Inequality matters: White students more likely to have experienced teachers

Credit: TutorNerds

Credit: TutorNerds

From The Washington Post: How teacher hiring puts black and Hispanic kids at a disadvantage

[S]chools in Los Angeles often wind up putting children of color in classrooms with teachers who have less skill and experience than those who teach their white classmates.

Teachers often don’t want to teach in schools in impoverished neighborhoods, because the job is so much more exhausting than in schools where the students come from happier homes and are generally better behaved.

This rings true. At White Station High, then the best public high school in Memphis, the best teachers taught in the optional program (majority white). Several retired and went to teach in private schools. Almost all of my teachers in the optional program were white. Few of my classmates in optional were black. At the time, I thought WSHS was a utopia. I now know it was anything but, particularly for those who didn’t have the class/race privilege to work the system.

The article continues:

In a district such as Los Angeles, teachers with seniority might have a contractual right to transfer to a post of their choice. Younger teachers who are just learning the profession end up working with poorer students, who are also often students of color.

“Our schools serving our most disadvantaged students are the places where novice teachers get hired and broken in,” Kane said. “Once they develop some experience, they move to other schools.”


If you support racist systems, guess what? You’re kinda racist.

David Horsey, LA Times

American Dream Game, by David Horsey, LA Times

It’s Time for Whites to Accept Responsibility for Racist Systems | TIME.

Powerful essay from Jim Wallis on

To my white brothers and sisters: you can’t continue to say you are not racist when you continue to accept and support systems that are.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

One of the things I’ve wondered, as I watch more and more black people leave newsrooms (getting pushed out because of racism, shoved to the side and then fired, being laid offeffectively marginalized or disrespected and then canned) is this: What do white male journalists think?

I single out white men because they run ish overwhelmingly hold the  majority of the key, decision-making roles in most newsrooms. Don’t believe me, check this out.

If I were in, say, a 5K and I took first place only to realize that a good number of runners weren’t allowed to register, my victory would feel hollow. How could I say I was number 1 when the game was rigged?

How does it feel to know that whatever success you have is based, at least in part, on racist systems that mean people of color don’t get to compete with you? Continue reading

Get schooled (literally) on inequality in Memphis

I’m co-teaching a class on economic inequality in Memphis at the University of Memphis next spring. So if you’re a junior or senior and you want to explore how to translate sociological research using digital storytelling tools for a lay audience, come join us. Enrollment is by permit only. Deets on the flyer. 4904 Public Sociology Seminar FlyerSOCI 4904 Inequality in Memphis flyer JPEG final

The Memphis Flyer: Husband Wanted. Unemployed Need Not Apply.

My most recent column in The Memphis Flyer, on the shortage of marriageable men in Memphis:

If you want to destroy a community, someone once told me, take away the men’s jobs. To make a man’s job search nearly impossible, burden him with a criminal record…

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, never-married women were asked what they wanted most in a spouse. Nearly 80 percent answered that tops on their list was a partner with a steady job. But in the Memphis metro area, there are only 59 employed young men for every 100 young single women, making this one of the worst places to find a marriageable (read: employed) man.

Since the criminal justice system disproportionately ensnares black men, it has an outsized effect on a predominately African-American metro area such as Memphis. The causes of the area’s endemic poverty are many, but employment for ex-offenders is essential to the metro area’s success.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Gwen Guthrie diddy, “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent,” check out the YouTube video above. No romance without finance, y’all.