A recent op-ed on the Washington Post has ruffled a lot of feathers. Dr. Andre Perry is the founding dean of urban education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. and the author of The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City. In his recent article,  “Stop Blaming Black Parents for Underachieving Kids”, Perry cited various statistics that stated black parents do care about their children’s education but because of resources, they’re often times stuck dealing with crap school districts that barely attempt to make an effort.

From the Washington Post:

Clearly, there is widespread belief that black parents don’t value education. The default opinion has become “it’s the parents” — not the governance, the curriculum, the instruction, the policy, nor the lack of resources — that create problems in urban schools. That’s wrong. Everyday actions continuously contradict the idea that low-income black families don’t care about their children’s schooling, with parents battling against limited resources to access better educations than their circumstances would otherwise afford their children.


When judging black families’ commitment to education, many are confusing will with way. These parents have the will to provide quality schooling for their children, but often, they lack the way: the social capital, the money and the access to elite institutions. There is a difference between valuing an education and having the resources to tap that value.

At first glance at the title, many people assumed that Perry was talking the responsibility away from the parents, but in all actuality he wasn’t. It’s no secret that many urban schools systems are in shambles and some are equipped with inexperienced teachers, a long with school administrators that would rather pass kids who can barely read, than to teach them how to read.

In Perry’s article, he cited issues that are currently going on in New Orleans, with parents standing in line for hours to enroll their children in charter schools.  If the schools aren’t capable when it comes to educating children, then what can parents do?

Clutchettes, do you think the school systems should also be responsible when it comes to providing quality education to students? 

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  • Wanda

    “Back to school night and report conferences are a joke, and I basically use it to catch up on grading because on average I get about 3 – 5 parents for the almost 100 students I teach.”

    This is 110 percent accurate!

    Meanwhile, go to the high-achieving buildings and districts on back to school night. It is standing-room only, and BOTH parents show up for each child.

  • LN

    Girl, I wanted to stand up and CHEER after I read your comment! Tell em the TRUTH!!!

  • LN

    I am really loving this discussion and want to chime in again. Just a week or so back commenters almost chopped my head off when I noted on a thread that Caribbean immigrants value education more than African Americans. I’m glad that some are being honest about the state of affairs, and copping to the cultural values that leave us trailing in the classroom.

    But I think as blacks in America, there is this fine line we have to walk; There is a LOT of structural injustice against us in EVERY sector you can imagine. I’m an educated black woman, and I see it every day in my professional world. So, we have to walk this fine line between calling out structural injustice and TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR OUTCOMES. Structural injustice or not, as blacks we are living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with one of the more pliable social advancement systems. (I.e., it’s not a, you die in the class you were born in kind of place.) We HAVE to — against the odds — ensure our OWN outcomes.

    I am raising a 22 month old black boy and, as a mother, my life is part advocacy and part working double time to ensure his outcomes. He can already identify most of the letter sounds in the alphabet (out of succession), and count to 11. My husband and I are ALWAYS on the hunt for free or low cost enrichment activities, and our goal is for him to be at 2nd or 3rd grade reading level by the time he hits grade 1 (we are homeschooling him for PreK and kindergarten). I know that there are going to be teachers who have low expectations of him because he is black, and as a black boy there’s a greater chance that he will end up in a poor school district, with our finances private school might not be an option, so I’m gearing up for a fight.

    As a mother I think it would be foolish for me to speak or believe that a poor school system was the reason for my son’s underachieving. I take this responsibility personally. It’s up to me.

    • kiki jones

      I agree with you. The only reason you got your ‘head chopped off” is because, at Clutch, you are speaking directly to the very demographic of American blacks that very much values education — and has for generations.

      Immigrants represent the most talented and motivated of their people — as many of us do ours. Compare apples to apples and mutual respect will result.

  • Brad

    Soooooo True!!!!!

  • Yes. I believe that they should. If you’re paying tax dollars, why can’t you have achieving schools in your neighborhood. It makes no sense.