Equity & Diversity

Recognizing Differences Between Black and Hispanic Students

By Liana Loewus — May 03, 2012 1 min read
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Richard Whitmire, author of Why Boys Fail and one of our former opinion bloggers, writes in a USA Today column that “we need to stop lumping blacks and Hispanics together” when talking about ways to improve educational outcomes for minority students.

By many measures, urban school districts are making more progress closing achievement gaps between Hispanic and white students than between African American and white students. According to Whitmire, that’s because Hispanics and blacks have different educational needs—and should consequently be taught differently. He writes:

At successful all-black schools, school staffs build cultures based on social justice and employ highly structured curricula that emphasize verbal instruction, explained one researcher. At successful Hispanic schools, you are more likely to see a school culture based on connections to family with teachers employing an unstructured curriculum emphasizing visual instruction.

He advocates doing away the “students of color” category, and instead focusing on specific strategies for helping each group.

What are your thoughts on making this distinction? How might this affect teachers’ methods in the classroom? Would be great to hear from teachers who have worked extensively with both African American and Hispanic students, or other minority students.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.