In a recent article, Sir Michael Wilshaw proposes that schools create teacher ethnicity equality by discriminating against White teachers. He specifically believes that this type of strategy will enhance the education of predominately Black student school districts taught by predominately White teacher staff. The problem that Sir Michael Wilshaw faces is parallel to the same problem that is faced in America where racism in education continues to prevail.

The England Department of Education reported:

  • 7% of teachers are White
  • 97% of head teachers are White
  • 91% of teaching assistants and support staff are White
  • 6 per cent of full and part-time regular teachers are female
  • 2 per cent of full and part-time head teachers were female
  • 7 per cent of full and part-time teaching assistants were female
  • 5 per cent of full and part-time support staff were female

Before Sir Michael Wilshaw attempts to enhance the education of all children, he must understand some of the challeges that continue to contribute to his dysfunctional organization.

Dysfunctional organizations exhibit several characteristics that are detrimental to its existence. While Chris Argyris charted four factors that contribute to the dysfunctional organization, I propose that there are five different levels that contribute to a dysfunctional organization. The foundation for the dysfunctional organization begins with each person’s use of defense mechanisms for coping. Defense mechanisms are the unwritten rules an individual learns and utilizes to effectively deal with circumstances that are upsetting, embarrassing, or threatening.

The second level is skilled incompetence, which is the outcome of the defense mechanisms we have internalized. When the defensive behaviors we’ve learned are transformed into a learned behavior, that behavior becomes a skill – albeit an incompetent skill – that we consider necessary in order to deal with issues that are embarrassing, threatening, or upsetting. A skill that is learned from the regular application of a defense mechanism has a high degree of incompetence embedded within it, because we are unaware of how this skill will impact our future.

Skilled incompetence transforms into a defensive routine. Defensive routines are the third level. When the skilled incompetence is automatically exhibited at all times, the behavior is now a defensive routine.

Defensive routines lead to fancy footwork. Fancy footwork is the fourth level. Fancy footwork happens when individuals try to deny the behavioral inconsistencies they exhibit, or else they place blame on other people, which results in distancing themselves from taking responsibility for their behavioral inconsistencies.

Fancy footwork leads to organizational malaise. Organizational malaise is the final level. During this phase the individuals in the organization will seek to find fault within the organization rather than accept responsibility for their actions and correct their behavior accordingly. The individual continues the process by accentuating the negative and deemphasizing the positive in an effort to cover up their actions. The organizational malaise is further exacerbated by a refusal of one or all the members to discuss their area of responsibility.

In order for Sir Michael Wilshaw effectively discriminate against White teachers he must off set the defensive mechanisms that contribute to racis in education. Since the majority the teaching staff is White female, Sir Michael Wilshaw will have to offset the defensive mechanisms that many White females as well as others possess. That defensive mechanism is survival.

White female teachers are the cornerstone for the survival of the White family and the White economy. The White family benefits because the White female teacher is able to continue to care for her children while supplementing the household income. Teaching provides the White teacher opportunities to continue to educate their children because they have every evening off, every weekend off, and every summer off. No other profession provides this benefit.

In November 2011, the England Department of Education reported that there are 438,000 teachers. In November 2011, there were 438,000 teachers in state-funded schools in England on a full-time equivalent basis. If 93.7% of the teachers are White and 74.6% of the teachers are White female, then 69.9% of the teachers are White female. This equates to 306,162 White female teachers in England who contribute to the England economy. The minimum teacher salary is £22,023, which is the equivalent of $25, 862.80. Therefore, at a minimum, White female England teachers salaries contribute $7,918,207,000 or £6703953440.56 to the England economy. If the wishes of Sir Michael Wilshaw became into fruition, it would devastate the White England economy.

The dysfunctional characteristics associated with racism in England schools must offset the White female defensive mechanisms without devastating the White England family or the England economy. The only way for Sir Michael Wilshaw to accomplish this task is to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships

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