Black Male Achievement Fueled by The State of
If you weren't listening intently
to President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, you might have
easily missed when he declared, "I am reaching out to some of America's leading
foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color
facing especially tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential."
This was a groundbreaking
statement for the field of black male achievement. And, it was no accident that
the nod to young men of color was nestled between two other seminal remarks: "I
will work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel
trapped by student loan debt," and "Michelle and I want every child to have the
same chance this country gave us." While there were no recorded cheers or
applause from the floor of the State of the Union, my twitter feed suddenly blew
up with a standing ovation, cheers, and enthusiastic responses from so many
people who care deeply about helping black boys grow up in a country where there
is a level playing field for them to reach their full potential.
And, later I was heartened when
Gwen Ifill, the broadcast reporter on PBS Newshour, asked Angela Glover
Blackwell, CEO of PolicyLink, to comment on the president's historic remark.
Angela's words reinforced the president's message: "The focus on women, boys and
men of color, and immigration suggested that when you invest on those that are
left behind, you do well for America. Lifting up boys and men of color was in
that vain. It is important to engage corporations, foundations, the federal
government, and as many programs that touch boys and men of color."
President has deemed 2014 a year of action. For Americans who care about this
issue, his announcement that the government is committed to transforming the
lives of young men of color is a huge inspiration. I am particularly encouraged
from my platform as manager of the Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male
Achievement to witness the field of
philanthropy moving to maximize this opportunity to improve the life outcomes of
Shawn Dove is
Campaign Manager for Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male
Achievement, a philanthropic strategy to improve the life outcomes of black men
and boys and a core funder of the Institute for Black Male
Letter to Editor
Work and family
Despite innumerable research studies to back it up, very little
public attention has been devoted to addressing one of the greatest obstacles to
parental involvement: the conflict between work and family.
For many the struggle begins the
moment they bring a new child home because the U.S. continues to hold the
less-than-honorable distinction of being one of only four countries that doesn't
guarantee parental leave.
While the Family and Medical
Leave Act has brought some relief, 40 percent of workers aren't covered because
they haven't been on the job long enough, or work for a company with fewer than
mothers aren't the only ones for whom this presents an enormous challenge. In
fact, recent polls by the National Fatherhood Initiative rank work
responsibilities as the No. 1 obstacle to good fathering.
This, I believe, is the missing piece in our violence
prevention efforts and one that I hope will be embraced as a key strategy for
strengthening families so we can truly be a foundation of prosperity.
Present, Evanston, founder and director, ParentsWork)
Michael Holzman Calls
Direct Action to Fix
Lunch Counters, Buses and Schools (The Next Civil Rights
The people of Montgomery sat down to
It was decided all God's children should
"Sister Rosa," The Neville Brothers
Education is the civil
rights issue of our time. Everyone says so: the President, the Secretary of
Education, even John McCain and George W. Bush.
Now that we are all agreed about
that, we might remember the lesson of the civil rights movement of their time:
Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall and Martin Luther King. The lesson is that civil
rights cannot be won, wrested from the grasp of hatred, without organization,
legal action and the mobilization of both those deprived of their civil rights
and those others, in spite of their relative privilege, who believe in
Education is the civil rights
issue of our time because laws block access to good education for most Black
children and many others-Latinos, Chinese, Filipino and Southeast
Asian-Americans, American Indians as well as White children living in poverty.
Just as the laws segregating buses in Montgomery and schools in Little Rock were
changed by a combination of the legal actions of Thurgood Marshall and his
associates and the marches and sit-ins of the Southern Christian Leadership
Council and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, so the laws blocking
access to good education must fall if dealt with by similar methods.
Most areas of concentrated educational poverty are
surrounded by better-resourced school districts. This educational poverty in
the midst of educational affluence is caused by laws that make the funding of
schools dependent on family wealth. As America is increasingly segregated by
income, the division of schools into hundreds of school districts in many
states, about 14,000 in the country, and the financing of those districts by
property tax, ensures that children living in areas of concentrated poverty will
be forced to attend schools of equally concentrated poverty of educational
Legal action is one path. Direct action is another. I
suggest that the schools are the lunch counters and buses of our time.
Is it not time to begin the kind of effort
symbolized by Rosa Parks? What would
happen if when school begins next August or September children condemned to
attend failing schools, drop-out factories, refused to go to them, but went
instead to the nearest successful school?
(Michael Holzman is the author of The Black
Poverty Cycle and How to End It and Minority Students
and Public Education)
U.S News and World Report's National Universities Ranking dropped Howard
from No. 96 in 2010, to No. 142 this year.
