The black man who survived education

Luther TyrusLuther Tyus, graduate research assistant in the Brown School


I will never forget what my Riverview Gardens elementary principal, Denis Dorsey, told my parents. He told my parents that I wasn’t smart enough for college. I didn’t have what it took, he said.

I was in the second grade, and I had already developed a healthy dislike for school.  Sure, I wasn’t a model student. I flunked the third grade, and I was suspended several times for fighting. However, despite my downfalls, I didn’t deserve to be written off. New studies suggest black students are disciplined and removed from class at a higher rate than white students, ultimately hindering the quality of their education.

For a while, I believed this principal. Although I left elementary school, I internalized someone else’s negative vision of me. Researchers have identified systematic patterns in teacher bias and expectations for black male students. Statistics suggest non-black teachers typically have lower academic expectations for their black students.

Read the full piece in the St. Louis American.

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