In a recent article, a comparison of the ten worst states for Black Americans has received national attention. While many past laws and regulations have made some improvement there are many areas that continue to challenge closing the wealth gap in America. Improving the quality of life for Black Americans requires a process that transforms the school culture that is culturally opposed to improving the quality of life for Black Americans.

According to the article, Worst states for black Americans, Black Americans continue to get the short end of the stick in one of the supposedly wealthiest countries in the world. Especially in the following states by rank:

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Minnesota
  3. Illinois (Home state of President Barak Obama)
  4. Virginia
  5. Florida
  6. Michigan
  7. New Jersey
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Louisiana
  10. Ohio

The article specifically states that discriminatory housing policies contributed to the vast wealth gap between white and black families seen today…. Wealth is accumulated over and between generations, but “for centuries, African Americans were prohibited from taking advantage of a lot of opportunities for building wealth, building income, even getting education.”

You cannot build wealth without building income. And you cannot build income without some sort of education. The travesty that Blacks continue to face are a direct result of the culture that is force on schools.

How do the ten states contribute to the demise of the quality of life for Black Americans?

The testing structure that young Black Americans face is a primary culprit. All students are required to complete some sort of pencil and paper assessment that becomes the grading scale for school districts and teachers. This is in direct opposition to how Blacks can excel on standardized testing.

Blacks do well on tasks that require auditory sensory involvement but have challenges when the tasks require visual perception. Blacks categorize pictorial representations in a more relational or holistic manner rather than an analytical or detailed manner. Black students are more likely to learn and recall words that represent concepts that they like compared to words that represent concepts that they dislike.

Many Black Americans prefer:

  • Tactile hands-on learning activities
  • Affective materials to facilitate their learning
  • Approximate time, number, and space activities
  • Sort word lists by their functional value

Standardized testing does not take into consideration work that is relevant to Black Americans. Work that is relevant to present time or future time motivates Blacks while they prefer to focus on present time rather than future time, and value people focus over time focus. The degree of relevance and applicability of the material seem to influence Black learning and are influenced by a preference for deductive rather than inductive reasoning.

When teachers require only cognitive activities, Black students feel the request is unnatural and have difficulty following the teacher’s request, which results in frustration and withdrawal for Black students. When Black students do not honor the teacher’s request to participate in cognitive activities, teachers perceive that Black students lack preparation or ability.

State standardized testing requires a specific style of thinking. Most teachers in educational institutions have a cognitive style that is not consistent with most Blacks. Blacks have developed a specific method of organizing and processing information that provides a disadvantage to Blacks in school settings. Black thinking style differs from other groups due to Blacks using the right hemisphere of the brain.

Blacks thinking is more holistic, intuitive, and integrative when processing information and Black students approach thinking from an intuitive perspective rather than the logical-mathematical approach. Blacks are more analytical regarding concepts and ideas when they evaluate information from their particular orientation. Blacks are highly creative thinkers who prefer deductive reasoning but have the same reasoning styles as other groups.

Most teachers use a bottom-up sorting approach while Blacks use a top-down approach. Culturally diverse students are concrete thinkers while most Whites are abstract and deductive thinkers. Teachers’ cognitive teaching styles influence student achievement which has a direct impact on the success of Black Americans

Related Articles

Debt and the Racial Wealth Gap

Illinois is 4th worst state for black Americans

Report: Ohio ranked 5th worst state for infant mortality, worst state for African American babies

US: Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois top list of the worst states for black Americans


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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034


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