While my wife accuses me of seldom uttering an unpublished thought since becoming “Blog Boy,” I have struggled to put digit to keyboard after reading about the disturbing research released last week, showing that less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.