The Backwards Mirror Called Academic Literature: African American Children Need to See Their Reflection

Nichole Robinson-McLeod, Language Arts, Mountain Island Lake Academy

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


African American students within the U.S. public school system have carried the weight of lower achievers for a significant time. The disheartening gaps between high and low test takers has too often left African American students on the lower end of the seesaw that reflects formal intelligence. While an individual’s background and level of exposure can have extreme impacts on academic performance, it is no genuine argument that race determines capability. Getting to the core of the real barrier presents factual evidence that reveals truth. A thoughtful educator must ask oneself, “how can I hold twenty children of all different backgrounds to the exact same standard?” This does not mean that as an educator, I should rearrange grade level standards for every individual student. Instead, this means that as a thoughtful educator, I take time to address the diverse needs of my students in order to give them a fair chance at content mastery. It’s time to present materials and resources that reflect the students in our classrooms.