Target: Dr. John B. King, Secretary of the U.S Department of Education
Goal: Stop implicit racial bias in preschools by providing additional teacher training and guidance.
According to a study by Yale University, implicit racial biases in preschool teachers could be contributing to a racial disparity in discipline and education across the country. Urge officials to combat this problem by providing additional training and guidance on racial biases and issues for preschool teachers.
As part of the study, preschool teachers were asked to look for “challenging behaviors” in videos of children in the classroom. Even though none of the children were actually misbehaving, teachers spent much more time looking at black children. The researchers found that this could explain part of the racial disparity in punishment, as an implicit racial bias could cause teachers to believe black children are more likely to misbehave.
Another part of the study found that teachers had greater empathy for a child’s difficult home life when they both shared the same race. According to researchers, this means that teachers need more instruction in understanding family struggles and how it can affect a child’s behavior, regardless of the child’s race.
A recent report by the U.S. Department of Education stated that black preschoolers are nearly four times as likely than white preschoolers to be subjected to suspensions. Even though in 2013, black kids were 19 percent of all preschoolers, they were 47 percent of preschoolers who received suspensions.
These statistics and findings show there is a major problem with racial bias in education. Urge officials to fight this bias by providing additional training and guidance for preschool teachers.
Dear Secretary King,
A recent Yale study demonstrated multiple ways in which preschool teachers across the country carry implicit racial bias against the children they teach. Your own department found that black preschoolers are 3.6-times as likely as their white preschoolers to be subjected to suspensions. This is a huge issue that can impede upon black children’s success as they begin their educations.
It is vital that your department takes action to combat this issue. I urge you to fight this racial bias and racial disparity in discipline by providing extra training and guidance on racial bias for preschool teachers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Seattle Parks