cover image Black Teachers on -Op/106

Black Teachers on -Op/106

Michele Foster. New Press, $23 (192pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-320-2

How has the teaching profession been experienced and understood by black teachers? To answer her question, Foster (Unrelated Kin) conducted 20 ""life history"" interviews with black teachers between 1988 and 1996. Of interest not only to black teachers, parents and school administrators, Black Teachers on Teaching gives all readers frank firsthand reactions to school integration and its results for teachers and students, as well as an overview of blacks in education over much of this past century. For many of these teachers, integration has been a failure, not only depriving black children of the dedicated instruction of black teachers but also resulting in the firing or displacement of black staff. One interviewee recounts being sent to an east Texas school to fulfill legal requirements of integration, only to spend six months in an office, having been refused a teaching assignment because of the prejudice of white colleagues and protesting parents. Meanwhile, white teachers maintained their right to teach in the newly integrated schools. Over the years, many of these black teachers noted that bright black students were scorned or ignored by their white teachers and socially discriminated against by their white classmates. Many blacks of average ability equal to that of their white counterparts were relegated to special education or remedial classes. There are a couple of interviews that are superficial and could have been excluded, but for the most part Foster provides frontline reports on subjects that many people know only from a distance. (Feb.)