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Study Shows Black Students Usually Get Inexperienced Teachers

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: Pat McDonogh, The Louisville Courier Journal

A new analysis conducted by the editorial team of a Kentucky-based newspaper shows that black children are predominantly taught by novice teachers in one of the state’s public school districts.

The Louisville Courier Journal recently published the findings of its analysis, which focused solely on Kentucky’s Jefferson County public school district. The newspaper analyzed data that was derived from the state education department, as well as Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS).

The data was based on the 2016-17 academic year at all of the predominantly black schools in JCPS. In all, JCPS has 150 schools in its jurisdiction. Eighteen of those schools are deemed “priority” schools, which are some of the lowest performing institutions in the state of Kentucky.

Twelve of JCPS’s 18 “priority” schools are predominantly black. The vast majority of students in all 18 of these failing JCPS institutions qualify for the district’s free or reduced lunch programs. The Courier Journal’s analysis additionally revealed that predominantly black JCPS schools tend to have severely inexperienced teachers.

Not only that, high teacher turnover rates are also a problem at the 12 JCPS “priority” schools that were analyzed during the 2016-17 academic year.  Lenora Yarbough, a woman who has a number of grandchildren attending JCPS schools, spoke with the Courier Journal about why she thinks black children get the most unproven educators.

“That has a lot to do with ZIP code — West End ZIP codes. I don’t think it’s fair that they use (new teachers) as scapegoats where they know that they might not be successful,” Yarbough told the Courier Journal.

On the opposite side of the racial equation, this type of systemic preparation for failure black students experience is not affecting JCPS schools that are predominantly white. At JCPS’s Bloom Elementary School located in the county’s Highlands, teachers on average have at least 18 years of experience and the state test scores stay high.

This recent investigation by a legitimate media source underpins the reality-based notion that systemic racism in America’s public school districts is alive and well.

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