Black Students and Middle Class Teachers

By Beachum, Floyd | Multicultural Education, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Black Students and Middle Class Teachers


Beachum, Floyd, Multicultural Education


Black Students and Middle Class Teachers BLAck STUdENTS; MiddLE CLAss TEACHERS By JAWANZA KUNJUFU AFRICAN AMERICAN IMAGES, 2002 164 pp. $15.95 ISBN 0-913543-81-0

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu's bookBlack Students; Middle Class Teachers is an interesting analysis into issues of race, class, and good teaching. The book is basically well written and free from confusing jargon, thereby making it accessible for parents and practitioners, the book's primary audiences.

There are eight chapters: (1) middle-class schools, (2) white female teachers, (3) African American teachers, (4) master teachers, (5) a relevant Black curriculum, (6) African American students, (7) African American parents, and (8) models of success.

The book is written with several objectives in mind; first, to address the value conflict between middle-class teachers and low-income students. Secondly, to enlighten and empower white teachers who make up a significant percentage of the teaching force. Third, to confront and encourage Black teachers who work with primarily Black students. Fourth, to improve the achievement of both low and middle-income Black students. Finally, to foster communication and collaboration between African American parents and schools.

Dr. Kunjufu's vantage point is unique because he states that he has no particular loyalty to any special interest. He writes:

I have no loyalty to unions, White or Black educators, school boards, or other vested interests. I am only concerned with the academic achievement of African American students. (p. x)

His dedication is not to his detriment as he boldly discusses some clandestine educational issues.

This book is yet another in Dr. Kunjufu's lineage of Afrocentric literature. It is based on the intellectual tradition of such books as Kunjufu's Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys (vol. 1-4), To Be Popular or Smart: The Black Peer Group, Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty, and Carter G. Woodson's The Mis-Education of the Negro. Though the book may lack an overarching theoretical paradigm it supplements this deficiency by providing information in a straightforward concise manner.

In addition to the lack of theoretical rigor, there are some other areas that were lacking. In reference to supporting literature, the text only gave a cursory explanation of major works in the field of education. Though several books were mentioned, many were not explored in depth. A deeper analysis of works such as A Framework for Under standing Poverty and The Mis-Education of the Negro along with a better nexus to Kunjufu's own explanations would truly benefit readers.

Also, in classic Kunjufu form, he poses several pertinent questions:

* Do schools educate, level, track, or mis-educate? …

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