An Uncomfortable Topic

While my wife accuses me of seldom uttering an unpublished thought since becoming  “Blog Boy,” I have struggled to put digit to keyboard after reading about the disturbing research released last week, showing that less than half of all African American males graduate from high school. In cities such as Philadelphia and New York, the graduation rate is as low as 28%.

The implications of this are nothing short of catastrophic, and what is surprising is the relatively modest reaction these findings have sparked. I wonder if this is because this issue makes us all uncomfortable?  And does our reflexive response  — to improve schools, health care, and family support systems– seem inadequate? Is there another approach we should consider?

After the earthquake in Haiti last year, some experts suggested that the country needed more than money or programs; what is needed are political and cultural changes – changes that would empower civil society. Something tells me that when it comes to improving graduation rates, government programs may help, but we may  need something more. Something tells me, too, that as with the civil rights movement, leadership may come from the churches as much as from the superintendents’ offices.


3 thoughts on “An Uncomfortable Topic

  1. I am currently working on opening a charter school in Detroit (right in the 8 Mile District) – and we started with the question “What are the barriers to teaching and learning?” Then we began researching and responding – sometimes with commonsense solutions and sometimes with highly original/innovative ways to do schooling. There can be much $ support thrown in many directions – but without a clear and transparent vision (that usually involves re-structuring (because the current structure in Detroit is way past the Tipping Point) – success will be piecemeal. I read with much interest the article posted from Anon and thank you, Jim, for the REAL talk about important issues. In California the prison budget exceeds the education budget. Canada needs to do more than wait and see, in my opinion.

  2. And yet the original report notes that in New Jersey where funding was specifically targeted several years back and programs put in place, the graduation rate is much, much higher. Leadership from the churches? That often comes with an agenda and in case no one has noticed, African Americans make up a good percentage of the American Muslim population. As Seinfeld would have said, not that there is anything wrong with that, but why would they want leadership from the churches? The government is the body charged with ensuring education for all. Perhaps they need some leadership from New Jersey.

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