Targeting African-American Males

Two separate entities are targeting African-American male students in Cleveland and the Washington DC area respectively in an attempt to make a turnaround.

Yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer inked a story about a rising anti-education culture in Cleveland’s African-American community. See excerpt:

Parents who undervalue education, and a mass media that peppers youth with the quick, shallow rewards of hip-hop lifestyle, are steering alarming numbers of boys down a dead-end path, PolicyBridge contends.

The report calls for public recognition of a phenomenon crippling the black community and the civic will to fight it. It’s to be released today via mailings to civic leaders and on the group’s Web site,

“In our community, family culture has changed, and street culture has changed,” said Randell McShepard, 42, an executive at RPM International and the secretary of PolicyBridge. “But the headline now is, Those changes are dragging down the education system.’ ”

McShepard, Timothy Goler and Mark Batson, all local black professionals who attended Cleveland and East Cleveland public schools, founded the nonprofit research center in 2004 to explore issues critical to the black community.

They wrote the report with guidance from university researchers and public policy makers, as well as from teachers, principals and Cleveland school students, who are liberally quoted.

Some education experts are skeptical about the report’s broad conclusions, but they said the topic is critical to Cleveland.

“The Rap on Culture: How Anti-Education Messages in Media, at Home, and on the Streets Hold Back African American Youth” starts from a well-known premise. Black youths, and black boys in particular, perform more poorly in school and on standardized tests than white and Asian youths, regardless of income.

Almost half of black children attending Cleveland public schools fail to graduate, and only a fraction will ever finish college.


Meanwhile, a Maryland statewide task force suggests strengthening mentor programs and finding ways to better academic support to those students who need it. See this Washington Post excerpt:

A new report by a statewide task force that paints a grim picture of how African American male students are faring in Maryland’s public schools and universities recommends strengthening mentor programs, encouraging more black men to be teachers and providing more academic support for those who need it.

Two of the more controversial proposals are suggestions to place troubled students at black-majority high schools into single-sex classes and to encourage nonviolent offenders to be mentors to students.

Black students make up 38 percent of the state’s public school population, with the percentage much higher in some regions. In Prince George’s County, for example, the amount is more than 75 percent, and in Charles County, it’s about 46 percent.

The Task Force on the Education of Maryland’s African-American Males found that 10 years after a similar group chaired by then-Del. Elijah E. Cummings (D) studied the issue and offered recommendations for change, little progress has been made.

E.C. 🙂


4 Responses

  1. DUH, it’s common knowledge that the black population is not achieving because of the WHITE folk. Duh, duh, duh. Cleveland and Maryland can just save their money and stop their little “studies” now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s the WHITE MAN holding my people back! They OWE us and I won’t rest until they fix all the problems of my people!!!

  2. All satire aside, “Deeena,” it is tragic that the real Deena has not responded to the sluggish EOC scores released yesterday. then again, I’m not surprised that there were no public comments from anyone at GCS at all. And I know they read this blog. Heck, people from New York to Nevada are reading this blog.

  3. Our BOE is having a secret meeting right now to give their statistician a raise. He needs to work overtime to fluff up those EOC numbers. He’s really a master at spinning numbers.

    EC, I hope your fans in Nevada and other states understand the MESS here in little ol’ Gifford county. What an embarrassment but maybe airing the dirty laundry of our school system might be good for these people!

    Dot, Deena, Amos, etc..come on out of from under that board of education desk and FACE the MESS YOU HAVE MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. WGO, I haven’t even begun to get started airing the dirty laundry. But having a national audience does bring some of these issues to the forefront and hopefully, changes will come a lot sooner. Of course, I’m not holding my breath, but at least the country now knows the troubles we have here in Guilford Co., NC.

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