Earlier this month, Howard University Board of Trustees Chairman Addison
Barry Rand said, "no matter what was said on the outside, we are strong here at
In his column, Robert Morse, U.S. News and World Report's director of data
research, named some key reasons that Howard has fallen a total of 46 spots from
its Top 100 ranking.
For one, Howard refused to submit the U.S News Statistical Survey for the
last two years, resulting in a ranking that is estimated based on statistics
from 2012. "Howard didn't report data used to compute the alumni giving rate
and financial resources per student ranking variables to U.S. News for two
consecutive years," Morse wrote.
Also, Howard experienced a decrease in almost all of the categories used by
U.S. News to rank universities including: academic peer assessment, graduation
and retention rates, student selectivity, faculty resources, alumni giving and
graduation rate performance.
"I think a lot of Howard's problems are due
to a lack of resources, and raising alumni contributions would really help us
all," said Kenny Nunn, a sophomore music major. There's too much that Howard is,
was and could be for us to let Howard disappear!"
With Howard's qualifications being brought into question, students are
worried that the effort they pour into their education may be worth less in the
Sophomore marketing major, Nick Hough, said "The longer Howard neglects
it's obligations as an elite institution, the more the credibility of my degree
2014 Summits for Educational
Excellence for African Americans
Dear Friend and Colleague,
The White House
Initiative for Educational Excellence for African Americans (the Initiative) and
Ebony Magazine invite you to participate in the 2014 Summits
for Educational Excellence for African Americans.
We sincerely hope you'll
join us for these summits, which promise to be opportunities for engagement,
empowerment, and action. Together, we will identify ways to improve learning and
development for African American children and youth using the combined resources
of the federal government and local entities to raise awareness, highlight
individuals and organizations doing the work, and support the engagement of the
full community. The Initiative and Ebony Magazine will host four convening's in
February 13-14 at
Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
Topic: Setting the Stage:
Socio-Cultural Factors Impacting African American Boys and Men
April 25-26 at Jackson
State University, Jackson, MS
(In collaboration with
the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color)
Topic: Mental and
Physical Health and Well Being
June 13-14 at Laney
College, Oakland, CA
(In collaboration with
Frontline Solutions 3rd Annual Gathering of Leaders)
Topic: Education and
October 24-25 at
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
(In collaboration with
the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education)
Topic: Justice and
If you have any questions about
the summits, please contact AfAmEducation@ed.gov
with "Summits" in the subject line.
Survey Finds Black Fathers
are as Involved with Their Kids (or More So) as Men of
Defying enduring stereotypes
about black fatherhood, a federal survey of American parents shows that by most
measures, black fathers who live with their children are just as involved as
other dads who live with their kids - or more so.
For instance, among fathers who
lived with young children, 70% of black dads said they bathed, diapered or
dressed those kids every day, compared with 60% of white fathers and 45% of
Latino fathers, according to a report released Friday by the National Center for
Nearly 35% of black fathers who lived with their young
children said they read to them daily, compared with 30% of white dads and 22%
of Latino dads. The report was based on a federal survey that included more than
3,900 fathers between 2006 and 2010 - a trove of data seen as the gold standard
for studying fatherhood in the United States. In many cases, the differences
between black fathers and those of other races were not statistically
significant, researchers said.
The findings echo earlier studies
that counter simple stereotypes characterizing black fathers as missing in
action. When it comes to fathers who live with their kids, "blacks look a lot
like everyone else," said Gretchen Livingston, a senior researcher at the Pew
Research Center who has previously studied the topic. And in light of the
negative stereotypes about black fathers, "that is a story in itself."
However, Laura Tach and fellow researchers also found
that black fathers were more likely than white or Latino dads to stay close to
their children after having more kids with a new partner. Because it isn't as
rare for black fathers to live away from the home, their communities might have
stronger expectations that fathers will stay involved outside the "package deal"
of a wife and kids, explained Tach, a professor of policy analysis at Cornell University.
Young women 4- to 14-years old are invited to dress up
and show their fathers a good time at The
Black Star Project's 5th Annual Daddy Daughter Dance. Cost $30.00 per couple
and $5.00 per extra young lady. Please
call 773.285.9600 to register your couple or to get a free organizing kit
to bring the Daddy Daughter
Dance to your city. This event is
sponsored by The Black Star Project's
Million Fathers Club. Attire: Dress To Impress
Music - Dancing - Food - Fun
- Crafts - Pictures!!!