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The Education of the Black Male Student Curtis L. Jones, Jr. April 28, 2007.

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1 The Education of the Black Male Student Curtis L. Jones, Jr. April 28, 2007

2 The Problem Black children are more than twice as likely to live with one or no parent. Black families earn less than two-thirds as much as white families. Blacks are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line, be unemployed, or be victims of rape or robbery- and more than ten times as likely to go to prison. The national dropout rate for all students was approximately 25% but as high as 49.6% among Black youth. Since the mid-1980s, studies have consistently shown that Black and Hispanic youth have been suspended from schools at rates generally three times that of their White counterparts. The proportion of Black men attending college was still the largest decline of all racial and gender groups. Black students graduate from college at 60 percent the rate of whites.

3 Teach Me- I Dare You! Understanding those who dare us (a general profile):  They generally are skeptics about life in general.  They are not sure that what schools have to offer them matches their current or future needs.  They disguise themselves well in the current dress for the day and fade into the culture of their age group.  They ask and freely give advice to each other about solving their problems without the benefit of experience or adult consultation.  They believe that they are indestructible and that whatever they will need in the future will be given to them with little or no work.

4 Teach me- I Dare You! (Cont.) Understanding those who dare us (a general profile continued):  They take life-threatening risks with alcohol and drugs.  Some take the opposite position of defiance and antagonism.  They define the counterculture in the school and hide within many disguises of themselves and what they fear they will become.  They are both male and female.

5 Some Events that Put Students in Jeopardy Change in friends or peer group members. Change in living arrangements (moving from one area to another, changing custodial parents, homelessness). Change in health and nutritional habits (eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, diet). Change in family (divorce, remarriage of parent, death, birth of sibling). Change in role models (from parents to peers and pop culture).

6 Some Events that Put Students in Jeopardy (Cont.) Change in academic success (teacher expectations, grades, homework). Parental expectations for school and family responsibilities (too high or too low). Participation in out-of-school activities (time management, eligibility). Change in school structure (elementary to middle to high school).

7 Categories of Risk Category I: Students in Transition- socially, emotionally, physically, morally, intellectually. Category II: Students at Risk from Their Environment. Category III: Students Who Lack Social Skills. Category IV: Puberty and Social Risk.

8 Categories of Risk (Cont.) Category V: Students Who Are Academically at Risk. Category VI: Gifted Students Who Are Not Challenged by the School Curriculum. Category VII: Students Identified by State Guidelines as At-Risk. Category VIII: Special Education Students. Category IX: High-Risk Students.

9 Category I: Students in Transition- Socially, emotionally, physically, morally, intellectually Normal transition from one phase of development to the next. As children mature, their physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and moral development are affected by internal and external influences. Sometimes the influences are those of heredity. Children are exposed to a wider range of social ills at an earlier age.

10 Category II: Students at Risk from Their Environment Both poverty and wealth can create risk for children. Family structure and attitude toward education and parental involvement affect success of students in school. Being a part of a particular environment means that students develop social skills to participate in that environment. Group interactions include “heavy baggage” from home. “You can’t be in my group!” Bullying causes one group to inflict damage on another group.

11 Category III: Students Who Lack Social Skills Includes those who lack the social skills to be accepted by others. The skills used in groups of children for communicating with others, sharing ideas, working on projects, and taking part in activities are generally developed as children grow and interact within their family, neighborhood, school, and church. For those who are shy or abused at home or without adequate role models, the transition to school can be a nightmare.

12 Category IV: Puberty and Social Risk While children develop at different rates, they all grow through the same physical changes. Risk may be created when puberty brings with it expectations that the child will socially be able to do things that older students can do and have the logic to do. For students who want to fit in, to look or feel different can be a source of riskness.

13 Category V: Students Who Are Academically at Risk Students who lack foundational basic academic skills in reading, math, and writing become increasingly at risk. Some develop complex coping skills and are passed from grade to grade. Boys usually outnumber girls in remediation programs. If student is not identified before high school, chances are slim s/he will be.

14 Category VI: Gifted Students Who Are Not Challenged by the School Curriculum They may not know of their gift until some content sparks an interest. Their parents may not understand giftedness and have low expectations. They may be excluded because of social interaction problems. The lunchroom identification system works well with this type of student.

15 Category VII: Students Identified by State Guidelines as At-Risk Nationally, 25% of all students fall into this category and dropout of high school prior to graduation. Criteria used to identify them include poor grades overall, low reading scores, failure in an earlier grade, lack of participation in extracurricular activities, attendance in four or more schools, lack of acceptance by peers, frequently tardiness or absentees, and poor handling of structured activities. They are usually categorized by a specific learning problem, disorganization, emotional/behavioral action, or physical limitation. Also truancy, absenteeism, or court orders, or ward of the court.

16 Category VIII: Special Education Students Students who have been identified in elementary school or are being tested in middle school for learning disabilities, emotional disorders, or social disorders. Some have physical disabilities or multiple special needs. Many have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Resources are identified for them.

17 Category IX: High-Risk Students Students who may or may not come to school but are unattached to family, friends, and school. They seem to lack a conscience and suffer from antisocial personality disorder. They run the gamut from mildly impaired to criminal. Parents usually deny the possibility that their child is high-risk. Bullying is an example. Most middle and high schools have at least one high-risk student.

