On today’s episode of Diversity Be Like, host Sequoia Houston talks to Jay Veal, the founder of INC Education and Black Tutors of Social Media, about inequities in education, the systems in place that widen the achievement gap for Black and brown students, how he began his career as an educator, and much more. 

Show Notes

About Our Guest

Jay Veal
Founder, Inc Education

Jay Veal is the CEO of INC Education, the #1 African-American owned private education company in the Southern US serving students of all ages in STEM and beyond. He is also Founder/CEO of The Jay Veal Brand which is a Dallas-based premier consulting brand that deploys education and business consulting services as well as speaking services (Host, Panelist, Keynote, Workshop Presenter) and a part of the 2018/2019 Black Enterprise Content Contributor Network.

Website: INC Education
Instagram: @INCEducation
Facebook: @INCEducationLLC

 

3 Key Points

  1. Jay believes that it is important, particularly with students of color, to relate to them as people and build trust before you start teaching them.
     
  2. Jay talks about the cycle that often happens to Black students where they’re in a class and have difficulty with their work, their parents aren’t able to help them, they get stuck struggling through the work by themselves, and they (and their parents) feel like there isn’t a way to help them because of access to tutoring services and other expensive resources. 
     
  3. Jay categorizes different types of gaps in education that work in tandem to systematically disadvantage students of color. He talks about having good, up-to-date equipment and books in schools, as well as the “belief gap” that can exist in students’ homes and with teachers where they aren’t expected to do well. 

 

Episode Highlights

  • Jay and Sequoia graduated from college at around the same time, and Jay started in the medical tech field. 
     
  • He ended up deciding to leave the field and went back to his high school to teach. 
     
  • Jay became one of the only Black math educators in Dallas-Fort Worth who taught math at every grade level. 
     
  • After getting an offer in tech that he couldn’t refuse, Jay decided to go back to teaching, but in a less conventional way than being a classroom teacher. 
     
  • Jay has also taught college-level math. 
     
  • In 2015, he started INC Education by going door to door and offering his tutoring services. After a year of doing that, he went to the Black Enterprise conference and met producers from Steve Harvey’s show and managed to barter giving their kids tutoring services for some media exposure. 
     
  • Jay went from having 11 employees to over 100, and INC is the number one Black-owned tutoring company in the southern US and the number one Black-owned online tutoring company nationally. 
     
  • They are also 90% millennial led, and their leadership team is entirely Black. 
     
  • The way that INC hires is through recommendations from executive staff and other employees. 
     
  • Jay categorizes different types of gaps in education that work in tandem to systematically disadvantage students of color. 
     
  • He talks about having good, up-to-date equipment and books in schools, as well as the “belief gap” that can exist in students’ homes and with teachers where they aren’t expected to do well. 
     
  • Jay believes that it is important, particularly with students of color, to relate to them as people and build trust before you start teaching them. 
     
  • Students of color (other than Asian students) do not receive the same opportunities in high school or college as white students, and aren’t encouraged to take the same high level courses. 
     
  • Jay talks about the cycle that often happens to Black students where they’re in a class and have difficulty with their work, their parents aren’t able to help them, they get stuck struggling through the work by themselves, and they (and their parents) feel like there isn’t a way to help them because of access to tutoring services and other expensive resources. 
     
  • The pandemic has made students even more overwhelmed with academic expectations and not being in the classroom, and it has made the already present inequities much bigger. 
     
  • Sequoia and Jay talk about their own experiences in school, and Sequoia asks if Jay would advise parents to look into magnet and charter schools for their children. 
     
  • Jay advises actually visiting the schools you and your child are interested in and observing a class. 
     
  • Sequoia points out that there is an inherent privilege involved in that approach because many people can’t afford to take off work to observe a class or know what to look for in a school environment. 
     
  • Jay says that he always recommends the ACTs over the SATs because they are based on classroom instruction and things students would have covered in their school curriculum, while the SAT is more abstract and based upon theoretical application. 
     
  • Jay has now started a social media initiative for Black-owned tutoring companies to connect with and support one another as well as provide a resource for students of color who are seeking tutors of color. 
     
  • Sequoia asks Jay if there’s a myth about students of color that he wants to debunk. 
     
  • Jay says there are misconceptions around Black and brown students’ intelligence or ability to achieve at a high level. 

 

Tweetable Quotes

“There’s an achievement gap, a belief gap, and an opportunity gap.” – Jay Veal 

“What makes a school a great school is the educators that are in it.” – Jay Veal

“One thing that we don’t get enough as a population of color is enough exposure.” – Jay Veal

“These students are powerful, they are super smart, they are just not discovered.” – Jay Veal

 

Resources Mentioned
Black Tutors of Social Media

The Jay Veal Brand