Implicit Bias Is Behind the Push for Equity in Our Schools (Part 1)

The vice principal of my school sends out a weekly email to all staff reminding us that we need to be working on the mandatory District-wide Equity Training, which everyone was supposed to have completed in September or October. Why the regular emails? I’m not sure, but I have long suspected the push for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE) is based on the implicit bias of the administrators and people in the DIE community. In this series of articles, I plan to look closely at the curriculum that the administrators of my district are compelling us to attend. At the outset, I’ll admit that I have a bias here. That is, I think DIE is stifling our children and stepping on teachers’ rights to academic freedom.

This district-wide equity training starts with a PDF file called “The Belief Gap” which states, “We hear a lot about the academic struggles of low-income students and students of color–particularly comparing them to their White and wealthier peers.”

Let’s “unpack” this sentence: Notice how from the very start of the training the term “low-income students” is associated with “students of color” and the term “White” is associated with “wealthy.” It’s as if they want teachers to think that all whites are wealthy and privileged. This allows for sloppy equivocation to occur throughout the rest of the training modules. One minute the authors use statistics about students of color and the next minute they use stats about low income students, as if they were one and the same. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 28 percent of white students are low-income, compared to 61 percent of blacks and 60 percent Hispanics. Though the numbers of blacks and Hispanics in low-income households is certainly larger, we should not ignore the fact that many whites are low income as well. In fact, if we did the math, we would see that 28 percent of whites is probably equal to or higher than the entire number of black students in our schools.

We need to get straight up front also that the DIE curriculum does not address Asians. This is because Asians present a challenge to the DIE dogma. In at least one school district in Washington, Asians have been moved off of the “students of color” list because they are neither low-income (The NCCP says 28% are low income, equal to whites), nor are they under performing. So at the very outset, the DIE dogmatists must push Asians out of its reality because including them would hurt their case. Evidently, whites and Asians form their own category called “not students of color.”

The “Belief Gap” PDF goes on to say that “white teachers are much less likely than Black teachers to see Black students as college material.” To prove this point, it links to a Vox story by Libby Nelson called, “Racism in the classroom: the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ is just regular bigotry” (2015). I don’t recommend anyone actually read the article because Vox is not serious journalism, much less scholarship. Case in point, Nelson, Deputy Policy Editor for Vox, says there is “a new study exploring how race influences teachers’ perceptions…” She doesn’t immediately mention the fact that the data for the so-called new study came from 2002.

To what so-called new study is Nelson referring? It’s called, “Who Believes in Me? The Effect of Student-Teacher Demographic Match on Teacher Expectations.” The authors are from American University and Johns Hopkins University, well-respected (at least among Leftists) institutions. The study was funded in part by a grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) which gets its grant money in part from the National Science Foundation, which gets its grant money, mostly, from your tax dollars.

Since this is an article exploring the possibility of implicit bias in the DIE ideology, it’s worth noting that the president of the AERA at the time of the “Who Believes in Me” study’s publication was Joyce E. King, editor of the book Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda for the New Century. It’s purely speculation on my part and I do not wish to tarnish the name of AERA, but it seems possible that her bias could have influenced, if not the outcome of the study, at least the direction it took.

For instance, in addition to revealing that white teachers have lower expectations of black kids than do black teachers, the study found that “on average, teachers have significantly higher expectations for females.” If the authors were not motivated by an implicit bias towards DIE ideology, why did they choose to focus on the race statistics instead of the perhaps even more troubling truth that teachers expect more from girls than from boys?

Additionally, it seems unfair to use data from 2002 to discuss racial bias in teachers 20 years later. After all, much has changed in the last 20 years. Between now and then, we have witnessed the rise of big tech, which has an undeniable left-leaning bias. Google, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter grew to prominence over this time period, just as the young teachers of today were coming of age. They were all exposed to the left-wing bias of the media, our education system, and our big tech oligarchies. It stands to reason that if the same Educational Longitudinal Study from 2002 were replicated today, it would reveal significantly different results.

And since the study was done in 2002, they could conceivably have followed up with the students in the study to see how many of them actually went to college. But the researchers didn’t need to because a quick look at current college enrollment statistics reveals that blacks are actually making a lot of progress since 2000.

https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cpb.asp

In fact, between the year 2000 and 2010, black enrollment increased by 7 percentage points while white enrollment increased by only 4 percentage points. As of 2018, 37 percent of blacks and 43% of whites 18-24 years old enrolled in college.

Let’s just accept for a moment the point that white teachers generally have lower expectations of black kids. What causes this so-called implicit bias? Is it that whites are naturally born racist? Are whites taught that they are superior? Is there a conspiracy among whites to keep blacks down? If so, I’ve missed all of that and I’ve been white all my life. Here’s an alternate theory. When I was teaching at a local community college, I got in trouble for giving a black student a C on a research paper. I thought I was right to hold ALL students equally to a fairly high standard and I thought that I was applying that standard fairly. I didn’t want to give people a grade based on anything except the quality of their work. But in fact, after considering what I had done, I realized that I was not applying the standards fairly. The paper should have received a D or an E, but because the student was black, I was afraid to give the paper what it actually merited.

Why? I was afraid in our culture that I would have do deal with kickback from this student or administrators if he complained. In fact, that’s what happened. The guy was not happy with the C and he complained to the student newspaper and the paper published a story about me and my conservative bias getting in the way of my grading. I think they may have been right, on further reflection; only conservatives care anymore about logic, reasoning and truth.

So my point is that perhaps the lower expectations that white teachers in the 2002 study had for black students was in part formed by their experience with black students and their parents. It is possible that white teachers are afraid to hold black students to high standards because they don’t want to deal with accusations that may be leveled at them. It’s possible that some whites resent this situation, and it may play out in a form of implicit bias that makes teachers believe blacks are not college material.

Another problem I see with the 2002 study is that among the student body, only 11 percent of the students were black. This means the study was probably done in a predominately white district. It should not be considered a reliable indication of all districts across the nation.

The “Belief Gap” article from my school district makes many other similar mistakes. It quotes another Vox article, an article from NY Times and a Washington Post article. I’ll just say that these sources have proven themselves over the past few years to be nothing more than propaganda for the Oligarchs and technocrats. And, I hope to explore in another article, my theory that the DIE agenda helps their cause tremendously.

It’s important that we scrutinize the studies that are being used to prop up the DIE dogma that is being crammed down our throats. In part two, I will look at the next document in our DIE curriculum, “Leading with Equity.” I think the subtitle to that article is probably “or else.”

Published by RLMartin

Write, Teach, Farm WTF!

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