Black Students and School Failure: Policies, Practices, and Prescriptions

Black Students and School Failure: Policies, Practices, and Prescriptions

Black Students and School Failure: Policies, Practices, and Prescriptions

Black Students and School Failure: Policies, Practices, and Prescriptions

Synopsis

Much work remains to be done to upgrade the educational experience and performance of the fastest growing segment of the American school poplation, blacks and other minorities. Without the benefits of educational opportunity, this group will never achieve economic independence and the self-perpetuating cycle of poor school achievement, poverty, and teen parenthood will grind on relentlessly. This timely study systematically addresses the many facets of this complex problem, explicating its many roots, assessing the current system's strengths and weaknesses, and presenting a research study of teacher-student interactions. The author outlines strategies for change and implications for training and staff development.

Excerpt

When the National Commission on Excellence published its well-known report, A Nation at Risk (1983), a responsive chord was struck, not only in the educational community but throughout society. The most often-quoted paragraph renders a sharp and startling message:

The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people. If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves (p. 5).

The nation is indeed at risk, not, however, because Japanese children have higher math scores or Soviet children have longer school days. The nation is at risk because the fastest-growing segment of the school population, blacks and other minorities, is being systematically and effectively excluded from the benefits of educational opportunities. These educational benefits lead to individual economic independence, which this country will ultimately depend upon for its strength and survival.

The current economic, educational, and social condition of black America is dismal, and the outlook for the future seems bleak. The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) (Edelman, 1986) outlined these probabilities:

Compared with white children, black children are two to four times as likely to:

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