Black Boys are Worse Off in School Than Previously Thought…

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( It’s been long understood that black boys are not doing well in the school system. A recent article by the New York Times shows that the situation is worse than previously thought. According to a study by the Council of the Great City Schools, black boys are in horrible shape when it comes to education. The New York Times laid out the following facts:

“Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys. Also, young white male students who are in poverty do as well as  young black male students who are not in poverty. In high school, African-American boys drop out at nearly twice the rate of white boys, and their SAT scores are on average 104 points lower. Only 5% of college students in 2008 were black men. At the same time, black men were incarcerated more than any other demographic group-at 6.5 times the rate of white males.

Obviously, these results are alarming and another sad reminder of the state of affairs for black boys in the school system. If we don’t find a way to save our black boys, we will never be able to save our black families. These boys who are not being educated by the school system grow up being unable to compete in our economy for jobs and opportunities. They are then more vulnerable to the mass incarceration problem which plagues our nation and are at risk of becoming unfit husbands or fathers.

Most of these men are being raised by black women. Therefore, it is critically important that every black mother in America make it her duty to help protect and uplift her sons and the sons of others in a world that is designed to destroy them. Also important is that black men be pressured into remembering the responsibilities that come with being good fathers. Having a pile of baby’s mamas and not supporting your kids is unacceptable, and we all need to accept that fact right now. All the while, the mothers of these children must find more plausible and productive ways to open the door for fathers to be involved with their kids. This means accepting the idea that parenting is a partnership and not a dictatorship, as father’s have rights too when it comes to raising their children. Most of us know of at least one man who wants to be involved with his kids, but his kids are being made unavailable to him or the mother feels she has an overbearing right to dictate every aspect of the father’s involvement. Enforced alienation of the other parent is just as bad as flat out abandonment.

At the end of the day, we have to take care of our boys as part of the village. That village is a place where our love and attention is critical, and protecting our children in a brutal educational system is an important part of our community’s survival. Going to PTA meetings and parent-teacher conferences is very important. Emphasize education to your children as much as possible. Set high standards and stop allowing our boys to grow up thinking that it’s better to be a great athlete than to be a great scholar. We’ve all got to play a role in solving this problem and it starts with educating us all.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins