Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Talented Tenth

Tony Sewell in The Voice asks why UK educationists focus on black failure and ignore the potential of successful black students to act as role models, raising the aspirations of others.

(IMHO it's because the research funding is distributed by guilt-stricken white liberals. They won't help talented white or black kids - that would be elitism.)

"I now have lost faith in much of our so-called education research.

The more sinister untold story of much of the research on black children is that no one is really interested in those who are doing well in school. They are seduced by the marginal, neglected and disaffected few. This is what is sexy and this is what gets the funding."

"... there is a lucrative industry based on social exclusion or rather, inclusion – (in out, in out, you shake it all about) – I call it the hokey kokey industry. This is where you get funds by saying how your initiative is going to contribute to the helpless mass of black victims undone by institutional racism.

No one, however, is going to fund you if you talk about developing the talented tenth in school.

The classic example has been the use of the black learning mentors in school. This came about in the 1990’s through the excellence in cities initiative. Many schools use the money to buy in black male mentors, talented individuals who are used as a kind of security guard or bouncer inside the school. Their job is to police the black trouble-makers through their special relationship with the ‘youth’. They thus make it easier for white teachers to teach those who want to learn.

However, many of these mentors have told me that they would love to work with a different profile of black child. Why can’t they be supporting those black children who are potential prodigies? Why aren’t they making the humdrum extraordinary and spectacular? Instead, they are always given the most alienated student and tasked with the impossible job of keeping them from being excluded.

The untold story about black children in our schools is that the real neglect is of those children who seem to be doing well but few are willing to find the genius within."

Read the whole thing.

Hat-tip to Booker Rising. One for the blogroll.

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