Three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters.
More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups.
The data provide a unique glimpse of how gender interacts with race and class in mastery of basic reading, writing and listening skills tested on state exams. While California publishes separate figures on the performance of various ethnic and economic groups, it does not make public a more detailed breakdown of how boys and girls are performing within those groups. State officials say they do not sort the data that way because of complexity, cost and time constraints.
"I wouldn't put this in the same category of severity or concern as other achievement gaps," said Tom Loveless, an education researcher for the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. "But there needs to be greater awareness of this."
The gap spans all grade levels. Boys in high school score better than those in grade school, but girls outperform them by consistent margins at every age. And a higher family income does not appear to even things out.
The gap is not unique to California. The phenomenon is nevertheless worrisome because it may compound other educational disparities California has attempted to close for decades, without success.
"If boys don't read as well as girls, and if that persists all the way through K-12, it means when you reach certain thresholds like college, it places the males at a disadvantage," says Loveless. "The ability to read well has a lot to do with the ability to get into college and the ability to do well while you're in college."
Certainly scores aren't the only educational area in which black boys trail their peers. African-American boys are more likely to be suspended and drop out of school than other demographic groups, in California and elsewhere.
But the reading data is sobering. As early as fourth grade, for example, nearly 80 percent of black boys failed to meet state reading standards. Of all ethnic groups for which the state collects data, black boys trailed black girls by the widest margin.
"Part of this may be structural, in having texts that aren't relevant to the experiences and legacy of African-American boys," said Chris Chatmon, founding executive director of the African-American Male Achievement program at the Oakland Unified School District. "When a lot of the curriculum you have access to isn't familiar, or doesn't acknowledge your past or your present, you have a tendency not to be engaged with it or want to read it."
While the state makes it relatively easy for parents to look up the test scores of African-Americans at local schools, the data is not broken down by gender. So it may be difficult to identify schools where black boys are performing well, as well as schools that are struggling.
Black Kindergarten, Elementary, High School and College Graduates Honored for Accomplishments and Encouraged to Help Rebuild Community
Chicago, Illinois -- 250 young Black male graduates from across Chicago and the Midwest will participate in the 4nd Annual Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood Ceremony featuring nationally acclaimed WVON Radio Host Maze Jackson and Charles Thomas as keynote speakers. The ceremony will begin with a procession of 50 local Black elders-from business, law, media, government, medicine, education and religion-leading elementary school, high school and college graduates into the auditorium behind African drummers.
This ceremonial event, sponsored by The Black Star Project, will take place at Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church (4100 South King Drive in Chicago, Illinois) on Saturday, June 24, 2017 from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm. The public is invited to this free event.
This ceremony is designed to both honor the graduates for their academic accomplishments and to show them what is possible with hard work and perseverance. After the ceremony, graduates will have the opportunity to network and dialogue with a host of distinguished, successful elders, as well as other community leaders.
Phillip Jackson, Executive Director of The Black Star Project, says, "Once, our keynote speaker, Hip Hop Artist Lupe Fiasco, gave each of the graduates $100 to honor their accomplishments. While there is no guarantee that such a generous gift will be bestowed again, good things happen for those who show up in life!"
Young men will wear the representative cap and gown from their home elementary, high school or college. The recent graduates will focus on creating life plans, building their communities and becoming good role models for younger Black boys. One thousand family members, friends and supporters of education are expected to attend this historic occasion.
If you know of a young Black male kindergarten, elementary, high school or college graduate who wants to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony, please have them call 773.285.9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to accept their place among our distinguished graduates.
Study Calls on Impact Investors to Close Educational Attainment Gaps
JUNE 1, 2017
Innovative impact investments are needed to address gaps in higher education attainment for low-income students, a report commissioned by the Kresge and Lumina foundations argues.
Prepared by Avivar Capital, the report, Driving Postsecondary Success With Impact Investing (executive summary, 10 pages, PDF), found that while the increase in jobs that require postsecondary education, rising educational costs, changing student demographics, and advances in technology are helping to drive educational innovation, there remain gaps in the availability of capital needed to fund such efforts.
According to a recent Global Impact Investing Network survey, impact investments in the education sector accounted for only 2 percent of global impact investing assets under management. The report further suggests that foundations can play a catalytic role in ensuring the flow of capital to educational organizations and for interventions designed to boost equitable access to higher education for underserved populations through the provision of "blended capital" (a combination of grants, "patient" or more affordable equity, and/or debt capital).
To that end, the report breaks down the postsecondary education market into four segments - learners, faculty, places of learning, and employers - and highlights capital gaps and impact investing opportunities in each segment across a variety of asset classes and investment strategies.
"Strategic social investing is an opportunity for Lumina to exhibit leadership by catalyzing social investments targeted at increasing attainment and closing achievement gap," said Lumina Foundation president Jamie Merisotis in the report. "We are eager to build this capacity and partner with other funders, investors, and innovators." In 2016, the foundation announced its first round of impact investments in support of its Goal 2025 initiative, a campaign to increase the share of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
"We're committed to using all available capital tools to help more low-income, underrepresented students enroll in and graduate from college," said Bill Moses, managing director of the education program at the Kresge Foundation, which has committed to deploying $350 million in impact investments by 2020. "This scan helped us understand where to deploy grants, PRIs, and MRIs to advance our programmatic goals. For Kresge, we're most interested in investments to scale solutions that help reach more students. We're actively looking for those kinds of opportunities now."
