GCPS Recruiting Bilingual Teachers from Puerto Rico: Detrimental to African American/Black Students


I was reading several articles and watching local Atlanta news broadcasting about Gwinnett County Public Schools diversity recruiter, Rodriguez Johnson, taking a plane to Puerto Rico to hire bilingual teachers for the county. As quoted by Atlanta News First, Dr. Rodriguez Johnson said, “Hispanic students are the largest population of students we have in Gwinnett County Public Schools.” The reporting went on to say: “To better serve the district’s 34 percent of Latino students, Dr. Johnson says recruiting Latino and bilingual teachers is a priority. Gwinnett County Public Schools hired 89 Latino educators in 2020 to 2021 academic year and 197 Latino educators this past school year.”

African American/Black parents with students in Gwinnett County Public Schools, I want you to sit up straight and pay attention to what I am writing.

As reported by 11 Alive in Atlanta, “Gwinnett County Schools data shows the student demographic is mostly Hispanic at 34%, followed by African American at 33%, then White at 18%, 11% are Asian, and 4% fall under the “other” category.” I researched various reporting on the demographics of Gwinnett County Public Schools and there is a very small difference in the numbers between Hispanic and African American/Black. Statistically, there is a margin of error that would put Hispanic and African American/Black demographics of Gwinnett County Public School as equal – no majority – based on the numbers. I would also go on to say that many of the “other category” are probably Black, as well as some of the Hispanics who are Afro-Hispanic.

How statistics and data are presented to the public is very important. Never forget that anyone can change the narrative of a summary if you do not have all the information.

Dr. Rodriguez Johnson presented “Hispanics students are the largest population of students …” in Gwinnett County Public Schools. When hearing that statement, one would be led to believe there was a substantial difference in the numbers of student population in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

I am currently taking classes at Georgia Gwinnett College, and while I have had a diverse group of instructors with English as a second language, this semester one of my instructor’s language accent was so thick that it made it very hard to understand what he was saying in all of his presentations. I speak a little bit — un poco — of Spanish, but it was really challenging for an English-speaking person to understand this ‘bilingual’ professor.

I am working on another article about there being so many African American/Black youth who cannot read, score low on math, writing, etc. in America. If we add to that a Spanish bilingual person with a thick accent, that is detrimental to African American/Black students. Period. The challenge of understanding and comprehending is decreased tremendously for the African American/Black student. Right now, African American/Black students of Gwinnett County Public School System are ranking below ALL other race based on ACT participation. [See the statistics.]

There are many African American teachers speaking Spanish as a second language. Dr. Johnson should partner with an African teacher and fly to Africa to find bilingual teachers there since African make a portion of the ‘Black’ students of Gwinnett County Public Schools.

As a Black community, we must always examine and be aware of the racist angles that whites and other non-Blacks attempt to push their needs before the African American/Black community. We must operate with education provided equally to ALL students of Gwinnett County Public Schools. No preference. No privilege.

Gwinnett County Public School System leadership must rethink this recruiting strategy and keep in mind what is best for the co-majority student base of the school system – African American/Black.

About Cheryle Moses

A creative, storyteller and lover of truth.

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