Research – The Federal Government Already Knows About “Our Kids”
What does it mean for Black teens with ADHD (Global Alliance, 2018)?
- They’re undereducated.
- They’re more likely to be expelled from high school.
- They’re unrepresented in special education.
- They’re more likely to be incarcerated.
- They have a lower quality of employment.
Evidence shows that children of color are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2020) report that Black teens who show the same ADHD symptoms are less likely to receive the same treatment as their White peers.
The disproportionate representation of Black teens with ADHD exists for several reasons (Educational Researcher, 2006). The roles of racism and White privilege are seen throughout the country. “Our kids” are often identified as having behavior and emotional problems as their number one obstacle for learning.
The Number One Solution
Not everyone agrees, but the numbers don’t lie. The good thing is that there’s an established solution. Get Black teachers (US Department of Education, 2020).
- Black students with Black teachers are more likely to graduate (high school, college).
- Black teachers are less likely to perceive students to be disruptive, inattentive.
- Black students with ADHD are more likely to feel comfortable in confronting racism.
- All students can see Black teachers as intelligent leaders.
- Having Black leaders breaks down negative stereotypes.
My Story as a Math Teacher
Check out my experiences as a math teacher in inclusion classes. What does that mean? Students with ADHD are in the same class with “regular” students. Ones with other disabilities too.
Traveling back forever in the WayBack Machine…
Walking into my new school, I knew that there was trouble. A Black woman who’s a math teacher. That’s me. Worst of all, I’m certified in special education too. Oh brother!
Walking into my new classroom, I picked up the class roster. I knew it. With names like Markisha and Darnell, I knew what was up.
In walks my co-teacher. A White man. He ordered me around. I said nothing.
Class starts. Every day the same thing. 30+ teens screaming. He started screaming too. Every day he led, the same thing. “It’s the Black kids with emotional disorders. They ruin everything!”
As an academic therapist too, I watched the Black kids’ symptoms. They had ADHD.
Don’t say anything.
How Do We Find Black Teachers?
The federal government knows the answer. Black teens with ADHD need Black teachers. The challenges are there, but there must be a way to find solutions.
- Improve prospects through unified recruitment.
- Establish pedagogical foundations.
- Implement a critical mindset.
- Encourage diversity from the top (words and actions).
- Consider the importance of Black teachers.
Don’t give up. There’s always room for change.
Question: Have you ever had a Black teacher in a major subject? What was it like?