I need your help on this one. There might be some stereotyping and SBOLE (soft bigotry of low expectations) in this story from a local community newspaper about the Hopkins (Minn.) School District's efforts to close the racial achievement gap in its schools. I can't tell.
Nancy Marcy is a physical education teacher at Hopkins High School and a member of the school's equity team, a group of administrators, teachers and district staff working to abolish the achievement gap between white students and students of color.
Part of the problem, she said, is something called institutional racism.
"Institutional racism is really subtle," Marcy said. "Many of us wouldn't even notice it unless someone pointed it out."
For example, she challenged, what does a perfect classroom look like? Is it noisy? Are students moving? "Many adults would say that if a class is quiet, that's a good class," said Marcy. "But what's considered too much noise?"
As a gym teacher, Marcy willingly admits her tolerance for noise probably outweighs that of other adults. Yet she insists activity, and the noise it creates, are necessary in today's diverse classrooms.
"When they get excited in the classroom, students of color speak up. They want to turn and process with their neighbors," Marcy said.
"Many African-American students," Marcy continued, "come from a culture that values collectivity. It's really important for students of color to be supportive of their friends and to feel supported. For them, working as a small group, teaching one another and putting their names together on a project is really important."