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Good evening. Welcome to Black perspectives. A 25 minute weekly feature focusing on issues information and lifestyles of the communities in Boston in the so sure my name is Charles Desmond you host for black perspectives. Tonight it's my tonight. My guest is Josep Delgado president of the black educators alliance of Massachusetts and director of the New Mexico program will be discussing some of the issues impacting on black education in Boston. Joe I want to first of all say thank you very much for coming over here to the mass Boston to talk with us and I think that our listening audience will be very interested to hear your perspective on some of the issues that that are facing Boston education right now. Maybe the best place to start off would be for you to give us a little background on what is the black educators orangs of Massachusetts and what kinds of issues have you been facing in the past. You know thank you for inviting me personally going to kid Alliance Massachusetts is an organization of educators and it was cloned about 16 17 years ago and it
was then it was called The Negro Educators Association. And in fact John Deo Bryant was one divisional founders with groans as the deceased drones Griffith and what they did is they next they started around issues that affected affirmative action. Many of the black educators felt that the Boston Public Schools was going to scream discriminatory in its hiring practices and in fact that's one reason why we had to be saved or today. The other things that they felt there was a chance for them to get educators together around the state and so they began to deal work with educators from Springfield and the West are such a lot 11 12 or 13 years ago. They then became the black educators alliance of Massachusetts in that that time were very active in articulating the issues around education for minority kids as well as around issues of affirmative action. What we found is
that the Boston Public Schools was not quite cooperating with black people and black teachers in particular whom they had back then with the call that can come of the Advisory Council at the time had a couple black administrators and those most of the black teachers and administrators were in those two schools the king or the Timothy. Then what we began to do as an organization is to confront and that at that time 11 years 12 let me a vagina Bryant was the president then of the black educators and human factors person for two years. I think I'm probably the only other president that's been two years similar to John tended in my tenure as the head of the organization when very active than all of the issues that affect the Boston public schools and have been I have been called on many occasions as to oppositions relative to or from that action relative to the Court's involvement school system and any issues that have to do with the quality of education of the classical exclusiveness.
So basically that's the M history and backdrop. We do on going to roll with this issues beyond just the Boston public schools. Depending on who brings those issues to us and then our ability to respond to them. Mainly it's around a sort of lobbying lobbying folks to take some steps towards Hermine action. We were involved with the concerned black educators which is an arm lock and you can as a line it sort of grow out of the teacher community teachers education and we have been involved with the desegregation court order and our part is to the student and we get all the information from the court. My name is on the list in terms of the court sending us information on the court order. So basically that's the background of your organization history and the nacelle. Do you feel. I just I have two questions that come to my back and the first is what do you perceive is the major objective that the
black educators alliance. What do you perceive as your major objective right now. What's the major issue that you all are focusing on. Right now we tend to focus on issues of quality and issues of access there aren't any crisis currently going on in the Boston public schools. That means none of the proportion that would force us to take some position. We meet with the superintendent of the Boston public schools on a monthly basis and then raise issues around vocational education and special education. Our main concern right now on a main problem that we feel is that the Boston public schools curriculum needs to be upgraded and that the teachers need to in fact begin to address the curriculum issues so that the kids confidence is level competency levels can increase. So basic skills are probably six of the most important issue. What we try to do is have some workshops around the use of the new curriculum that's been developed because Boston historically
has not had luck has not had a city wide curriculum and in fact what would happen is. When a teacher could be teaching one subject in one part of town and another teacher could be teaching another subject and using different resources and materials and that's the other thing we feel important is getting more materials and resources to the kids in terms of books pencils just the basic kind of things the conditions of the building. We always try to stay on top of that. What we've been able to do because of the election to the school committee of John and Brian G Maguire is to just play less of an active role because we feel that they're there to represent our interests in terms of black educators and black people. However we when it's important we try to intervene to to make it clear to whomever on the school committee or the superintendent self what we are what we feel has to be in terms of responding to the problems in the school system around
things like staffing and we only feel there's teachers not doing their job and the school system as is changing around because now that for the first time in history the top schools that terminated some teacher. On a real important concern with accountability teachers and administrators also. So when and in your point of view I think that and some of the issues that you brought up are very and interesting in the sense that the issue of quality in the schools and the type of education that goes on in the school building seems to be emerging as a major issue in the minds of the in your case the black educated as well as the people in the superintendent's office and the teachers themselves. Beyond the black teachers are seen to be looking at the issue of quality of the educational product as being more important at this time. That's a major step in the sense that I think I mean our listening audience expands the city bus and self as well as a number of the suburban communities outside of the city particularly
