This post is in response to Larry Ferlazzo's question-of-the-week, "What impact can having more teachers of color have on our schools & what needs to be done to make it happen?" It would be an asset to have more teachers of color in our schools to serve as models for young minds. But, the remedy doesn't come easily.
It has been noted through numerous studies that a larger percentage of blacks and disadvantaged students drop out of school and never make it to college. I believe this happens for several reasons. Many African-American parents are too busy working to make ends meet, are illiterate themselves, or do not understand the value of a good education. Additionally, they may not take the time to instill in their children the important values of honesty, self-discipline, compassion, and respect that are so essential for a successful life.
So, we will begin with the children. If they don't have parents who are able to work with them, they should be given mentors who will support them in their learning endeavors. These mentors will serve as role models, encouraging them to do their best, and reinforcing them when they complete their assigned tasks. Self-discipline will incur as they achieve success, and they will grow to respect authority, when they realize their teachers and mentors really care about them.