Sunday, September 16, 2018

When ALL our TEACHERS were BLACK, Part I


Please note: It has been over a year since I posted here. I have been very busy in the meantime, working at my job from which I retired this past June; writing for publication in books, newsletters. I have worked with a colleague to develop a new book proposal; presented at conferences including NAGC in November in Charlotte, N.C. and keynoting in Dubai at the International Research Association on Talent Development and Excellence in Dubai.

This post came about after attending the 50th class reunion of the Class of 1968 of King & Queen Central High School. I attended as a guest (I graduated from the same school in '71). For a number of years now, the school and its formula for success as a very large number of our graduates have held very successful careers positions in government, education, and many other fields, many rising to the top in their fields. Documenting the 'secret' to the success of our high schools' graduates has been on my mind for a number of years. A goal is to develop a book proposal and invite others from the school to join me in documenting the school's first 50 years of educating Black students in our small rural county east of Richmond and west of the Northern Neck region of Virginia. 

As the topic of recruiting Black teachers into the education profession grows into a national conversation, I keep thinking back to what high school at Central was like when I arrived in the fall of 1967. Our school like so many in Black communities across the nation, particularly in the south was still segregated by race and the education profession was an appealing career choice for Black college students, many of whom were first generation college graduates. Many felt a sense of obligation to reciprocate and return to their home communities to teach. Central High was no different. As a matter of fact, during my tenure at Central, at least 50% of the teachers grew up in the same county and proudly returned for their first teaching jobs in King and Queen. 

There is something very special about attending a school where everyday you can look at and interact with people who share your race and culture. Educators who understand your family situation, who understand your hopes and aspirations and feel a sense of obligation to 'set you on the right path' for the future. That was Central High School in King & Queen County, Virginia. Here's part I of my story: 

As a career educator, author, educational administrator, researcher, preeminent scholar in the field of gifted education and former college professor in teacher education I often reflect on the experiences that I had as a young student that shaped and framed me into the professional that I became many, many years later. In the past ten years or so, our nation has been broiling about the teaching profession and many related concerns that are affecting our students and their school performance. One issue of grave concern is the lack of Black and Hispanic teachers in classrooms where the majority of students are Black and Hispanic. Research studies have noted the negative impact on students of color because of this cultural mismatch or discontinuity between teachers and students. The cultural mismatch has been demonstrated to have a negative impact on student performance, disproportionately high  rates of students in special education and low number of our students in gifted and advanced learner programs. The mismatch has also impacted the disportionately unfair disciplinary practices across the nation and the growing ‘school to prison pipeline'. I am from a generation of Black students (and perhaps the last generation) who was fortunate enough to have gone through at least three plus years of my schooling in an environment where most if not all of our teachers were Black. Other students in my high school had Black teachers for their entire schooling career, K-12. 

Attending a school where all of the teachers were African American was very different from one where there was a racially mixed population of teachers. I had both experiences in my school career and I can attest to this difference. There was definitely a different 'feel', different environment, differences so real that they were palpable. My high school was one such place. Walking into a school with an entirely Black teaching staff, administration, counselor and support staff ind of felt like ‘going home’ every morning or going to church on Sundays. The attitudes were positive and supportive. The teachers were firm, but understanding. We knew that they loved us and valued us as young Black scholars. They could envision a future for us that was positive and perhaps even better than the one they experienced personally. They took the role a 'shaper of eternity' seriously. They did not see the color of our skin as a disadvantage and something to overcome, but they saw us as 'diamonds in the rough'. They easily saw our strengths and weaknesses and used what we know today as a 'strengths-based approach' to teaching us.  They were professional but approachable. They were our role models and mentors, but also like our parents and extended family. It was their presence that made a very humble facility into a first class school building.  Unlike the historical Central High School of Little Rock, Arkansas that was originally built for White students and was forced to allow Black students to attend, this school was built for Black students, exclusively. Two schools at each of the county provided education for White students. Prior to the opening of Central High, Black students were educated in small, one room schools scattered among communities throughout the county. (I will provide more about Central High's history in part II) 

Our school was not a large urban area high school with fully equipped gymnasiums, auditoriums, elaborate science labs or music practice spaces for budding musicians. It did not have many of the resources and amenities associated with award winning facilities of today or even of the past. We were seated in classrooms just large enough to fit 20-25 chairs, although in most cases, our classes were much smaller, except in music room or in the mandatory government class. We did not have a gymnasium, or auditorium, we had a cafeteria with a stage that was used for gym and for programs. We did not have equipped science labs, but did have one lab table with functional Bunsen burners and sink. The periodic table was the only visual hanging ominously in the science room. No opportunities for international travel, except by viewing the large maps in the French and History classes. No visual arts room, but we learned how to design and  to sew in the home economics class  and boys had the shop area to learn building trades (taught by a practicing brick masons from the community) and auto mechanics. But it wasn’t the equipment or class resources that made our education unique and first class. It was more than that. It was our teachers, the counselor and principal. What was lacking in resources, the teachers made up for in committment and dedication to our education. The fact that each of those persons looked just like us (or in some cases were family) in physical features was lost on our rambling minds, raging hormones, and busy bodies until we left and went out into the world to ‘become’ the people we were borne to be. All of our teachers in this space were Black. Our school was built by Black men of the community on land originally owned by a Black man and our Black parents were actively and intimately involved in our education.

