Monday, April 17, 2017

The Survey Says Black Students Do Better With Black Teachers DUH

OK, here we go again with another survey.  This one, conducted at Johns Hopkins University, says black students---especially those who come from low-income families---tend to fare better in school when they are taught by a black teacher.

The study involved about 100 thousand black students from North Carolina who entered third through fifth grade between 2001 and 2005.  According to Nicholas Papageorge, the caucasian Johns Hopkins University economist who co-authored the study, when black students were taught by black teachers they demonstrated higher test scores and less likely to become a drop out statistic.  He also found that race played a profound role in how teachers judged a student’s abilities. “When a black teacher and a white teacher looked at the same black student, the white teacher was about 40 percent less likely to predict the student would finish high school.”  And I’m willing to bet she/he would be less likely to encourage the black student to do better—instead setting that black male student up for failure and the pipeline to prison.  

No disrespect to Papageorge, but this is the overwhelming sentiment in the black community and has been for MANY years.  We KNOW the significance and impact a black teacher has on the life of a black student who may or may not be struggling. There’s something called the identity factor.  It’s a well known fact that children, as well as adults, relate better to people and things they feel most comfortable with.  Black children have black mothers (for the most part) and other relatives.  In many instances, the black teachers they interact with remind them of their mothers, aunties or even grandmas and, as any black child will tell you, you WILL respect them---even when you don’t like what they do.  And back in the day we all know if that teacher threatened to call your parents, you were doomed.

The late NASA Astronaut Ronald McNair is a wonderful example of a man who succeeded despite all the odds set up against him.  He was raised in the segregated South (South Carolina), went to all-black schools (including college) and was all the while being encouraged and motivated by his black teachers. Most black teachers understand the black child experience and can be more nurturing because of their own experiences growing up.  

As a mother and grandmother, I made it a point to see that my daughter and grandson had a black teacher influence in their lives because they deserve a chance to succeed and be appreciated for who they are and very few white teachers know what that means for our kids.

Perhaps this study would have more merit for me if the researchers did a comparison study on black baby boomers versus black millennials.  That might shed some light on differences in attitudes, since millennials are supposed to be the most diverse generation compared to baby boomers---many of whom were just starting to benefit from the Civil Rights movement.  Perhaps there is a not only a racial gap but also a generational divide when it comes to education.

And I didn't get one dime for my expert opinion. Ha!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Millennials Baby Boomers and the Battle for Jobs

Ever since the Social Security program was created in 1935, we have come to accept 65 as the age of retirement.  Back in the day, most people looked forward to it after grinding it out for 30 or 40 years and, most often, with the SAME employer.

But the times---they are a changin'.  Inflation, the Stock Market Crash, depleted 401Ks, along with living healthier lives has made the word "retirement" a bad thing to say, especially for baby boomers like me who expect to work many, many years past 65. On top of that, you have retirees in their 70s and 80s who are jumping back in the workforce in an effort to supplement what they're not getting from Social Security.

So what's the problem with that, you ask? Well, from my viewpoint there's nothing wrong with that, however, millennials might think otherwise.  They represent a changing of the guard in today's job market with their energy, eagerness, creativity and tech savviness.  As a matter of fact, "more than one-in-three American workers today are millennials, surpassing baby boomers in 2014.  By 2025, they are expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce."  What this means is, if baby boomers want to stay in the workforce past retirement, they are going to have to battle it out with their younger counterparts.  Retirees, trying to re-enter the job market, are going to find themselves chasing entry-level jobs like those they held over a half century ago.

Then you have employers who must decide who is the best candidate for the job.  Some older workers believe they will favor millennials because they want to make sure their investments in hiring and training will pay off for years to come.  They also don't want to pay for experience.  They would rather hire someone with the ability to do the job for less money than to pay top dollar to a more experienced older employee.  But what some employers fail to realize is millennials are known as the job-hopping generation so if they're not happy, they don't have any problem walking away. Baby boomers, on the other hand, will more likely stay and be miserable in order to collect a paycheck.

"Let the battle begin!"