myself sure. And I think a lot of people are have on their minds the question of the quality of the schools not only in the city but the suburban schools and I think that. And the fact that we. You're telling us that there's a little into it. Upgrading the quality of the schools and the teachers and administrators alike and elected public officials are coming together on that issue I think is a major step that I think that our being and your allies should be very much committed for that breakthrough. Thank you I think that one of the things that we are discovering now is that people have to work together and I think we've known that all time but I think now the people in control the power of the white people the making most of the decisions are beginning to understand it. They're still trying to make decisions for our people without including us in the process the perfect example that is Jeems consent to treat Committee where they pulled us all together to talk about the consent decree. There was no consent. I mean the parents withdrew. We withdrew because we felt it was a bogus process. And I still feel that way today I think that Jim's album A
key was heard was dishonest in terms of her intentions he did not pull people together. I thought that it was more the publicity and when people would disagree with their process they said like push them out or ignore their issues and I think that that's one problem that still exists where white people tend to believe that they can make decisions for black people enough not going to happen without us raising some kind of concerns. Publicly the other thing that I think that we're beginning to look at is that. It's really confusing in terms of people saying that black people can't learn and black people don't have the ability to choose and there's a lot of stereotyping prejudice that's going on and exclusionary practices that are taking it. For example the whole thing with the college boards where white people are now beginning to make decisions that black people or anybody and this is a class issue is just not black and white if you don't want to doesn't make a certain score should be excluded. And we're in fact many people just not to test just don't test well and therefore that doesn't mean that
they can't do well in college. In fact Miles when are you coming to college one of the 800 cut off that they're trying to topple you in 750 and do very well. The connection I think there's a disconnection that like decision makers have they disconnect the fact that education is just a means to an end it's not the end itself. Access to opportunity equal access is what the real issue is. Because there are many jobs out there and many people out here that can not and don't have the necessary go to college but can get out and be very productive citizens because they have certain skills whether it be vocational skills and training that they can get on their own. I tend to believe that many minorities have a lot of skills that they just don't get an opportunity to use. So what we're fighting for and I guess as president I sort of advocate political access and equal opportunity. The real things that we try to hide the real problems that we try to operate in isolation in society people don't look at the entire picture. Meaning that there are people that are unemployed you know as percent of minorities lacking unemployed
their parents are unemployed so it's a and we're really confining confuses me is how can we send people to the moon. How can we you know talk about you know the defense budget being so high and then we have people who are starving and people that you know aren't getting education. And so that's what confuses me because I tend to believe as a news content in Boston has stated that all kids can learn given the proper support resources the proper. Equipment the proper you know attention to just the people going to different rates and some people probably a little bit more gifted than others but basically we all have to do our due to heat and brains and I think that if we even want to do any kind of study or find it most people don't even use all the brains so it's obvious that we're not using the right technique to teach people so I don't build the kind of things that we've been we've been doing with regards to the issue that you've just raised the question of
the minimum standards and I'd like to just spend a little time talking about this because I think that all of our listening audience is very interested in the question of how do their children get the opportunity to go to college. In many instances people have the sense to send their children to college but yet they may not be allowed the opportunity to pursue that higher education because a big age cutoff point could be set whereby the student would not be eligible to pursue higher education. And this is particularly important for the Boston public schools because there are many people who believe that unless the board of regents or unless the universities specifically let the schools know that unless they do a better job of educating their children that the university is not going to be available to them. How do you respond to the argument that a lesson that the university that the effort. Establishing standards is to set a message to the schools that we think these kids can reach these minimum
standards too but we're not going to admit them unless you do the job of getting them to this minimum standards do you think that there's a credibility and I think I'm going to believe that all of this discussion around standards is putting the cart before the horse the horse has to pull the car and if you're going to talk about implementation of standards whether it be the NCAA talked about now or suddenly want to you know they're concerned about our kids being educated that's garbage that's wrong. They really cared about our kids being educated people even universities whether be this university or any vessel where they would have done if they were going to place some models model programs different schools to upgrade the instruction. Of the young people that are thinking about going to college they were put into place programs that are summer programs like your upward bound programs but I will resources instruction excellent teachers and on time of people they can impart skills they can look at kids or young people and say they don't have they have their own deficiencies and this is