It was 1967 when I entered the halls of King & Queen Central High School, a new student in the 9th grade. My family had recently re-emigrated to Virginia after spending 13 years in Newark New Jersey. In Newark, our schools were sprawling edifices, structures so large and massive they were often encompassed an entire city block. Many schools had two gyms, one for boys and one for girls. We had art classrooms, science labs, auditoriums large enough to perform elaborate dramatic plays and musicals and to seat hundreds. Our teachers were Black, Italian, Jewish, and from other European cultural groups. My siblings and I received a rich, progressive education in Newark. I will always value my beginnings in Newark Public Schools. My father’s decision to move the family back to Virginia was right on time. Our nation was in the midst the heated protests and revolutionary actions of the civil rights movement.  In the summer of 1967, Newark was about to explode.

Moving from a culturally diverse environment to a singular cultural experience in school had a profound impact on me. Actually it was a culture shock. From a large urban area in the northeast to a small isolated rural community in the South, was quite different for my sister and I. My other siblings completed high school in Newark. At the time I started at Central, I resisted and was not very comfortable. As an advanced student, I felt restricted by the curriculum offerings and believed that it would not be a good 'fit' for me. I went home after the first day and complained to my mother that everyone is the school was Black, even the principal! It took me several months to adjust to the school's lack of resources and limited educational experiences. As I look back now, I remember that it was the teachers and the school counselor, in particular, who helped make the transition so much easier. Little did I know then how important their Blackness was going to be to my development in the months and years to come....

[In Part II, I will discuss briefly the school's history in the context of public schools for African American students; the teachers and administrators (using pseudonyms); and the successful life outcomes for some many of our alumni from this small rural school that I have nicknamed: THE MIRACLE ON ROUTE 14, KING & QUEEN COUNTY, VA].

41 comments:

  1. All Assignment Help is a web portal where students get help in making assignments for all the subjects, with the help of our experts. You will get 100% plagiarism free assignment. Expertes consultation is also available for students. If they have any query they can contact with our experts anytime.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It contains the data I was looking for and you have in like way enlightened it well and Pay for Someone to Do my Assignment your interesting offer. I'm happy to discover your post. Continue sharing this kind of stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is really interesting, You’re a highly trained writer. I’ve joined with your feed and furthermore , count on witnessing the very good write-ups. Additionally, I’ve shared your websites with our social networks. happy wedding anniversary wishes

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulation to you. I am happy after reading your post that you have posted in this blog. Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this.
    Education News Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  5. Really nice Blog and very interesting topic. Gain knowledge of How to improve your Child skills for successful life, emotion and increase positive thinking, behavior etc.
    Parenting skills checklist
    Life Skills in Kids
    How to Discipline a Child
    Child Behavioral Problems

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Many of the people are depressed about the problems of essay writing. Well, don’t worry about that because we are providing this service at a very reasonable price.
    "Assignment help NZ
    "
    "Assignment help NZ
    "
    "Assignment help UK
    "
    "Assignment help US
    "
    "Assignment help Australia
    "
    "Assignment help Canada
    "
    "Assignment helper
    "
    "Assignment help
    "
    "Writing Assignment Help
    "
    "Help For Assignment
    "
    "Write my assignment help
    "

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved the article, keep updating interesting articles. I will be a regular reader… I am offering assignment help to students over the globe at a low price.

    Digital Markrting Blog
    SEO Blog
    Social Media Blog
    Email Marketeting Blog
    Online marketing Blog

    ReplyDelete
  9. I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! I am Impressed. We appreciate that please keep going to write more content. We are the assignment helper, we provide services all over the globe. We are best in these services:-
    "Essay writing
    "
    "Essay Writer
    "
    "Article rewriter
    "
    "Essay writing service
    "
    "Essay writing help
    "
    "Write My Essay
    "
    "Write My Article
    "
    "Essay Helps
    "
    "Write my essay cheap
    "
    "Do my essay cheap
    "

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing this information. I have shared this link with others keep posting such information. to provide best in class law assignment help online at very affordable prices.
    "Assignment Help
    "
    "Assignment Helper
    "
    "Essay writing
    "
    "Essay writing service
    "
    "Dissertation help
    "
    "Thesis writing help
    "
    "Write My Essay
    "
    "Computer Science Assignment Help
    "
    "Assignment Help Soth Africa
    "
    "Assignment Writing Service
    "

    ReplyDelete
  11. Many of the people are depressed about the problems of essay writing. Well, don’t worry about that because we are providing this service at a very reasonable price.
    "Assignment Help
    "
    "Assignment Helper
    "
    "Essay writing
    "
    "Essay writing service
    "
    "Dissertation help
    "
    "Thesis writing help
    "
    "Write My Essay
    "
    "Do My Essay
    "
    "Hire Cheap Essay Writer
    "
    "College Essay Help
    "

