How should West Des Moines teachers respond to accusations of deep racial disparities?

In a recent article, a cultural audit conducted by the Iowa State University revealed that there exist racial disparities at Valley High School. The audit could become problematic for teachers across the nation. Teachers must protect themselves by ensuring that they are not victimized by the accusations associated with racial disparities.

According to the article, Report: ‘Deep racial disparities’ exist at Valley, the Iowa “audit found that students of color at the West Des Moines school are facing racial disparities when compared to other students. It was reported that Black students are three times more likely to be labeled “at risk” by the school administration, even though they have higher attendance rates than most of their peers. “The same is true for Hispanic and multiracial students. Poor attendance is often one of the reasons a student is placed in the “at risk” category”, according to the article.

In addition, Black students are four times more likely to be suspended. “These students of color are actually not misbehaving at disproportionate rates but are instead watched more closely by adults and thus reprimanded more frequently,” wrote the Iowa researchers.

Furthermore, the pendulum appears to swing in favor of White and Asian students. White and Asian students are more likely to be labeled as gifted when compared to other students of color. Multiracial students are eight times less likely to be enrolled in gifted classes. Black and Hispanic students are three times less likely to participate in the gifted classes.

It is only a matter of time before the public begins to understand the processes that contributes to the racial disparities at schools. For example, inappropriate curriculum and instruction are concerns that make reversing underachievement for culturally diverse students difficult. Most elementary and secondary school curricula are oriented towards White middle-class children because curriculum materials are selected and implemented by White middle-class teachers. The process normally involve teachers endorsing the curriculum materials. This is a fact that is little emphasized in the media.

School discipline is another challenge that contributes to racial disparities. The Iowa audit reveals that teachers discriminate against students by implementing differential discipline. What they excluded is that the majority of discipline consequences for any student normally begins with a discipline referral from a teacher.

In a study conducted by Dr. Derrick L. Campbell it was found that 70% of the student discipline referrals resulted from classroom relationships challenges between teachers and students. Within that 70%, discipline referral quantities included disrupting class (40%), disrespect towards a staff member (28%), open defiance (23%), and other infractions (9%). These discipline referral quantities indicate there is a need for a teacher-student relationship educational reform initiative.

This is where teachers must begin. Teachers must involve themselves in a process that empowers them to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships. Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning.

Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in increased teacher job satisfaction. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students which in turn will eliminate accusations associated with racial disparities.

Related Articles

Study highlights racial inequality at West Des Moines high school

ISU Audit of Valley High School Shows Significant Divide Between White Students and Minorities

Black students at Valley see disparities at school

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

The Raccelerate Phenomenon

Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education

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“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.

~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor

“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”

~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President

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About Classroom Racism Management Specialist

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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