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Defining Race in Education: Your Thoughts Please

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posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:50 AM
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Hello ATS,

My school district recently changed their policy on how we "identify" students' race/ethnicity.

Previously, parents could identify their children as Caucasian, American-Indian, African-American, Latino, Bi-Racial, or Other.

However, this past year the system has taken away the Bi-Racial option. Now parents must choose how they want their child identified without using Bi-Racial or Other. In the case that a parent refuses to choose, the school administration will do so (and I do not know what criteria they use to make the decision).

As far as I can tell this has nothing to do with money, as our schools do not receive additional funds based on numbers of certain ethnicity/race. Instead, we receive money based on total number enrolled and also for percentage of students on free/reduced lunch (economic classification).

I've talked with my fellow teachers and the administration and we simply don't know why the policy has changed. So far no parents have complained about the change, and of course the race or ethnicity of a child has no bearing on how we teach them in the classroom, so our classroom practicies haven't changed.

I don't think this is a huge conspiracy, but I did want to hear what others might make of it. If you are bi-racial or have a bi-racial child, would you find it difficult or unsavory to have to classify your child with one race/ethnicity? Would it not matter to you? How would you choose?

Because this thread addresses racial issues, I'm aware it could potentially upset some folks. Please understand, our teachers DO NOT CARE what race/ethnicity our students are; they are children and we do our upmost to teach them all in an effective and loving manner.

Thanks in advance for your input and thoughts.




posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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It just sounds like they are changing the wording to reflect the growing number of bi-racial people to get a better representation of who is attending the school. It makes sense to me.

There's a lot of kids that don't quite fit into a specific group anymore.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:55 AM
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Simply sounds like either a type of survey, or, a way to distribute funding to certain areas, and not necessarily to the schools.



It's a sad fact that people still want to separate based on breed, but time will hopefully kill this silly ritual.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by Unrealised
 


Having information about what races are doing what is a vital component to helping this country run smoothly. If no African children are attending schools wouldn't you want to know this to identify the problem so you can find a solution?

Nothing evil about this.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:59 AM
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reply to post by Kenrichaed
 


You are right, lots of students are hard to "classify."

I just think I would have a hard time deciding if my child was one race or another race, bi-racial would seem easier to choose.

Thanks a lot for your response!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 08:59 AM
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reply to post by Kenrichaed
 


You are right, lots of students are hard to "classify."

I just think I would have a hard time deciding if my child was one race or another race, bi-racial would seem easier to choose.

Thanks a lot for your response!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:02 AM
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Yes bi-racial is good but it helps the schools to know what ethnicity's make up the child. What would be the issue with listing Asian-Caucasion or African-Spanish on the form. It would help the school in deciding on any issues they need to address such as hiring more English teachers to address language barriers or what not.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:07 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


It could have something to do with state testing or state funding for education based upon race. Grouping children in a specific demographic category may influence the amount of state funding for your school district. It may also be a way to narrow the demographics so school districts can focus on improving state test scores for that particular group of children.
edit on 11-2-2012 by WeRpeons because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:09 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


I personally would prefer not to choose one or the other, considering bi-racials do not normally stick to one culture...this is America, after all.

But once again, we fail to ask the students what they desire. If someone were to be served tacos because they look Spanish, we would get upset. But suppose that person loves tacos? Their day was not affected by the apparent 'racism'.

Too often we project our beliefs and peeves onto other people, expecting them to feel the same way we do about various topics, especially when they are too young to say, "Hey, it's alright. I'm not worried about it."

We need to learn to differentiate between OUR opinions and OTHER opinions. We do not all think the same way...that goes for children too.

Next time, ask the child his/her opinion. If they don't feel threatened or bothered, then why should you be? It's their life, therefore they are the biggest authority on what they want. Don't usurp that position or develop a habit of speaking for them.

If they don't want a problem, and nothing is really hurting them, then it isn't your place to make a problem for them. You might end up hurting them yourself.

Namaste



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:11 AM
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Originally posted by Kenrichaed
reply to post by Unrealised
 


Having information about what races are doing what is a vital component to helping this country run smoothly. If no African children are attending schools wouldn't you want to know this to identify the problem so you can find a solution?

Nothing evil about this.
-

Yes,schools do track race and performance on standardized testing. That way we know if we are failing a specific group. And I agree, that is extremely valuable information. No argument there.

But my question wasn't if we should track the race of our students, but why we were taking away the bi-racial classification. It is very likely that the district is trying to streamline the issue.

As stated in my op, I don't think this is a conspiracy at all. I certainly wouldn't call it evil.

Perhaps I didn't state my question clearly. If you had a child of bi-racial descent, how would you decide what race to classify that child? Over the years I've noticed that, in older students, they seem quite proud to call themselves bi-racial and might have difficulty deciding on only one race to identify with.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by Starchild23
 


This was my point. If a school is seeing a large number of one ethnicity it may find it in their interests to change certain practices to reflect that, such as school lunches. This would provide a more comfortable environment for the students and possible increase their willingness to learn and not be a distraction.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:14 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


If a black and white couple have a child it is mulatto and they could write that on the form. Not sure if other race combinations have their own terminology but perhaps we could start doing that as its becoming more relevant.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:16 AM
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Originally posted by WeRpeons
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


It could have something to do with state testing or state funding for education based upon race. Grouping children in a specific demographic category may influence the amount of state funding for your school district. It may also be a way to narrow the demographics so school districts can focus on improving state test scores for that particular group of children.
edit on 11-2-2012 by WeRpeons because: (no reason given)

.
Possibly, it could have to do with the sub-groups in testing. When looking at testing information, we look at a school as a whole, then the sub-groups of economic status, and if the sub-group is large enough, race. Maybe its forcing the parents to choose one race over another to influence the sub-group. I can see this and agree its a reasonable possibility.

