An Education Marked by Opportunity and Inspiration and by Roadblocks and Racism

Tettegah in DC

Dr. Sharon Tettegah, a Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, shares stories about her life and her most memorable teachers. Growing up in Wichita Falls, Texas (a completely segregated community) all of her teachers were Black. Here, she received an excellent education and was two grade levels ahead of her classmates when, as a fifth grader, she and her family moved to San Francisco. She soon moved across the Bay to Oakland and was fortunate to have had teachers who recognized her potential and desire to learn.  But she also encountered racism at school in the form of low expectations and negative attributions. "Education," Dr. Tettegah discovered, was "about assimilating to whiteness." She sees the Black Lives Movement as an opportunity for educators to confront systemic racism, a process that begins by examining one's own biases.

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