Click Here to Read Executive Briefing on Driving Postsecondary Success with Impact Investing
Tune in to hear
The Black Star Project's
Parent Revolution Show
Chicago Justice Or Else Committee
Saturday, 6:00 pm CST
June 3, 2017
Join us at 7:00 pm Eastern; 6:00 pm Central; 5:00 pm Mountain; 4:00 pm Pacific; 3:00 pm Alaskan; 2:00 pm Hawaiian. Call-In number at 773-591-1690
The Black Star Project thanks the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Illinois State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, and Melody Spann Cooper of WVON for their generous support for our parenting programs.
Young Men From Across Chicago Should Attend
Male Mentoring Conference
Saturday, June 3, 2017
9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Gary Comer Youth Center
7200 South Ingleside Avenue
DLOW, Lil Kemo, Codie Wiggins, the South Shore Drill Team
Parents Must Sign Up Their Children for This Opportunity on a First Come/First Served Basis by Calling 773.285.9600 to RSVP.
Broken Dreams And Financial Illusions: The Secret Depression Of Black Men
Dr. Marcus A. Bright
May 24, 2017
Dr. Macus A. Bright
There is a secret depression that is rooted in economics that many Black men battle. It is hidden underneath an assortment of layers including an exaggerated bravado, drug and alcohol abuse, misdirected anger, and other forms of destructive behavior.
Fantastical illlusions are also a tool that is deployed to cope with the humbling realities of an often marginalized existence. The "Bow Wow Challenge" that took over social media earlier in the month was a reflection of a daily pattern of illusions for many. Some aspect of Bow Wow fronting like he was traveling on a private plane instead of his actual reality of flying coach on a commercial airline is frequently in operation for Black people in this country.
For all of the trips, fancy purses, and Jordan-brand shoes the truth is that the vast majority of us are barely scraping by. Credit, celebrities, and trinkets have given many of us the illusion that we are doing much better economically than we actually are. We have been bamboozled by Facebook likes, hoodwinked by Instagram comments, and led astray by Twitter retweets. Social media has a tendency to tell you a lot of things that aren't true.
The data suggest that the majority of African Americans are not in a great place financially. A prime example of this is a finding from the "The Color of Wealth in Boston" report that found that the median net worth of White households in Boston is $247,500 while the median net worth of Black households is $8.
The average net worth of a single Black woman with a bachelor's degree is $-11,000 and the median wealth of a single Black woman without a bachelor's degree is $0 according to a research brief entitled "Women, Race, and Wealth" by Khaing Zaw, Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Anne Price, Darrick Hamilton, and William Darity, Jr. This underscores the sad reality that getting a college degree may actually be a hindrance in some cases to a person's wealth position because of the frequent need to go into large amounts of debt in order to obtain higher education.
Most of the racial wealth gaps that exist are a result of the lack of intergenerational wealth transfers available for Black families based on a host of different reasons ranging from Federal Housing Administration policy, slavery, Jim Crowe laws, employment discrimination, denial of access to capital, and the list goes on and on.
The larger point in citing these figures is that we are economically struggling because we began a figurative 100 meter dash 50 meters behind. There is an economic disadvantage for Blacks that is built into the fabric of American society.
Black men are the most unemployed and incarcerated group in the country per capita. The jobless rate for Black men between ages of 20 and 34 in many cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore is above 45% according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
The psychological impact on men who haven't been able to overcome the reality of the labor market is a story that is seldom told. Many are suffering from broken dreams and delusions of grandeur that have not been fulfilled. An argument can be made that many Black men have been suffering from a secret depression for years as a result of this financial crunch. A great deal of it probably has its roots in an economic struggle.
In the past few weeks, Black Star members have been able to see The White Sox, The Cubs, Michelle Alexander, Get Out, and Cavalia Odysseo, all for FREE!!!
Now, Black Star Members Are Encouraged to See
"Among All This You Stand Like A Fine Brownstone"
by Vantile Whitfield
Friday, June 2, 2017
8:00 pm - FREE!
7558 South Chicago Avenue
Call 773.285.9600 to RSVP
Tickets available on a
first call/come - first served basis
to Black Star Members
eta Creative Arts Foundation celebrates our Miss Brooks 100 with Among All This You Stand Like a Fine Brownstone, directed by Jonathan Wilson. Vantile Whitfield's adaptation of Gwendolyn Brooks is a vignette sketch book of Black life portrayed in Gwendolyn Brooks' poetry come to life. Vantile Whitfield teases out iconic characters from Brooks' bold, colorful and precisely worded poetry, creating a tapestry of Black lifestyle and culture that is humorous, sobering, and a joy to witness.
Please call 773.285.9600 to become a member of The Black Star Project and to see this wonderful play.
11 Keys to Eliminating
the Racial Wealth Gap
By Phillip Jackson
The Black Star Project
1)Establish A New Economic Mindset, Context and Consciousness for Creating Wealth among Black Families, Schools and Communities
2)Provide a K-16 Skill- and Attitude-Based Education Related to Economics