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From The Grio — The statistics in the November 9, 2010 New York Times article, “Black Boys Score Far Behind White Students,” leave one speechless. According to the report entitled “A Call for Change” released November 8 by urban schools advocacy group the Council for Great City Schools, only 12 percent of black males are proficient reading at grade level reading while in fourth grade, compared to 38 percent of white males.

The statistics do not look much better when comparing for poverty as measured by qualifying for school lunches. Poverty does not seem to answer the question because, according to the report, poor white males do just as well as black males who are purportedly not in poverty. Looking forward, things don’t get better. The article states:

“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. In college, black men represented just 5 percent of students in 2008.”

President Obama stated: “One of the best anti-poverty programs is a world class education.” I wholeheartedly agree. We know that people learn in different ways and many have different styles of learning, but there is no excuse on the part of our country, teachers and parents for the abysmal performance of our young men in education. The ability to read and do very basic statement analysis is crucial in just about every area of life. If one cannot read, they will not make solid, well-informed decisions. The likelihood of being deceived by contracts or any type of written agreement, multiplies when someone is a poor reader.

Armed with these new statistics, we must take action as a community and nation. We know that black male dropouts lead the country in terms of incarceration and that this trend will continue to increase. The high cost of sustaining a prison system — in desperate need of reform — is illogical and fiscally impossible. We need to conduct a national dialogue on how to get to the heart of criminality and truly start intervening at the first sight of risk factors. These traits unfortunately start before the child is ever born. As a strategic forecaster, I’m tempted to bury my head in the sand as I look forward.”

(Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

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  • King Jason

    One reason the kids don’t read is they never see the parents with a book in there hands, I thank God all the kids in our family are readers/outstanding students. My baby niece takes after me she loves libraries and my nephew likes hanging out with his cool uncle in book stores.

  • AMBITIOUS GIRL

    At the end of the day– if the child doesn’t have any ambition then they will be a failure. Some of you may get riled up but, I am a firm believer, that sure encouragement is nice but if I KNOW THAT I WANT A BETTER LIFE then I WILL DO WHAT IS NECESSARY [legally] TO ACHIEVE IT!

    As a child I did not need anyone to encourage me. I did what I had to do. I saw other people who had a great life that they made for themself and I KNEW that I COULD DO IT TOO!

    This is AMERICA!!! This is not a third world country where you are constantly being held down!!
    NOOOOO!!! It’s soooo possible to achieve your dreams!
    Black children are lazy! They take education for granted! They ignore the FREE library and go watch tv instead.

    NOBODY HAD TO TELL ME TO READ A BOOK!!! I ENJOY READING!!!
    The FREE library had a program called “Reading is Fundamental” and reading was encouraged. I went to public school but was still exposed to the world!! THAT’s WHAT IS DONE IN CLASSROOMS– THEY HELP EXPOSE YOU TO THE WORLD YOU LIVE IN! NOT JUST YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!!
    We took class trips to supreme courts, we spoke to doctors, lawyers, business men — I ENROLLED MYSELF in FREE programs that open your eyes to corporate america and all the wonders that are possible once you get an education!!!

    INITIATIVE IS IMPORTANT!!
    AMBITION IS CRUCIAL!!
    Like I said, encouragement is great but it is not the only way to get ahead! when a child has ambition from the very beginning then THAT is what makes them succeed.

    American children don’t take education seriously and that’s the bottom line.
    They’re too busy singing along to all this foolishness on the radio and not taking advantage of ALL THE FREE things this country has to offer!!!

    THIS IS AMERICA!!!

    Even as I got older, I volunteered with children [throughout my H.S and college yrs] b/c I love seeing and encouraging the potential in kids that don’t even know they possess greatness. One defining moment was when a little girl said ” I wanna have a baby when I’m 17″ — I jerked my head around and asked her to repeat herself. She said it proudly and no matter what I said; she refused to change her mind about her “future plans”. Even as I attempted to sway her path she refused!!
    AMBITION and INITIATIVE is the key to all success!!

    How can we as black people not even STRIVE for more?!?!

    I KNOW I WANTED MORE and I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO!
    So when I jump into my RR or walk into my penthouse or even make spur of the moment vacations — do you know who I thank?? I thank God for keeping me all these years and giving me a head that STAYED on the staright and narrow!!

    AMBITION.

    NO one encouraged me!!
    SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF!!!

    • Juste Moi

      “Even as I got older, I volunteered with children [throughout my H.S and college yrs] b/c I love seeing and encouraging the potential in kids that don’t even know they possess greatness. ”

      There you go! That’s the key! Some have ambition like you did, but others don’t even realize the potential they have… For the one girl who was only concerned about having a baby at 17, I’m sure that there were more that you influenced in a positive way, more than you will ever know.

      Putting responsibility where it’s due is a must, but helping out kids who did not choose to be brought up in such an environment is also necessary.

  • Clnmike

    Very disappointing the responses on here and the lack of insight into the lives of a lot of these kids. I volunteer at low wealth schools that are used for these stats to assist in reading and math and from there I’ve gotten a fresh perspective on what a lot of these kids go through. Its easy to call kids lazy and parents uncaring when you never walked in their shoes. Try being in the shoes of a boy who was locked out of his house all night because his mother is a crack head turning tricks, the little girl who sits in front of the school in the middle of the night waiting for her mother to get off work and pick her up because the neighborhood she has to through has a rep of little girls coming up “missing”. There is the kid whose only meal is what he gets at school cause mom had to sell some of her food stamps for 2 for 1 just to pay the light bill and part of the rent. Then there is the girl who hates going home because mom’s new boyfriend likes to “touch”. There is her friend who got pregnant by a grown ass man. The boy who joins a gang so he doesn’t get beat up by the same gang. The kid who is told by the local dealers to introduce his friends to this “candy” that will make you feel funny. And on and on it goes, go right up to those kids and talk to them about some damn books and a future when they don’t have food in their stomach, they’ve been wearing the same sneakers since last year, they duck bullets at night, and all the role models in their neighborhood got a rap sheet. I’m sure they would be very enthusiastic to hear all this. But hey fuck it, not your problem….that is of course not your problem till one of these boys cat calls you on the street, waits for you in a dark alley and rapes you, boyfriend comes homes and gives you HIV, beats up your sister, the girl sleeps with your boyfriend, or whips your ass for looking at her wrong, ends your life with a stray bullet, reinforces every negative stereotype which in turn other people project on you , overall just gives the community a black eye. nope, not your problem till then and of course the response will be for some insightful person to write up an article about why there are no good black men/ why do we hate black men/the rise of HIV/Down Low/black men who date white women/ the rise of unwed mothers/college drop outs/poor spending habits and much more. The article will then turn it over to the commentators who will vent about how it “those peoples” fault, they are “not” like that and they will divest from a non “monolithic” community that in all likely hood they were never part of in the first place. But hell take all those ills away and what would anyone have to complain about?

    • Alvira

      Poverty, lack of education and most other issues could be resolved simply by requiring a license to reproduce. The individual(s) applying for the license must prove employment, residence and (minimally) high school education or trade skills. If a woman (or couple) becomes pregnant with out proper license and requires welfare to survive, proper prenatal care is provided and at the time of birth the child is given up for adoption. Thus, the taxpayers aren’t unduly burdened and it solves it the issue of “anchor babies” for illegal aliens. It may be tough love, but it would be 100% better for the child.