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such an interesting and informative piece of guidance imparted by you. I am glad to discover this information here and I am sure that this might be beneficial for us.
    Education News Dubai

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am really impressed with your blog article, such great & useful knowledge you mentioned here.
    Your post is very informative. I have read all your posts and all are very informative. Thanks for sharing and keep it up like this.
    IB Curriculum

    ReplyDelete
  14. Best friends and the best mother ever; you are seriously a gift to me Mommy. happy mothers day quotes 2019

    ReplyDelete
  15. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you for providing these details.I will come back to your site and keep sharing this information with us. I blog at Explore Survey where you can win Prizes by taking surveys.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for sharing this information. I have shared this link with other keep posting such information to provide best in class law assignment help online at very affordable prices.
    Assignment help
    Assignment help
    Assignment help
    Python Programming Assignment
    Programming Assignment Experts
    Assignment help tutors
    Assignment help

    ReplyDelete
  17. Assignmentservicerating is best reviews site.We at Top Quality Assignment believe that there is no shortcut to success and to attain success, hard work, dedication, and commitment must be present. We are an online platform where students check & write reviews for assignments related websites. AllAssignmentHelp reviews

    ReplyDelete
  18. This Is Really Great Work. Thank You For Sharing Such A Good And Useful Information Here In The Blog forex steam review

    ReplyDelete
  19. It contains the data I was looking for and you have in like way enlightened it well and your interesting offer. I'm happy to discover your post. Continue sharing this kind of stuff.
    Outstanding Schools In Dubai

    ReplyDelete


  20. Get you to take service by our best experts. the renders you best 
    accounting assignment writing help because our experts wrtier gives you cheap assignment writing.Our writer makes your assignment after deep research. If you need you can connect with My Assignment Help

    ReplyDelete
  21. So far, I found this website very professional for assignment writing. I took Assignment Help from them for my Science homework. I am really happy with the experience and I will recommend this website to you guys if you need quality writing services for your project.
    I had to complete my English assignment and I was worried because my assignment was not ready. I took the help from google but still fail to write. Then, I took Assignment Help Online from greatassignmenthelp and I was amazed by the work I received. Their expert provided me the instant support and helped me in my assignment. Thank you guys for your assignment help and support.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Livewebtutors aims at providing the students with a one stop solution for all the academic related issues. The company has Livewebtutors is an online Assignment Help and assignment writing service offering expert assignment help. Hire Australian assignment writing experts.
    visit now:- my assignment help

    ReplyDelete
  23. Are you searching vat return filing in UAE for submit your VAT? if yes then do not worry about that because UAE VAT expert are providing best solution of VAT and Accounting services.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If you want to know more about the need of organizational management and resolve your queries related to the topic you can take help from Programming Assignment Help. Assignment help

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you missed your assignment submission date and you need your assignment to be done in 24 hours then don’t worry just take support from assignment help online service to complete your task on time. Assignment Help

    ReplyDelete
  26. Connect with UAE VAT Expert for get bookkeeper acoounting services from professional expert’s.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I always used to be worried about several issue related to office 365, but all thanks to the amazing assistance from the professionals of Microsoft 365 Support . Now, I don’t have to face any kind of issues and if any crops up, then they easily help me out. Get support click here
    Office 365 Help
    Office 365 Support
    Microsoft Office 365 Support
    Outlook Support
    Microsoft Outlook Support
    Outlook Support Number
    Outlook Support Phone Number
    Outlook Tech Support Phone Number
    Outlook Technical Support Phone Number
    Outlook Customer Service Phone Number
    Outlook Customer Support Phone Number
    Outlook Support Number

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hello! Thank you for you tips and a piece of advice. I think all this information can help me. By the way, if you have no time for finishing you writings then don't worry. You can apply to the essay service and get there professional help even with the jessica mitford behind the formaldehyde curtain essay.

    ReplyDelete
  29. We are a top class SEO agency, having mastery of bringing new techniques to beat your competitors and put you one step ahead in the search engine results. We work uniquely as per Google guidelines and updates. Our professional SEO services provide unique, guaranteed and result oriented results within a few days.
    Seo services

    https://bestfirstrankseoservicesusa.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello, thanks for sharing this interesting information with us. I appreciate reading it. I was actually looking for a place where I can buy coursework online. I just need some help. I would appreciate your help.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Excellent and nice post. It will beneficial for everyone. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. Avail No 1 Assignment writing Services Australia from certified PhD writers. It is extremely helpful for me. You can email us at info@theassignmenthelp.com.au or Phone Number - +61390881335

    ReplyDelete
  32. This post is a pool of information. The readers are quite impressed after reading this impressive post. CDR Report Writing are available on myassignmenthelpau.com at a very affordable price. If you want any help you can mail us at cs@Myassignmenthelpau.Com.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A very high level post with a knowledgeable information .thanks you for giving me such a nice information. If you need any college level Assignment Help at reliable quality with better work. Kindly visit Ideal assignment help.

    ReplyDelete