Black perspective in education

Alexandria Powell, Guest Columnist

One thing that is always going to be relevant in our society is education. The more we advance, the more we need to make sure that education is inclusive for all students. While there is progress being made, there are things being done that are making education take a step back. 

The goal of an educator is to connect with your students, as well as prepare them for what they are going to encounter in the real world.  “Unfortunately, students can experience lowered academic and behavior expectations, and they can feel disconnected from their teachers which will increase anxiety in the classroom. When our brains are anxious, we are not able to learn at our best,” UNI Human Relations professor Caroline Elser stated.

In April 2021, Iowa Senate Republicans approved putting limits on diversity training for teachers. The goal of this is to stay away from teaching students about more controversial topics. For example, the 1619 Project which was founded in Waterloo, Iowa, is a collection of stories, songs and pictures from the viewpoint of slaves. 

These resources provide a more rich, full–learning perspective for students, as a lot of events in history are viewed  from the white perspective. The result of the limitations that were passed are aimed towards attacking resources such as the 1619 Project. When there are acts like this being done, important information is being taken away from students. 

By having resources in the classroom that promote one’s culture, or what they identify with, students are more likely to be engaged and connected with the content. In this day and age, it’s time that every child is able to see themselves in the classroom, and teachers need to be prepared to help them see that. 

Diversity training is also needed so educators aren’t inflicting racial biases or implicit biases in the classroom, whether it be intentional or unintentional. Implicit bias is the pre-reflective attribution of particular qualities by an individual to a member of a social group. 

This connects to education  – when educators don’t recognize their biases, it can lead to use of microaggressions and stereotypes in the classroom. When asked about how this can affect students, the goal of an educator is to connect with the students, as well as prepare them for what they are going to encounter in the real world.