NJ’s racist complaint of too many white teachers (Opinion)
"...will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
- MLK Jr.
Were those words meant to be a one way street? I don't think so. When the NJ Department of Education complains of having too many white teachers, shouldn't people who care about civil rights be outraged? They won't be.
"Teacher diversity matters. We believe that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce," state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet told New Jersey 101.5.
No, a strong workforce makes a strong workforce. Smart, competent and creative teachers make a smart, competent and creative workforce. We shouldn't be looking at skin color and deciding there's too much white any more than we should be deciding there's too much black or too much hispanic or too much anything. But this is exactly what the state of New Jersey plans to do. They want a more diverse group of teachers. In Dino Flammia's article it's pointed out that about 163,000 students never encounter a teacher of color in their schools. Need I point out that in the 2016-2017 school year New Jersey's public school enrollment was 1.37 million? This means in 88% of our public schools, this issue of "too many white" teachers didn't apply. Can we see the numbers for how many students never encounter a white teacher in their typical day? Of course not, because that would not advance their agenda.
The thing is, we shouldn't even be thinking about it. We shouldn't be seeing color.
I refuse to believe your skin color has anything to do with what kind of teacher you are. And if it's simply about socially connecting before you can teach, I refuse to believe white teachers cannot connect with black students or that black teachers cannot connect with white students. This is racism disguised as progress.
Our students deserve the best, most qualified, most skilled and creative teachers no matter the color of their skin. Do not mistake what I'm saying. This is not some defense of the white race. If the best and brightest teachers in a given year happen to be 99% black, then that's who should have the jobs. For us to be in 2019 still looking to manipulate according to race is appalling. This is in defense of the teaching profession, which should be honorable and unbiased and steeped in a tradition of bringing whoever is best into a classroom. We should not be selecting our teachers based on skin color anymore than we should be assuming potential in students based on skin color. I'd like to think MLK Jr. would be appalled. But hey, I'm just a white guy, what do I know?
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