In classrooms across the nation, many African-American students will navigate their entire K–12 education experience without seeing a Black teacher. The academic future of these students will most often be placed in the hands of White teachers, particularly White females. And although some do an excellent job, research reveals that in the current standardized test and accountability-focused environment, a large segment of White teachers are failing to make relevant connections with Black students. The result? A disinterest in school, increased disciplinary issues, higher suspension and expulsion rates and greater recommendations for student placement into special education classes.

The real issue here, however, is the lack of a teacher-student connection. Some teachers are of the opinion that a great class session is  one in which they are able to manage their class through the end of the period. In other words, they figure that success is dealing with behavior as opposed to reaching academic standards. This false idea of success must change if our students are going to reach their true potential and find their place as productive members of our society.

Read more in the May 2012 issue of EBONY Magazine.