My school district held a training on racism on September 11th, 2020, It gave me a very real wake up call.
Mr. Adofo Bandele went to WCCUSD. He graduated high school in 1975 having never learned basic reading, writing, or math. He passed through the entire system without an alarm being raised. He never failed a class. Adofo described a 2-tiered system for blacks when he went to school: If a black student was disruptive and couldn’t read, they were failed out. But a courteous student like Adofo was passed through. He learned to read on his own at age 26.
He said that he was assessed and placed incorrectly. Wildly more importantly, he said that black students that he works with at WCCUSD today are still being assessed and placed incorrectly but this doesn’t happen with white students. He was given fake grades to push him through the system. Black students aren’t given fake grades any more but they are still being poorly placed.
“I work with African-American students that can’t read and are in an English class that they’re going to fail and they generally do… and when I ring the bell “Like hey look this student can’t read, why are they in this English class?” The response I get has not been helpful, and in fact I’ve been called a troublemaker for constantly raising this issue about what’s happening to black students in these classrooms that they aren’t prepared for… but still I persist. The thing is though, that I’ve never had a white student that couldn’t read and was placed in a class that they were uncapable to deal with. Every white student I ever had this issue was addressed immediately and that white student was taken out of my hands and placed in a situation that they thought was better for him. However my African students they do not do this. They leave them with me and they generally end up failing these classes because they wasn’t prepared to take them in the first place. It’s a failing situation that we keep putting black students in to this day, right now. Just as it was when I was in the district. So you know, something has to change. A lot has to change.”
He went on to say that black students aren’t given false grades any more, they are failed.