the technique that I can use because this is their cognitive learning style and this is how I'm going to impart the information to them and people will get that information. And so you thought mother to your program the people that are marginal where it is going to and they just stay in their midst until they get the skills they need to move to the university or something like that were put in place I can understand. But now what you're saying is the system is fair people from Canada are not and now you're going to blame victims and that's what happens to black people. It happens to poor people in people out there that have the money and the home hope of them. Their children get an education so their lives can be better. Now what you're doing is setting standards to exclude them from that. So even taking away their dreams and their hopes and aspirations so into a program like medical if you have kids they can't get something some way they go somewhere else. If you were that women make that what you've done is taken away another dream that another person could have in the same thing happens in education. If you if our society and people that make decisions continue to be elitist
arrogant proves what they'll do is create different layers of society that are very exclusionary if their leaders kind of mentality where only I can live in in Gloucester only I can live in Brockport only I can go to this school if they have Academy only I can. And meanwhile these people that are not as fortunate as they are in terms of finances etc. who could function just as well as they do given some support and finances and I think that's what the federal government's role is changing. Reaganomics is real and the down effect is just a lot of people suffering. Couldn't the middle class. My problem with Rasmussen so backwards in terms of their attitudes relative to racism they don't understand racism and classism can understand it. Everything that impacts a black person will eventually impact the right person in the lower class as well as the middle class. You look at the history of our struggle black struggle and you look at the history of what's going on where white people are going to now because they're now beginning to experience some things that we have been experiencing for you I think that has a very
good point and I'd like to get back to it in my moment but I want to say that you're listening to WNBA Af-Am ninety one point nine on your dial. You're listening to the lack of Spector's and my guest tonight is Joseph Delgado president of the black educators alliance of Massachusetts. And we're discussing issues that are central to the education of black people in the city of Boston. Getting back to the point that you just raised. Which I think is a very significant point. That is that black people are as much a part of American society as white people and that the problems that affect black people eventually will come to face white people. And I think that your illustration of the economy and what the effects of Reaganomics are having now I want American society as a whole is a very good one. What can we learn from Mr.. I mean what does this tell us. Should what how do you see the educational system and black people and
white people collectively coming together to address some of these problems that you just mentioned. For example if we're going back even further I think the point that you've made in saying that the universities can do. Better job of going to the schools and showing the schools what they want instead of telling them what they want. I think that they can demonstrate how these things can be done. Instead of talking about it publishing articles about how these things can be done do you perceive that that this is a an activity that they're being with get involved there are that you see black parents and white parents coming together and asking some more critical questions about how do we get a better education for our children. And if you believe that this is going to happen what is the mechanism by which that going to happen. Because it's a complicated process but it's really not that complicated a simple process when talking to my parents black and white getting into the school looking at what's happening will not happen.
Finding I was damaging a relationship with professionals that had the ability to look at like I'm an educator I'm trained to do that. Finding those kind of people who can look at the system and tell them exactly what they see is the problem and then working with the school setting in terms of it's of it's have to be a collective collaborative thing. There's another piece that ties into all this I think as you get older you get wiser and you learn what makes things happen is politics as much as we don't want to admit that it's who you know not always what you know what you know keeps you where you are or how to get where you got to go in terms of when you learn how to negotiate things and negotiate systems people to become more active politically. All people black and white men writing letters when they disagree with something the whole issue around the college boards. I think they should bombard the legislators with legislated and they're in disagreement of the kind of standards the beings are not and they're not
in disagreement of the fact that we need higher standards for the people to achieve you know on the expectation level should be increased because we want forms increased but the concern about people setting casts. And not taking other kind of factors into control on enter into consideration. I think that is. The name of organizations are always going to be able to deal with making standard and whos better because we are busy as as an educator trying to educate the kids we have just as other changes are. So it's the kind of thing we can just lobby and bring that to the attention of people but we in turn have to go into our own settings and increase the performance of those kids without some time and the resources we need. But there is. People that are out here who can do the job that doesn't need to be done I think college is the first one it's like medicine industry they are the ones who can set the
tone for the schools and the schools and the colleges and colleges can set the tone for the high schools and it can become a very excellent process in terms of collaboration because competencies or skills. Knowledge is based on skills and you have certain information databases and then you take and translate that into some kind of incrementation process whether you're an educator or or a construction worker there are certain skills and things and I think that somehow or that those folks have a curriculum as a do I think the Humphrey occupational resource and this company based that it's. Something where kids can take that or young people can take that and work at their own pace with some instruction from the teacher and from some working group is not an excellent class and mentors who teacher you know at work and was told of kids and how they operate that should be transferred for clear across the board from every grade the kid goes into including cards of a certain kind of modus operandi. Young people have to