18 The Way Ahead Understanding the basic psychological needs of at-risk youth Helping our Boys Grow Into Men Reaching Higher Ground

19 The Basic Psychological Needs of At-Risk Youth (CBUPO) Competence Belonging Usefulness Potency Optimism

20 The “C” of CBUPO How would you feel if you arrived at work every day, thoroughly prepared and enthusiastic about your work if you viewed yourself as incompetent? The work of school-age children is encompassed in their role as learners. Students are asked to work for seven hours a day while at school. Students who receive feedback that they are academically incompetent later decide to withdraw.

21 The “C” of CBUPO (Cont.) The “C” is Competence. We want to know that we know or can know what we need to know. Mastery Learning can be implemented for all students.  Four variables Motivation Prerequisite Skills Quality Instruction Adequate Time  Teachers can provide extra help One on one tutoring Additional homework Computer simulations Alternative materials suited to different learning styles Small group work Timely feedback on work (progress reports, report cards).

22 The “B” of CBUPO How likely would any of us be to continue to come to work if we had reason to suspect that our co-workers distained our company? Youth are even more dependent on a need to be accepted. From the first days of kindergarten through the senior prom, they are aware and frequently consumed by thoughts of “in” groups and “out” groups; who is “popular” and who is “not”.

23 The “B” of CBUPO (Cont.) The “B” is Belonging. We have a need to be wanted and to part of something bigger than us. Organizational behavior should be consistent with mission, vision, values, and goals.  Multicultural education and the hidden curriculum. Extend membership to All Value students by valuing their interests Know the students learning style Teacher expectations and feelings of belonging.

24 The “U” of CBUPO Imagine how you would feel if you believed that the world would not be affected one iota by your presence. That deep down you believed your daily fife provided no meaningful service to anyone. We all want to believe that we make a real difference. This feeling may be why many stick with a job before dawn and after dusk. Students derive this feeling as teacher helpers, student council members, or as athletes.

25 The “U” of CBUPO (Cont.) The “U” is Usefulness Usefulness is derived or denied as a direct result of both the quantity and quality of the interactions we have with others. “Standards based reform” focus has forced out the “process” recommendations that include:  Cooperative learning  Problem based learning  Student Directed Inquiry Social Utility is important  Accountability and Roles  Community Service

26 The “P” of CBUPO Imagine that you are unwanted by friends, unneeded by society, and powerless over your life. Why would you behave positively and continue to persevere at school? Many believe that people can be placed on a continuum of causal attribution, called a locus of control. On one end are those who believe merit and hard work provide adequate explanation for their successes and /or failures (internalizers). On the other end are those who attribute their victories and /or shortcomings to luck (externalizers).

27 The “P” of CBUPO (Cont.) The “P” is Potency 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey  Habit 1: Be proactive  Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind  Habit 3: Put first things first  Habit 4: Think Win – Win  Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood  Habit 6: Synergize  Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Love and Logic for follow up

28 The “O” of CBUPO Now imagine a youth whose mental tape recorder plays a tune that says, “At school I feel like a failure, I feel like an outsider, and no one seems to need me here or me when I am absent. There is nothing fI feel I can do about it, and I have no reason to believe it will get any better in the future.” Would you come to school under these conditions? Would you try your best? You would mostly likely develop a pessimistic view of the things.

29 The “O” of CBUPO (Cont.) The “O” is Optimism. Some believe that if they complete school, attend college, and stay away form trouble, their future will be bright. For others, “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

30 BOYS INTO MEN Raising Our African American Teenage Sons by Nancy Boyd-Franklin and A.J. Franklin 1. You Must Act As If It Is Impossible To Fail: Challenges In Raising African American Teenage Sons 2. If We Stand Tall It Is Because We Stand On The Backs Of Those Who Came Before Us: African American Families And The Manchild 3. No One Can Uproot The Tree Which God Has Planted: Spirituality And Religion In Raising Our Sons 4. The Bell Rings Loudest In Your Own Home: Positive Parenting, Love, Communication, And Discipline

31 BOYS INTO MEN ( Cont.) 5. Education Is Your Passport To The Future, For Tomorrow Belongs To The People Who Prepare For It Today 6. When I Discover Who I Am I’ll Be Free: Black Kids In White Schools And Communities 7. Our Future Lies Chiefly In Our Own Hands: The Journey To Manhood And Peer Pressure 8. We Cannot Silence The Voices That We Do Not Like Hearing: Rap, Media Influences, And Hoop Dreams And Chapters 9 – 14 continue the journey!

32 Higher Ground by Leah Latimer A guide for Black Parents to chart a successful course for their children from kindergarten to college 2004 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists or call 1-888- Indigo-1

33 What is a Parent to Do? 1. Know the risks. 2. Help your child navigate schooling. 3. Learn more about “Learning While Black.” 4. Be your child’s advocate and be effective. 5. Make CBUPO positive for your child. 6. Hold your school accountable. 7. Network with other parents. Form a Parent Learning Community.

34 Additional Resources Teach Me I Dare You! By Judith Allen Brough, Sherrel Bergmann, and Larry C. Holt. or call 1 (914) AT-RISK STUDENTS: Reaching and Teaching Them by Richard Sagor and Jonas Cox or call 1 (914) 833-0551.

35 The Education of the Black Male Student Curtis L. Jones, Jr. April 28, 2007

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