Education and Diversity

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After reading the article in Sundays paper on the BOE's debate over diversity, I felt the need to step out into an uncomfortable discussion. Everyone walks around this issue like they're walking on eggshells. I'm going to stick my neck out today and share my experiences and factual findings with you all. Before I begin, I want to state that many of you know I am very involved in our local and state education system. I support our teachers and students and I have had many serious concerns about the direction education has taken over the past 15 years or so.

As I begin on this topic, I also want to share that when I discuss issues within our county, I speak with many different people of all races and genders. That is never even a consideration in my support or lending an ear. We have some incredible educators in our county that are Female, male, Black and white. I love so many of them. Overall we have a great educator workforce in our county, with only a small percentage that I would say are not. Those do not fall into any particular category. They cannot be put in a box of all one sex or all one race. It has nothing to do with that. It's an individual issue.

That's a good segue into what I wanted to share. Our Board of Education is presently examining the diversity of educators and administrators within our county. They've been discussing this for a while and recently reopened the discussion. They are looking at a possible plan that would cost $180,000 to implement. While I support many of the financial investments our county is presently looking at (Some great ones coming!) this one gives me cause to shake my head.

I've been doing educational research now since 2007 and have research info going back to the start of NCLB and standardized testing. (okay I won't go there this time) When we look at demographics in education across the country, what we see is this: Those gaining bachelors degrees who are age 25 or older, within their demographic group, in any subject remain at about 29% of white population, 17% of black population, 13% of Indian population, and 50% of Asian population. (There's an eye opener right there!)

Here are more facts gathered from different sources which I will site. There are more females getting degrees than males across the board. Within the black community most degrees are being achieved in the focus area of business Management with public administration being the largest percentage at 23%. That's 23% of all degrees given in that field.
Here's a real eye opener.... of all bachelor degrees, only 9.6% are going to the black community. So not only do we have a low percentage of people within the black community getting college degrees, very few are seeking degrees in the field of education. (Journal of Blacks in higher education)So a good starting point would be encouraging more of our young black high school students to consider education as a focus.

In an article titled State of Racial Diversity in Education Workforce from 2016 (on the site) at the end of 2012 82% of educators were white and 7% were black. When they analyzed the educator pipeline, they found the number of Black candidates slowly dropped as they hit high school graduation, the decision to enter college or not, which degree field to enter, whether they completed a degree, and whether they went into education and then sought a job in that field.

Another stat to examine is that 76% of educators are female. Leaving only 24% that are males. Superintendent Wilson stated in the article that in Bulloch County we are up to 14.2% black educators in our system. What I want to carefully point out is that given the stats I just quoted, this is an amazing number!

So here's my concern over this debate.... it's seems to me just based on facts that our problem is not how many black or white educators we have. The bigger issue is how many black students are choosing to pursue college, and then how many are choosing to pursue a degree in education. If only 7% of educators in 2012 were from the black community, and we have 14.2 in our community, we are double the national average. Does that mean we should settle for that? No it doesn't. But... to hire anyone merely because of the color of their skin in my personal opinion is just as racial as NOT hiring them because of the color of their skin. If someone hired me because I was female versus male, I'd be livid. Hire me because I earned it. Hire me because I'm excellent at what I do.

That brings me to my final thoughts on this topic, and I know it's a sensitive topic for many, but we need to be able to talk about it with each other with the very best interests for all involved. Education ought to be one of the most honored of all careers. These are the people who shape our children, the leaders of tomorrow. Educators ought to be supported in teaching the way they know is best in order to develop independent thinkers, creators, lovers of learning, and successful citizens and contributors to society. (Okay that's another topic...can't help myself...stop telling teachers how to teach)

We ought to be hiring educators because they are the best candidate...not because they meet some demographic statistical number. We cannot create some unrealistic percentage in our county that can't even be supported by the national stats on achievement of degrees and those entering a degree area of study. It's just not realistic. It's like saying every family should have exactly two boys and two girls. That's not physically feasible or realistic. And on that note... why are we not examining the number of male teachers we have in our county, or nationally for that matter? 24% of educators nationally are male. Do we have 24% male educators in Bulloch? I don't think so. We're trying to meet some number for some reason that cannot be defined to satisfy some.... thing... that isn't realistic - especially when you look at the stats.

Recently a young male teacher was honored on the Ellen Show. He was incredible! What I wouldn't give to have him in our county. He's innovative, energetic, thinks way outside the box, and his kids love him. They'll do anything for him! Oh and yes...he's a young black educator. He's rocking the worlds of these young students. Great educators don't come in any one's an individual thing and that is what needs to be evaluated. What needs to be our main focus here in Bulloch is creating an environment of successful learning for all our students. Anyone can learn from anyone..color nor nationality matters if they're a great teacher.

Latest Activity: Apr 24, 2017 at 11:52 AM

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