There are two ways of approaching the intractable academic achievement gap between white and black students. The first is to spend approximately three seconds soberly contemplating what your senses and experience have revealed over a lifetime of multiracial interactions. The second is to tunnel through a thousand-word synonym for “rationalization” penned by a Dr Ebony McGee, assistant professor of diversity and urban schooling at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who also runs the website blackengineeringphd.org and writes for The Conversation. Obviously only one of these vectors will yield publishable results.
So to spare readers the effort of clicking on the BBC website, I’ve catalogued those rationalizations into what could easily be reformatted into flash cards for fingertip reference. Here are the reasons blacks trail whites academically.
✅ Increasing school resegregation
✅ Inequality of black students
✅ Harsh disciplinary sanctions against black students
✅ Disinvestment in black neighborshoods
✅ “Least prepared” teachers often in black classrooms
✅ Black students experience “intense levels of stress and challenge.”
✅ Disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards
✅ Violence and poor healthcare
✅ Effects of living in a white-dominated and privileged society
✅ “Black students live within an additional state of fragility because of how their intellects and life chances are positioned in this society.”
✅ Racial biases place undue burdens on black students.
✅ “The educational and social institutions they learn in perpetuate white privilege.”
✅ “Black students experience conflict between possible future Stem career choices and their growing commitments to issues of social justice”
✅ “Lack of culturally-grounded Stem technologies”
✅ “Stereotypes that formed at the critical intersections of race and ability.”
✅ Black students are confronted with an increase of test anxiety and stress.
✅ Black students’efforts and frequent attempts to disconfirm negative stereotypes often cause academic stress leading to lowered cognitive performance.
✅ While students of colour made up more than 45% of the pre-K through 12 population, black teachers made up only 6.7% of the educator workforce.
As an aside, black teachers made up a more significant 100% of Angola’s educator workforce, so we should certainly see marked improvement with those students in comparison.
Though the list above should be considered exhaustive as to the conceivable reasons for a racial gap in education. There can be no others, and so our labors begin here. If readers note any points that don’t appear to bear their equal weight in logic you may share those views in the combox.
Though I think Vanderbilt University finds itself well acquitted.