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Monday, December 05, 2005


Schott Foundation for Public Education's new report, "Public Education and Black Male Students." This state report card found that, on average, 60 percent of black male students in the United States don't graduate from high school. In Texas, the percentage is 48 percent.

Other disturbing data shows that while black male students account for 36 percent of high school enrollment, their numbers are greater when it comes to expulsions and being labeled as mentally retarded and mentally disturbed.

For decades there have been concerns within the black community that black boys are quickly tracked into special education programs.

It's a concern borne out by the report's author who said of black male students once they reach kindergarten, "Soon after, they are tracked into special education programs and not longer after that, for many, their sad societal fate is sealed. It doesn't have to be this way."

One of the report's recommendations is for the Secretary of Education and Department of Education to recognize that the education of black male youths is at a crisis state and for the No Child Left Behind act "to more directly address improved achievement and graduation of black boys."

The act is flawed but well-intended, and President Bush is correct when he talks about "the soft bigotry of low expectations" regarding minority students. At no group is that bigotry more directed at than black male students.

As with most societal problems the reasons for their existence and the responsibility for their solutions are many.

Their families, their neighborhoods, churches and schools, have failed too many young black males. But it's these same institutions that must be part of their salvation.

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