In a recent article, several Charleston County public schools community members have officially expressed their concerns at a recent board meeting regarding recent racial allegations. At the end of the meeting, Todd Garrett, a board member, called the accusations levied at board members “absurd” and “par for the course.” He went on to say that “We’re not doing a good job and we have not been doing a good job of teaching poor, black children in our district. But we are moving in a new direction to try to demand accountability in every school.” Charleston County pubic schools can eliminate the perception of racism by empowering teachers to promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.
According to the article, Controversy, accusations of racism continue to hound Charleston County school board, Pastor Nancy Faden of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship compared the board members to the Ku Klux Klan and the young white supremacist Dylan Roof. Dylan Roof is charged with murdering nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church on June 17. She went on to say that “You are no better because you have done privately what he did openly. You continue to show your disrespect for us as African Americans. The sheets have come off, and I’m looking at Dylann Roofs, the collective school board of Charleston.”
In addition, Reverend Nelson Rivers, pastor of Charity Missionary Baptist Church, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleging that the board’s superintendent hiring process excluded African-Americans. The complaint also alleges that the board engaged in discriminatory hiring practices and has created a hostile work environment for the African-American staff. The resolution for this complaint is to compel the school board to develop a plan to end racial segregation at Academic Magnet High School and to distribute resources more equitably throughout the district.
How can empowering Charleston County public school teachers to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships eliminate the need for civil litigation?
Developing positive relationships with students provides benefits for schools, teachers, and students. Having positive and caring relationships in schools increases resilience and protects children from academic failure, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and destructive behavior and violence. Teachers who have positive feelings toward their students are more likely to have students reciprocate those positive feelings. Teachers who develop positive and personal relationships with students may prevent psychological development problems in their students. Students are more willing to develop positive relationships with teachers who tend to form close friendships with their students.
Minority students have beliefs regarding student achievement and teacher-student relationships. Black students believe their academic achievement increases when they have positive relationships with teachers. Black students also believe that increases in positive feelings affect academic achievement when teachers become responsive to the students’ personal lives. Conversely, Black students believe that their poor academic performance results from teachers who lack concern for them and engage in negative gossip regarding students.
Quality teacher-student interactions are one of the most important variables that influence student achievement in the classroom. Teacher-student interactions are at the center of the educational process. Therefore, it is to be expected that they should have an important bearing on students’ achievement. Teacher-student interactions affect student achievement. Long-term teacher-student relationships result in improved student performance. Higher student grades result when teachers and students have congruent values. Black student achievement has a high correlation with warm and supportive teachers.
The interpersonal relationship between students and teachers has a profound impact on instructional activities and outcomes. Teachers respond to their favorite students by creating a warmer and more positive classroom atmosphere, providing superior feedback on how they are performing, teach challenging material, and increase opportunities to respond to questions. Teacher warmth increases student vocabulary and arithmetic achievement. Warm relationships between teachers and students motivate students to meet teachers’ requests for compliance. Expressing warmth toward minority students without accompanying the friendliness with challenging academic standards is just as debilitating to students as expressing overt hostility.
Promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships in the Charleston County Public Schools will eliminate the perception of a racist school district.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President