Letter: Race in schools

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The Independent Culture
Sir: A worrying feature of reports on differential school performance among ethnic groups ("Young, gifted, black - and a living reproach to our racist schools", 11 March) is that no one seems able to pursue a line of inquiry far enough to get an answer.

There are too many questions in this area to which answers are not seriously sought.

Why do black boys, said to be the least submissive to teachers' authority, slavishly follow their teachers' expectations?

If black boys are "boisterous" why does that make any difference to school performance if boisterousness and studiousness can co-exist?

If they cannot co-exist, what is the cause of the boisterousness, and should it be curbed?

If black boys' achievement would be improved by teachers making allowances for male Caribbean exuberance, should teachers apply different behavioural standards to black and Asian pupils in the same class?

Are Asian parents happy for their sons to be in the same classes as boisterous African Caribbean boys?

If not, are they guilty of racial stereotyping?

Why do Indian and Chinese children, whose homes may be more culturally, linguistically and religiously different from the dominant European school culture than the homes of white and African Caribbean children, nevertheless do so well in English schools?

Is the relatively poor performance of white, lower-class boys due to low expectations and an alien curriculum?

If it is, why is race assumed to be an additionally serious factor in the low achievement of black boys?

RICHARD WILKINS

Association of Christian Teachers

St Albans,

Hertfordshire

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