This isn’t a way of thinking that I tend to encourage, but we’ve all been trained to it, and in this case, it might apply. Go back and take a look at the photos from Mark Patinkin’s interview with students from Providence schools who say that teachers have taken no interest in them. Now, click over to Dan McGowan’s interviews with five Providence teachers of the year, in which they suggest fixes.
What do you notice? The list is missing the teacher of the year from 2017, but your observation that they are all white women still applies.
Now, I believe that hiring and, especially, professional awards, should be done based on objective criteria; whoever wins, wins. And of course, the teachers of the year aren’t necessarily representative of the entire faculty, demographically.
That said, when black male students are expressing a sense that teachers in a failing school district don’t take an interest in them, and the stars among those teachers are all white women, we might reasonably ask whether we’re missing some important criteria. Consider that the student who most directly insisted that not a single teacher has taken an interest in him did concede that the dean of students seemed to care, and his mother told Patinkin that the administrators at the school “were the only ones who tried to get students on track.” At least as currently reported on Gilbert Stuart Middle School’s Web page, the administration is four-fifths male.
Our current approach to education, as well as political correctness, make it difficult to think of a fair solution that could conceivably make it through the public-policy gauntlet. Here, again, educational freedom might help. If a school could try to fill an obvious need by emphasizing male teachers, for example, then families who think that environment might help their children could give it a try, and we could all observe the results.
As it is, we’re locked in to making universal decisions within the confines of discrimination policies that have to apply across the board, and that are founded on narrow ideological views of fairness.
Featured image: The classic “Puddin’ Taine, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same” scene from the Little Rascals episode, “Readin’ and Writin'”