African-American Males in Policy Spotlight
Low achievement, high dropout rates a persistent problem
An African-American teenager recently told William R. Hite, Jr., the incoming schools superintendent in Philadelphia, that there are more adults working in his high school who could arrest him than could help him fill out applications for college financial aid.
That story, shared recently with an audience of educators, advocates, and state and federal policymakers, punctuated an issue of increasing concern: the persistent vulnerability of black boys.
In America’s public schools, African-American males are the least likely to read on grade level, most likely to be suspended or expelled, most likely to be referred to special education, and most likely to drop out, numerous studies have shown. This bleak portrait of black boys’ chances for future success came into sharp relief as educators and advocates met in Washington to look for solutions and capitalize on the momentum created by President Barack Obama’s establishment in July of a White House initiative on the educational achievement of African-Americans. The Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based advocacy group for the nation’s urban school systems, and the U.S. Department of Education co-hosted a daylong national summit last month to highlight solutions to black boys’ high dropout and suspension rates, low grades and test scores, and lackluster...
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