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Mercredi 21 Août 2019

Salle de Presse

Black Boys Fail in School Because Educators Are Failing Them

Wednesday 14th of August 2019 | Amerique du Nord, États-Unis
The Philadelphia Citizen
Nouvelle

Last week, we wrote about #blackdegreesmatter. A public school principal weighs in by calling on schools to do more

The true cost of failing to meet the needs of black male students hit me several years ago, when I was principal of a Philadelphia public school inside Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility. One day, I met a former student from a public high school I had led several years earlier. I remembered that I had repeatedly suspended the young man from school for repeatedly cutting class. I felt it was the right thing to do at the time, for the sake of the school. But he was now an inmate, and still had not graduated from high school. I felt I had contributed to his circumstance.

And, in a way, I had. The rate of school suspensions has doubled in the last decade or so, most dramatically for students of color. In fact, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights says black students are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled—even as young as preschool. Meanwhile, a large-scale study out of Texas found that students who were suspended or expelled were three times more likely to encounter the juvenile justice system than those who stayed in school—a direct link in the schools-to-prison pipeline.

This contributes to the continuing disparity between white and black students. As a global report released in 2016 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted, “The United States has made virtually no improvement in reaching its lowest performing students.” Although the  percentage of white students in the country has declined dramatically over the past 50 years, while the percentage of black students has changed very little, the achievement levels of black students compared to white students (and other racial/ethnic groups) has barely narrowed, according to a study by University of Illinois economist Steven Rivkin.

This is why school districts around the country have launched initiatives dedicated to lifting the prospects of black boys. In 2011, the Council of Great City Schools (an organization that represents 68 large urban school districts) administered a survey to collect information on what urban districts are doing to improve the success of black males in their schools. More than 20 school districts participated and offered solutions for black male achievement.

In Oakland, for example, the Unified School District launched the office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) to fill the space left vacant by absent fathers or the lack of black male teachers. It offers a class with curriculum and resources to increase critical thinking skills and increase college readiness. Until now, “the narrative of black boys in this city has always been around their deficits and what they are not doing,” says AAMA Executive Director Chris Chatman. That is now changing: Since its launch in 2010, the suspension rate for African American boys district-wide has dropped a third, and graduation rate has risen 10 percent.

In 2015, Washington, D.C., where only about a third of black male students are proficient in reading and math, invested $20 million in new support programs specifically for black and Latino male students in the district.

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