President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, Geoffrey Canada writes…
Yes, we need better schools, but we also need to address the problems outside the classroom that derail the educational achievement of too many Black boys. The achievement gap starts almost from birth, so we need to educate parents to take the simple steps to engage and develop their children’s brains in the first years of life. We also need to strengthen communities so boys have a safe, enriching environment in which they can learn and develop, where college and success is just in the air as it is in middle-class communities.
These boys are failing, but I believe that it is the responsibility of the adults around them to turn these trajectories around. All of us must ensure that we level the playing field for the hundreds of thousands of children who are at risk of continuing the cycle of generational poverty.
There are both economic and moral reasons to help these boys, more so because of the scale of the problem that this report lays out in detail. As daunting as the challenge is, I am more optimistic than ever. We have a President who gets it and Americans everywhere are not just eager for change, but increasingly calling for change. It will be a long, difficult process, but I have faith in America and its incredible ability to reinvent itself for the better.
According to the report, “more than twice as many black students are classified as ‘mentally retarded’ in spite of research demonstrating that the percentages of students from all groups are approximately the same at each intelligence level.” The report adds, “The persistent over-classification of black male students as ‘mentally retarded’ reflects, at best, a lack of professional development in this area for teachers and other staff.” (By Sandra Lilley,08/17/2010, TheGrio.com)