Tag: Saving Black Males


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The Dropout Nation Podcast: Iron Sharpens Iron


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On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I issue a call to black men of character everywhere to stem the dropout crisis among our young black men. A look at new…

Dropout Nation Podcast Cover

On this week’s Dropout Nation Podcast, I issue a call to black men of character everywhere to stem the dropout crisis among our young black men. A look at new data — including a new report from the Council of the Great City Schools — paints a picture of despair and opportunities to rebuild Black America by reforming American public education and our communities.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, Zune, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. And the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone.

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Rewind: The Dropout Nation Podcast: Iron Forges Iron


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As you continue flipping through the Schott Foundation’s new report on the low graduation rates of black males (and the educational crisis threatening the futures of our young black men),…

Photo courtesy of needsfoundation.org

As you continue flipping through the Schott Foundation’s new report on the low graduation rates of black males (and the educational crisis threatening the futures of our young black men), listen to this rebroadcast of April’s Dropout Nation Podcast on what black men must do to help their sons and the younger men around them. Older black men, raised by fathers and successful in life, must take on the roles of father figures (and champions in improving America’s education system) that these young men lack at home. These lessons also apply to white and Latino communities.

You can listen to the Podcast at RiShawn Biddle’s radio page or download directly to your iPod, MP3 player or smartphone. Also, subscribe to the podcast series. It is also available on iTunes, Blubrry, Podcast Alley, the Education Podcast NetworkZune Marketplace and PodBean. Also, add the podcast on Viigo, if you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or Android phone. On Friday, I’ll have more to say about the Schott report and the black male achievement gap.

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Three Questions: Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project


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When Phillip Jackson founded the Black Star Project in 1996, few school reformers had fully focused on the crisis of low educational attainment among young black men. Fourteen years —…

Tackling youth violence and educational decline all at once.

When Phillip Jackson founded the Black Star Project in 1996, few school reformers had fully focused on the crisis of low educational attainment among young black men. Fourteen years — and numerous reports on racial and gender achievement gaps — later, the former Chicago Public Schools Chief of Staff’s grassroots efforts have fostered organizations focused on improving education for young black men such as UCLA’s Black Male Institute and Success for Black Boys. But Jackson still sees plenty of ground uncovered — especially among inside-the-Beltway school reform types and major education reform philanthropies — on addressing the black-white achievement gap.

In this week’s Three Questions, Jackson offers some of his own thoughts on achievement gaps, school reform, and the role of families in improving education and stemming youth violence. Read, think and consider.

Why should African-Americans care about achievement gaps and the quality of education in their schools?

The educational achievement gap is predictive of the social and economic achievement gaps in life.  If Black children are not trained, equipped and empowered to do well in school, their chances of doing well in life are severely limited.  The educational achievement gap is a precursor to a generational curse of failure, cultural destruction and genocide.

What is the one thing school reform activists inside the Beltway seem to ignore when it comes to addressing education and youth issues and why?

The number one solution ignored by theorist inside the Beltway is the role of parents in producing successful students.  Schools cannot produce successful students without the support of caring, nurturing and demanding parents, guardians, families and communities.  Until Washington realizes this and invests in this, the United States will never be a 21st century global educational power.

Given your experiences working on youth violence and educational issues, what are the three solutions you offer for dealing with youth violence?

Rebuild the family.  The current epidemic youth violence, mostly in Black communities, can be traced back to the degeneration of the Black family.  The police have no ability to stop youth violence. They have arresting powers and can disperse mobs, but they cannot eliminate the source of youth violence.  Failed families is the source of youth violence.  The family is the most important social unit in human society.  Without strong families, education, economics, spirituality, physical health, emotional health, morality, etc. are all in jeopardy.

Provide positive mentors and role models for youth, especially young Black males.  Children become what they see.  They are going to adopt a model of behavior and a value system that is available.  If we don’t have positive role models and a constructive value system for them, they will adopt negative models and the destructive system.  In fact, negative role models and a destructive value system is heavily marketed to our children. Without a counter-marketing strategy, we have little chance of reaching, impressing and persuading our children not to be violent.

