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[Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.
- To: "Dr. Paul C. Mocombe" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.
- From: "White, Phillip" <Phillip.White@ucdenver.edu>
- Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2013 09:57:23 -0700
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.
Paul - i enjoyed reading your essay - the considerations within it coincide with my own questions regarding the construction of educational experience for minority students of color that is culturally affirmative and
supports student academic success. often i find myself overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the work and being mindful of the myriad of pressing concerns and anxieties.
your initial citations of John Ogbu's work took me back to his last book, Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement (2003), which i found to be a fascinating ethnography and deeply rewarding study. i think that Ogbu's work done in shaker heights, a suburb of cleveland, ohio, offers a far more nuanced examination and theoretical understanding of the whys of the lack of academic success of black american students, than you give him credit for.
Ogbu used a cultural-ecological theory to examine multiple related closely connection factors affecting black student academic success and engagement. he looked at the history of american institutions and racism, minority responses to that treatment, as well as black student beliefs and actions in relationship to schools, ways of identity construction and how students, faculty, administration and parents explained their interactions.
i'm not going to go through the book, but i think that it's important that Ogbu does not use just a oppositional culture hypothesis.
certainly Ogbu calls for greater degrees of trust between our black american community and our thus-far white mainstream oriented educational community. that's certainly a tough call - and i think that the extreme difficulty of the engendering trust demonstrates all the more its necessity.
Ogbu did have policy suggestions: school choice; performance contracts for teachers and merit pay; cooperative learning as a necessary component of classroom learning activities; culturally responsive pedagogy.
i do think that Ogbu would support your findings that "underachievement ... is a mismatch of linguistic structure and social-class function", which you directly attribute to the capitalist social structure of class inequality. which is true, i think, but too deterministic. too cause and effect. for all human social organizations are congeries of inequalities - such is the human condition.
more importantly, i'm greatly interested in your research results demonstrating a narrowing of the achievement gap between our various racially designated groups of students.
Phillip White, PhD
Urban Community Teacher Education Program
Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO