Equity & Diversity Opinion

Renewed Focus on Black Males

By Richard Whitmire — September 13, 2011 1 min read
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Given the plight of black males, this is appropriate. My caveat, as always, is that what ails black boys ails all boys, only to a greater degree. Therefore, when interventions are designed along racial lines, rather than gender lines, they are likely to fall short. For some reason, probably related to political correctness, it is perfectly acceptable to compare black boys to white boys, but unacceptable to compare black boys to black girls. And yet, at least half the formula to unlocking the problems we see among black males is found in the latter comparison.

A smart argument (one that weighs gender equally with race) for providing more all-boys charter schools in urban neighborhoods is made by Alan Borsuk:

The achievement gap between boys and girls. This is a subtler matter that has received far less attention, but there is a lot of data to support arguments that boys are doing worse than girls in terms of education outcomes, including college graduation. Some experts argue this is especially urgent in minority communities, where the overall track record of boys is alarming. The debate over what approach to education, if any, can consistently succeed in bringing high achievement to high-needs students. Madison Prep is largely in line with the foot-on-the-gas-pedal approach that has been successful in some places. But replicating such schools has been tough, and the difference between saying you're going to have such a school and actually having one is increasingly vivid.

I’d like to think that tonight’s PBS special about the plight of black males with Tavis Smiley will display the same sophistication.

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