We must provide an education that prepares our youth to become viable parts of our society.  They must have economic alternatives and practical reasons not to engage in negative, destructive behaviors.  We have not helped most young Black men to obtain the necessary skills to be successful in the 21st century.  We should not be surprised at the hyper-violence as their response to our failure to create a viable world in which they can live.

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Watch: Arne Duncan on Education and Civil Rights


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As U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan has taken on one of the nation’s most-pressing challenges: Improving the quality of public education — especially for the poorest students. And so…

As U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan has taken on one of the nation’s most-pressing challenges: Improving the quality of public education — especially for the poorest students. And so far, through the Race to the Top effort and the proposed revamp of the No Child Left Behind Act, he has (imperfectly) forced many Americans to finally pay attention to the reasons why the overhauls are needed.

In this video excerpt from his speech earlier this year, the former Chicago Public Schools chief executive offers another reason why reform is so important: Fulfilling the dream of the Civil Rights Movement to assure that all children have equal opportunity to a high-quality education. Listen, think, consider, then take action.

Also, read my report in The American Spectator on how Duncan’s efforts are also complicating the political choices (and career) of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who must now decide whether to support or veto a teacher quality reform (and tenure elimination) measure.

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Twelve Lessons School Reformers Should Know


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Observations to live by, be it education or life: Ad hominem statements by defenders of trad. public ed that involve the words “profiteer” instantly render their arguments as mush. This…

For the Bryant Hollinses of the world and their children, we should strive to improve our communities. They deserve better and so do we. (Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe)

Observations to live by, be it education or life:

  1. Ad hominem statements by defenders of trad. public ed that involve the words “profiteer” instantly render their arguments as mush. This applies to all forms of ad hominem statements.
  2. Insisting the status quo should remain “ante” even in the face of hard numbers, statistics, facts, isn’t a good idea. Anecdotes and citing Diane Ravitch as a source doesn’t work either.
  3. Nothing is more pathetic than telling a 6-year-old that his family is to blame for low quality of education at a failing school.
  4. Check that. Nothing is more pathetic than declaring that poor children must attend woeful schools and shouldn’t escape them. Period. End of story.
  5. Chances are that dropout you see came from a home in which mom or dad were also stuck with attending dropout factories. Expecting these parents to value education when they didn’t get one that was valuable in the first place makes no sense.
  6. Hillary Rodham Clinton was right about this: It takes a village to raise a child. This was true of me. Same for you. And them too.
  7. Somewhere, everywhere, there are burned-out teachers, abusive parents, neglectful adults. And no one to rescue the kids from them. This is why even those children must be our concern.
  8. There’s nothing wrong with calling yourself a school reformer. Or a defender of lives of kids. It’s inaction that is deplorable. So get up, get out and do the right thing.
  9. Public sector workers who declare their hatred of the “corporate” forget that without them, they would be homeless and jobless. After all, the taxes private sector employees pay (dearly) sustain the very schools and governments for which they work.
  10. Without outsiders offering challenge, the rot within anything, be it education or corporation, would not be recognized and solved. Half of the insiders know what the problems, but have no interest in afflicting their comfort. The rest have no experience with anything else, so everything is fine to them.
  11. As it turns out, in life, you don’t always need the right answer or the correct faith, just the best, most-honorable idea.
  12. And believe. Yes, believe. Not to the point of ignoring reality, but enough to realize that nothing bad lasts forever. Even abysmal traditional public schools.

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Watch: Saul Williams on the Children of the Night


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As a filmmaker, Saul Williams is responsible for one of the best visual lessons on staying in school and avoiding crime with Slam, his 1998 masterpiece about a young man…

Photo courtesy of the Press-Enterprise

As a filmmaker, Saul Williams is responsible for one of the best visual lessons on staying in school and avoiding crime with Slam, his 1998 masterpiece about a young man who managed to make a way out of no way. But in his main role as hip-hop poet, Saul Williams has crafted more commentary on improving the lives of youth with his poem, Children of the Night. Watch this video, listen to his messages, and think about what you can do to save “the little girls of fire wearing pigtails of braided smoke” and the other children like them.


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