I've read a lot of the comments, but I haven't seen any from any black teachers. As a black teacher of predominately black students this issue is about race & culture but it is about so much more. I applaud Jada for recognizing that her peers need more than just packets and indirect instruction for success--but the picture is so so much bigger than that.
Recently I pulled excerpts from Frederick Douglass narrative for my students to reflect on. They told me they found it boring, but they thought Douglass looked like a G. Okay. I probed them and asked if they found the situation about his aunt's beating boring--they hadn't read it. So I went over it and they took a different perspective. I actually pulled out the same section of text that dealt with the ending of the reading lessons and had my students reflect on that but, many were unlike Jada, and didn't make the connection.
There were follow up activities that asked the students to apply the information they had learned about Douglass's life and to create a brochure about Douglass, other abolitionists, and social reformers. (If they don't want to make a brochure there were other options for them to apply their learning) Most of my students are very concerned about their grades so they do the preliminary work (i.e reading the text, finding the information about the abolitionist, writing the facts down) all of which would be level 1 or 2 work on Bloom's taxonomy, but resisted putting it all together. When I say resist, I am referring to blocking behaviors (off-task behaviors, off-task conversations, saying I'll wait until I get home to do it, etc) We go through this cycle on a daily basis.
I push them, not because I am black and the majority of them are black--I push them because I know that they can do it and most of them, for whatever reason or not, are content with just doing the preliminary tasks. But that pushing comes with a cost-- arguments ensue, I spend hours calling parents asking for their children to stay after to make up work that didn't get done during class, I then spend more hours after school or during free periods working with students who feel that their completing their work is a "punishment." Still after all of this, not everyone will achieve the goal. After this, for my own personal sanity and to restrategize--I have to disengage. I stay within the curriculum, but the lessons might not be as personal, engaging and yes they might include a packet (which is a very vague term which could mean many things).
I post this post for two reasons 1) all white teachers who give packets are not horrible people not doing their jobs; 2) teaching any student, especially students from low socio-economic statutes brings challenges for both the student and the teacher. If we disaggregate the factors and only look at the effects (i.e. white teachers give packets to black kids) we miss the opportunity to address the true causes that could potentially dismantle this effect.
Again, I applaud Jada for her assessment of the value of education for black students, but we have an obligation to address the roots of problems within the educational system that effect ALL students.