In issuing biennial reports on the educational status of African American males the Schott Foundation has done the nation a great service. Any country that consistently allows this many of its citizens to be under-educated will most assuredly suffer significant consequences.
Of course, the consequences to America have been apparent for some time. They’ve been manifest in America’s over-populated prisons that are literally bursting at the seams with under-educated African American males.
The consequences have also been evident in the high rates of unemployment in economically depressed, socially marginalized neighborhoods, cities and towns where desperation festers and crime and violence are rampant.
The consequences have also been felt by families and communities where fatherless children fall prey to a vicious cycle of failure in part because they lack access to fathers because they are incarcerated, or don’t have the skills to obtain a job to support their family.
It seems that America has tolerated and grown accustomed to the under-education of African American males largely because it has written this off as a “black problem.” Rather than being embraced as an American problem and challenge, our leaders in politics, business and education, have implored the Black community to do something, while washing their hands of responsibility for the failure of the public institutions that should serve them.
This is undoubtedly the reason why we have not raised alarm over the abysmally low set of indicators associated with academic success — the miniscule enrollment of Black males in honors, gifted classes and advanced placement courses, and the shrinking number of Black males who matriculate to college and earn degrees. Nor have we rallied resources to respond to the vast array of indicators associated with academic hardship and distress such as: the high rates of suspension and expulsion, the high rates of special education placement, the low reading and math scores, and the perilously high dropout rates.