARE THERE OTHER WAYS
THAT TEACHERS CAN GET INVOLVED TO MAKE SURE THAT — THAT EVERY
STUDENT, NO MATTER WHAT BACKGROUND, IS READY TO TAKE ON
PERHAPS COLLEGE AND OTHER TYPES OF ACHIEVEMENT?>>WELL, I MEAN, AGAIN, I THINK
THAT THE KEY IS TEACHERS HAVE TO BE COMFORTABLE ABOUT TRYING TO
PROVIDE A HIGH LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION TO ALL THEIR
STUDENTS. AND SO WHATEVER WAYS IN WHICH WE
CAN BETTER PREPARE TEACHERS TO DO THAT, THEN WE’RE MORE
EFFECTIVE IN ACHIEVING THE AIMS THAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.>>NOW, WE HAD TALKED EARLIER
ABOUT COMMUNITY, BECAUSE AT ONE TIME IT SEEMED LIKE WHEN — WHEN
YOU WERE INVOLVED — WHEN KIDS WERE INVOLVED IN EDUCATION, IT
WAS LIKE THE COMMUNITY WAS INVOLVED. IT WASN’T JUST, SAY, THE
TEACHER. IT SEEMED LIKE THE WHOLE
COMMUNITY WAS INVOLVED. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT? DO WE NEED TO, LIKE, COME BACK
TO THAT TYPE OF APPROACH?>>WELL, I’M NOT SO SURE HOW FAR
WE’VE COME FROM IT. AND LET ME — LET EXPLAIN
WHY. THE BLACK COMMUNITY IN
PARTICULAR DISPLAYS A MUCH MORE INTENSE COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
THAN THE WHITE COMMUNITY IN THE UNITED STATES. LET ME GIVE YOU SOME
ILLUSTRATIONS. ONE OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS IS THE
FACT THAT IF YOU WERE TO LOOK AT FAMILIES WITH A SIMILAR
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, BLACK AND WHITE, THAT IS, PARENTS WITH
SIMILAR LEVELS OF EDUCATION, SIMILAR OCCUPATIONS, AND SIMILAR
INCOMES, PERHAPS, BLACK KIDS FROM THOSE FAMILIES GET MORE
YEARS OF SCHOOLING AND MORE DEGREES THAN WHITE KIDS FROM
SIMILARLY SITUATED FAMILIES. ANOTHER PIECE OF EVIDENCE IS
FROM A VERY NEW STUDY THAT I’VE JUST DONE WITH HYUN JU NAM AND
DARRICK HAMILTON WHERE WE’VE USED THE PANEL STUDY OF INCOME
DYNAMICS DATA TO LOOK AT PEOPLE’S WEALTH POSITIONS. AND WE FIND THAT AMONG — AMONG
WHITES, UH, THERE’S A SET OF PARENTS WHO DON’T PROVIDE THEIR
KIDS WITH ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR GOING TO SCHOOL
FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. AND THE MEDIAN WEALTH OF THOSE
FAMILIES IS APPROXIMATELY $85,000. NOW, AMONG WHITE FAMILIES THAT
DO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO THEIR KIDS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, THE MEDIAN
WEALTH IS ABOUT $168,000. NOW LET’S CONSIDER BLACK FOLK. AMONG BLACKS WHO DO NOT PROVIDE
ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO THEIR KIDS, THEIR MEDIAN WEALTH
IS LESS THAN $5,000. AND FOR BLACKS WHO DO, THEIR
MEDIAN WEALTH IS ONLY $24,000. SO BLACKS WHO ARE INCLINED TO
PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR THEIR KIDS TO GO TO COLLEGE HAVE
CONSIDERABLY LESS WEALTH THAN MOST OF THE WHITE HOUSEHOLDS WHO
DON’T PROVIDE ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR THEIR KIDS. SO THERE’S A TREMENDOUS
COMMITMENT IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY TO — TOWARD
EDUCATION. NOW, OF COURSE, THERE’S A
DISTRIBUTION. THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME
FAMILIES THAT ARE MORE COMMITTED. THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME
FAMILIES THAT ARE LESS COMMITTED. BUT, ON AVERAGE, I THINK WE HAVE
TENDED TO SUBSCRIBE TO A MYTH ABOUT THINKING THAT THE BLACK
COMMUNITY IS NOT PARTICULARLY COMMITTED TO EDUCATION. AN ON AVERAGE, THAT’S NOT THE
CASE AT ALL.>>NOW, IF OUR VIEWERS WANT TO
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE RESEARCH THAT YOU’RE DOING, IS THERE
SOMEWHERE THEY CAN GO?>>YES, ABSOLUTELY. THEY — THE EASIEST THING IS
ACTUALLY TO — TO SEND ME AN EMAIL AT
[email protected] AND I’LL BE GLAD TO SEND THEM A
HOST OF REFERENCES AND CITATIONS THAT THEY MIGHT WANT TO USE TO
LOOK AT.>>DR. WILLIAM “SANDY” DARITY,
WE THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR STOPPING BY AND SHARING YOUR
INSIGHTS WITH US.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

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