This report from the College Board was issued as part of a Capitol Hill panel of experts on the plight of minority males.
It’s all helpful, but I still get uncomfortable separating minority boys from boys overall. True, the most severe problems are found among those boys, but there’s a thread connecting their problems to the issues found among all boys. The demand for a solution is more likely to arise from a broad base than a narrow one.
From the press release:
NEW YORK -- Minority male students continue to face overwhelming barriers in educational attainment, notes a report released today by the College Board at a Capitol Hill briefing held in collaboration with the Asian Pacific American, Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses. The report highlights some of the undeniable challenges among minority students, including a lack of role models, search for respect outside of education, loss of cultural memory, poverty challenges, language barriers, community pressures and a sense of a failing education system. In The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color, the College Board gathered the insights and firsthand experiences of more than 60 scholars, practitioners and activists from the African American, Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native American communities, based on a series of four one-day seminars called Dialogue Days, in which scholars, advocates and representatives from each community participated in a meaningful discussion to address the education needs of minority males. "The United States is facing an educational challenge of great significance, with the crisis most acute for minority male students," said College Board President Gaston Caperton. "The report offers a step in the direction of raising the visibility of a pressing problem in American society. If the United States is to achieve President Barack Obama's goals, then we will have to do a much more effective job in educating those populations with which we have traditionally failed." Based on the report's findings, a number of recommendations are made to erase the disparities in educational attainment and to demonstrate new ways of reaching the increasingly diverse U.S. student population. The report calls on policymakers at the federal, state and local levels, as well as foundation and community leaders, to heighten public awareness and explore policy options to improve the plight of young minority men. Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA) said, "An educator for over 30 years, I know the vital role a high school and college degree serves in impacting the socioeconomic future of a young student. We must remember that education is not only essential for surviving a tough economic climate where unemployment correlates directly with a lack of education, but it is also essential for empowering and mainstreaming minority groups who continue to struggle to break free from decades of marginalization. As chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am deeply troubled by the fact that many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders -- over half of all Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong, for example -- lack even a high school degree. This is inexcusable, especially for a country like ours that prides itself on providing opportunity for all. We must fix this, which is why the College Board's efforts to raise awareness on the educational crisis facing young men of color are so necessary and timely." Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) said, "In response to the growing educational disparities facing minority males, the College Board, in collaboration with the Tri-Caucus, has conducted a probing and unflinching examination of the underlying issues and has developed a solid and practical response to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, those disparities. This report could not be timelier or more relevant to the future of our educational system." Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) said, "Minorities are disproportionately represented in schools with high dropout rates, and we must work to turn those schools around. All middle school and high school students should have the support they need to graduate, and they should be prepared for college regardless of their circumstances. Any policy that fails students in these respects is a policy that fails the country." The report identifies the need for a more coordinated effort of K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and state higher education bodies to forge partnerships to help males of color get ready, get in and get through college. A number of "model" education programs, for replication and expansion, were also identified. These successful programs have multiple commonalities, including more empowered student voices, partnerships at all levels from parent to community action, mentoring programs, male role models and wraparound services.
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