have and the teachers have to have a certain resource and it's not a complicated really look at the suburbs. While those can do that in the city for a number of reasons you know race class and all but the main reason the structure is there the resources are there and its potential to teach skills because they know that they're being held accountable for them countability very important education. Let me have a. I think that's a very very good observation and again getting back to a concrete recommendation and a process that can make education better and learning for particularly for the urban schools but I think that I. A lot of people have on their minds the question now about is it a bad investment to let me have the schools that are not necessarily doing as good a job as they should be doing. And they look at the colleges and university there was a recent article in The Boston Globe dealing with the alarming rate of attrition dropout of students at the higher education level. I
think again people in a community in Boston as well as in the suburbs are saying well our dollars being put to good use in making plans available for students to go to school when in fact for one reason or another they're not staying there and getting the benefits of higher education and becoming successful contributors and members of society as a whole and contributing at the level that people think that they can contribute. What kinds of reactions do you have to that particular perspective how does that tie back into your whole question your point of raising the quality of education at all levels. Yeah I'm going to tie it into the Crowley factor. It really just amazes me how we blame victims and in the case of the retention of minority students for black students at colleges the victims get blamed and they blame because if the people say them you were not prepared. You are not prepared I say to them as the educators who were supposed to prepare them. If you're not going to read the Student News. The one that they knew getting paid to do that that's the
problem people get paid to educate people. You should educate them. OK if they're meaning first grade Judge-Advocate materials. In grade is when he can increase the reading level. Perfect example is. The reason why black students don't. Can't survive an educator sendings education educational settings is first they don't have the support systems for it not first then have the background in terms of they don't get the basic skills and basic foundations. Second. They don't have the resources or support and there is a support system for all of the images in expectation levels mean your affirmative action is very very important for black kids. I don't tend to see black kids respond better to black instructors because what they do is speculate and relating as important. People in the suburbs or not around their school system to be all black in terms of the staffing they would not allow that because they know that it's important they say it was me and I would do is woman or whoever it is or Irish man an Irish woman and those people very much concerned something that the
support the kids get from people and teachers of reverence is very important right at. Different colleges. Have students they have and they have different problems but I think the problems are common and I think they need to look at all the ones that you hear about in the newspaper the ones who are going to do something about the problem there. Then I want to say hey look we have a problem and we're working on some solutions to the problem. Black colleges to be tension factum graduation factors a lot higher. And I had some discussions about that with some people want to work harder than I have right. There's a reason for that. That's what people in the look at the other piece are the not everyone. I mean this is a sort of society of failure and success and not everyone's going to get it. As is usually the case 25 minutes is a much faster than I thought it would be for bringing a show to a conclusion I'd like to say is there any last. Point that you'd like to bring together.
Our suggestions that you'd like to give to our listening audience are things that they can do or in this particular issue and. The only thing I would close by saying is that. If I had all the answers to all the questions then I wouldn't be writing in today and if we had all the solutions to all the problem there would be no problem. I think that we all have to collectively work at the solutions to the problem. I want to thank you very much for coming to visit us tonight Joe. And it's been very much a pleasure to hear about the work of the black educators alliance of Massachusetts and particularly more important for us to know that I you all are still very much involved in the central problems here and working on some solutions to some very complicated issues that are in depth our Those are very much concerned in seeing we saw them there in the near future. I hope that and I listening audience and those of you who are interested in finding out more about the black educational
Black Perspectives
Black Education
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WUMB (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Episode Description
Host Charles Desmond interviews Joseph Delgado, president, Black Educator's Alliance of Massachusetts about the state of education for black students in Boston. Topics discussed include the Black Educator's Alliance's background, mission, and current priorities, which include educational quality, access, and facilities upgrades. Also discussed is the effect of stereotyping, prejudice, and classism in education, minimum standards for student achievement, the potential for collaboration between black and white parents to improve education, and addressing the high rates of student withdrawal from colleges and universities in Boston.
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Black Perspectives is a public affairs talk show featuring in depth conversations about issues of interest to the African American community.
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Copyright Holder: WUMB-FM
Guest: Delgado, Joseph
Host: Desmond, Charles
Producer: Pierre Louis, Gary
Producing Organization: WUMB
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: BP67-1983 (WUMB)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Generation: Original
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “Black Perspectives; Black Education,” 1983-02-09, WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2022,
MLA: “Black Perspectives; Black Education.” 1983-02-09. WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2022. <>.
APA: Black Perspectives; Black Education. Boston, MA: WUMB, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from