I am so sorry I didn't state my question clear enough. What I really want to know is if you had a bi-racial child, how would you decide which race to affiliate with?

Thank you for your input!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by Kenrichaed
 


That is what the bi-racial classification was for. Not just African-American with Caucasian, it was for anyone who felt their child was bi-racial (Native-American/Caucasion, Caucasian/Hispanic, Hispanic/African-American). It was never just African-American and Caucasian.

Thanks for your replies!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:27 AM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Sorry to say this but I was a teacher for a few years here in my neck of the woods, (GA), the racial issue is a big thing here, the "color" count goes on every school year, was never really told the motives of this, yes they can sugar coated anyway they want but this is nothing but profiling students and school districts for better distribution of funds and keep a ration of racially spread students around.

But personally coming from a different culture (I am PRican) growing up with this not been an issue in schools, this is very offensive to me, Racial profiling or counting or even for statistical purposes should never be an issue in schools, plain and simple

Children are in school to learn no to be tagged in any way or form they are humans not cattle.

Until this issue about racial backgrounds or ethnic profiling is over, the racial problems in this nation will never go away, no body can be happy until we eliminate this stupid racial issues.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by Starchild23
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Next time, ask the child his/her opinion. If they don't feel threatened or bothered, then why should you be? It's their life, therefore they are the biggest authority on what they want. Don't usurp that position or develop a habit of speaking for them.

If they don't want a problem, and nothing is really hurting them, then it isn't your place to make a problem for them. You might end up hurting them yourself.

Namaste


The teachers are NOT the ones asking this question, or deciding on the answer. The form parents fill out to enroll their child in public education comes from the school district, state and federal government. I just enrolled my child in the school system this year and the question was on the form I had to fill out.

I obviously have failed to make my point clear. I do not think this is an evil conspiracy, and I have no desire to classify a child by race whatsoever. As a teacher, when we get our new school roster at the beginning of the year, we aren't told the race of each child (although that information would be easy to get if we wanted it). The race does not matter to me as a teacher. I don't care where a child comes from, what language he speaks, what color his skin, what ethnicity his family identifies with, or what religion they follow. First and foremost, they are children, and my students. The rest is often collected for governmental surverys and what have you, but it doesn't make any difference to the teachers.

I certainly don't want to make a problem out of this issue. You are right, it would be detrimental to our students. I was simply curious as to how parents might choose to classify their child when forced to choose one race or another.

Thank you very much for your opinion!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:32 AM
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I'm kind of wondering why what race they are even matters. Why have it at all? Those are pretty much my thoughts on race in education: we should simply stop trying to classify them in the first place.



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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Originally posted by marg6043
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Sorry to say this but I was a teacher for a few years here in my neck of the woods, (GA), the racial issue is a big thing here, the "color" count goes on every school year, was never really told the motives of this, yes they can sugar coated anyway they want but this is nothing but profiling students and school districts for better distribution of funds and keep a ration of racially spread students around.

But personally coming from a different culture (I am PRican) growing up with this not been an issue in schools, this is very offensive to me, Racial profiling or counting or even for statistical purposes should never be an issue in schools, plain and simple

Children are in school to learn no to be tagged in any way or form they are humans not cattle.

Until this issue about racial backgrounds or ethnic profiling is over, the racial problems in this nation will never go away, no body can be happy until we eliminate this stupid racial issues.



I am truly sorry if this thread has offended you. I certainly meant no offense to anyone. My deepest apologies.

Since you were an educator, you are no doubt aware that not all students perform the same on standardized tests, and the government requires the schools to take note of how the different races perform with regards to each other. The "Closing the Gap" movement is a direct attempt to raise the achievement scores of minority students who, for whatever reason, tend to perform below the "norm." If a school has one race performing well below the other races, that is cause for concern and investigation. I truly believe this is why the school districts keep track of students' race and ethnicity.

Now, I do agree with you. It will be a wonderful day when race is no longer an issue at all. That's one of the truly beautiful things about working iwth young children. They don't view each other by race at all....just as other children to play with. Gives me great hope for the future.

Thanks for your reply!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by AnIntellectualRedneck
 


That would be ideal, I agree. But schools reflect society, and our society still defines by race. There are certain groups who keep close tabs on how various races perform on the standardized tests, and if one race begins to drop then they (quite rightly, imo) question why.

Thanks for your reply!



posted on Feb, 11 2012 @ 09:45 AM
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Originally posted by Kenrichaed
reply to post by Unrealised
 


Having information about what races are doing what is a vital component to helping this country run smoothly. If no African children are attending schools wouldn't you want to know this to identify the problem so you can find a solution?

Nothing evil about this.


That first sentence just sounds weird to me. I don't know why. Seems to me that we would want to know what people in general are doing rather than specific races. We distribute financial and nutritional aid as well as determine peoples' tax status based on their financiial standings. Not on their race. Law abiding and lawless, rich and poor, people are in every race there is. I'm failing to see what your point here is.

Just out of curiosity, why would there be a problem if there are no African American students in a specific school? It's been my experience living in 3 different states that the population of a school mirrors the population of the surrounding neighborhoods where the student in that school live. If you don't live within a specified area of that school, you don't go to that schoo? What exactly would you do to "fix" the problem?

Widen the area so hopefully the black kids can mingle with the white kids so they can get a better educatiion?


Bus them in? ^

The only thing that would happen if you widen the area or bus students in is that an overburdened school would become even more so.

Sorry for calling you to task, but your post didn't make much sense to me.

youtu.be...


edit on 11-2-2012 by Taupin Desciple because: Grammar



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