From New York School Talk
By Vivett Dukes
The premise upon which I stand is that there is a dire need for and significant benefits to hiring more teachers of color. The premise upon which I stand, firmly rooted in my own experiences as a Black student-turned-educator, coupled with that of researchers, is that all students, particularly students of color, benefit in multiple areas of their academic and social-emotional lives when they have meaningful, ongoing, daily interactions in and out of the classroom with teachers of color. This is a topic that I’ve written about on numerous occasions and shouted from the summit of many an educational mountain top that I’ve climbed as a Black teacher-leader.
As too often is the case when discussing education — or anything for that matter, in America — the warped perception of race reared its big, ugly head in response to my post praising my alma mater, Elmont Memorial, which fosters a generational expectation of excellence no matter the student-teacher demographics. I will not stoop so low as to pander to the racist comments that have already detracted from the purposefully positive angle of my post. However, I will, as I vowed to do from day one of this blogging journey that I’m on, use my platform and my God-given talent as a writer to call out, probe, and be a spoke in the moving wheels of change against institutionalized racism and inequity, just as those who came before me paved the way for me to do this work have done, just as my dear teachers at Elmont Memorial High School taught and empowered me to do.