Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

How Public Schools Fail Black Boys and What Their Parents Must Do to Help Them

Academic journal article The Journal of Negro Education

How Public Schools Fail Black Boys and What Their Parents Must Do to Help Them

Article excerpt

How Public Schools Fail Black Boys and What Their Parents Must Do to Help Them, by Augustus Corbett. Arlington, TX: Revival One Publishing, 2006, 184 pp., $14.95, paperback.

In How Public Schools Fail Black Boys, Dr. Corbett comes out of the gate with facts and figures in one hand and the Bible in the other. As Augustus Corbett noted in this crucial text, some might find him a bit too preachy to receive the importance of the message at hand. However, notwithstanding, Dr. Corbett delivers in a big way with his roadmap to success anointed in the Word. The author wastes no time getting to the point that the public school system is failing Black boys. He does not mince words and may step on a few toes, but it is all in the name of saving a fledgling group that society seems to have thrown away. For example, he debunks the widely accepted causes of the socalled "achievement gap" and insists that it is not a result of a conspiracy against Blacks. Dr. Corbett states, "In my view, the achievement gap is the result of . . . unwholesome homes, ineffective schools, inept and racist teachers. . ." (p. 12).

Drawing on his own experiences, the author starts with what may appear to be simple things that assist parents in preparing their Black boys for higher education. In order to navigate successfully through primary and secondary schools, Dr. Corbett suggests starting with structure in the home. The structure he favors includes chores, discipline, and punishment. He notes that a child without structure is indeed left to his own devices. The author holds the parents accountable and insists that they are a part of the process, including checking homework, enforcing rules, and eradicating negative influences. While his suggestions may seem harsh to some and even foreign to others, it was not so long ago that these were the expecto minimus, the minimum expectations, in the African American community.

Dr. Corbett provides readers with the format of the current structure of public schools and why its design invariably fails many Black boys. He cites the lack of good teachers, the lack of Black teachers, the Pygmalion Theory, racism (both passive and blatant), and the practice of "tracking" as some of the reasons Black boys transition into society as men unprepared to enter college or the workforce. …

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