Targeted Teacher Education Can Reduce the Racial Gap in School Disciplinary Actions

brendawalkerBrenda Townsend Walker, a professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, has conducted a study on the rates of school suspensions and juvenile arrests for African American males. She found that African American males were far more likely than their White peers to be singled out for school infractions. In addition, for those who were punished, Black males typically received harsher punishments than their White classmates.

Professor Townsend Walker believes that a major factor in the racial disparity is that “teachers are placed in urban classrooms with little understanding of African American males living in poverty.” Under such conditions, she argues, “It is inevitable that misunderstandings will occur.” She concludes that teacher educators must explicitly prepare school personnel to understand and address the complex factors that shuttle African American males from schools and into juvenile justice and adult correctional systems.

The study, “Teacher Education and African American Males: Deconstructing Pathways From the Schoolhouse to the ‘Big House,'” was published by The Journal of Teacher Education. The article may be accessed here.

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  1. Thanks for your work/study Dr. Townsend Walker. I recently started a consulting company to address this and other issues regarding African American males, primarily and all students generally. I hope we can form a connection to affect change in these vital days of educating our children. Thanks again, I hope we can talk soon.

    • Hi Alker.IStan Amos, I just saw your comment. I wish you the best on your consulting company and look forward to having a conversation regarding these very pressing concerns. I will be starting a blog soon focusing on the need for effective urban school reform.

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