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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
May 19, 2011
National Conference on Educating Black Males
Larger-Than-Expected Audience Attends The Event
The National Conference on Educating Black Males, which was held last weekend to discuss how public schools have failed black boys and what is needed to turn things around, attracted a larger than expected audience, surprising conference organizers.
Educators from throughout the country filled every seat on Saturday at the Ramada Inn Lake Shore in Chicago, and Phillip Jackson, founder of The BlackStar Project, and his staff had to bring in additional chairs as more attendees arrived, although a large number of individuals who purchased their tickets did not show.
The BlackStar Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works to improve children's education with the support of students, parents, schools and communities, and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) co-sponsored the event.
“This is unbelievable. It has succeeded beyond my expectations,” Jackson said. He attributed the event’s success to the pent-up demand for this kind of conference.
Last year, the Schott Foundation for Public Education in Cambridge, Mass., published "Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report On Public Education and Black Males." The report detailed the lowest graduation rates in large school districts for black males.
The study also revealed that black male students were twice as likely to be classified as mentally retarded as white male students. In addition, the Schott Report said more than twice as many black-male students as white-male students receive out-of-school suspensions and three times as many black male students as white male students are expelled."Out of school suspensions, in many cases, lead to students ending their school careers before graduation," the report said (http://blackboysreport.org/).
The Council of Great City Schools published a similar finding. The council's report, titled, "A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools," said black males perform less well than their peers throughout the country, but there is no concerted national effort to improve the education, social and employment outcomes of African-American males (http://www.cgcs.org/cgcs/Call_For_Change.pdf).
Jackson also attributed the conference's success to its speakers. Contributors included Paul J. Adams III, founder and president of Providence St. Mel School, a nationally recognized private Chicago-based kindergarten to 12th grade high school, Alfred W. Tatum, PhD, an associate professor at UIC in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and director of the school’s reading clinic, Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD, founder of African American Images and Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, a nationally known certified school psychologist.
“It was the quality of our speakers, who are outstanding,” Jackson said. “Most conferences have one good speaker before breaking into workshops.”
Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson
Each speaker was granted about an hour and half to make a presentation and to answer questions. Most speakers exceeded their designated time limit, which was prompted by active audience participation.
When Tatum said he only had time to take one more question, 10 hands shot up in the air. After Umar Abdullah-Johnson completed his presentation and answered his last question, 15 to 20 attendees waited patiently in line to ask him more questions. He took questions until Jackson announced the event was over and that he and Abdullah-Johnson were scheduled to be elsewhere.
The attendees treated the speakers like rock stars. Audience members pulled out their camera phones and took pictures. They also posed for photographs with the speakers, purchased their books and DVDs, which each speaker was happy to autograph.
At the end of the conference, a very happy Jackson said, “We will need a bigger room next year.”
The 10 lowest-performing large school districts for black males
The 10 best-performing large school districts for black males
States where black-male graduation rates exceed white-male graduation rates
National Conference on Educating Black Males
Disruptive Black Boys Are Especially Vulnerable In The School Setting
A national conference held to address the dismal graduation rates among black boys, who attend the nation’s public schools, reported that an astronomical number of the young men are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ((ADD-ADHD), and there are complicated reasons for this, including the lack of fathers in the home.
Seventy-five percent of black boys who are diagnosed as having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and are placed in special education school classes came from families where they did not have relationship with their fathers, said Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, a Philadelphia-based nationally certified school psychologist.
“They [the boys] don’t have fathers in their lives, and they are looking for attention. We need men to be involved in their sons’ lives,” Abdullah-Johnson told attendees at the National Conference on Educating Black Males, which was held on Saturday in Chicago.
Abdullah-Johnson was one of four educational experts who spoke at the all-day conference that attracted teachers, administrators and education officials from across the country. The other speakers were: Alfred W. Tatum PhD, who is director of the University of Illinois at Chicago Reading Clinic and an associate professor in Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD, founder of African American Images and nationally known author, and Paul J. Adams III, founder and president of Providence St. Mel School, a nationally recognized private Chicago-based kindergarten to 12th grade high school.
Paul J. Adams III
Adams told attendees that special education students cannot be allowed to use their disruptive behavior to affect the education of other students.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
, published by the American Psychiatric Association, defines ADHD as a disorder characterized by inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
“The classroom environment has to be conducive to learning,” said Adams, who also founded Providence Englewood Charter School, a kindergarten to eighth –grade school associated with the Chicago Public Schools.
During his presentation, Adams expressed frustration with Chicago Public Schools’ policy that prevents expulsion of disruptive special education students, although school officials have made repeated efforts to intervene.
“We’re not throwing kids out [of school],” Adams said during an interview with
The NorthStar News & Analysis
. “We intervene, and if that does not work, then we have failed.”
Black boys, who are designated as special education students sometimes use it to their advantage, said Abdullah-Johnson.“They say I am special ed; I can’t learn; I can’t control my behavior, but you can’t suspend me,” Abdullah-Johnson said. He added that ADD-ADHD is a psychiatric diagnosis and teachers are not qualified to make such a designation. Others argue that teachers can observe a student’s behavior and decide whether the pupil is acting inappropriately.
Abdullah-Johnson also suggested that some teachers may designate a student as having ADD-ADHD in order to reduce the class size by getting rid of students the teacher does not like or believes will be difficult to manage.
The BlackStar Project, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works to improve children's education with the support of students, parents, schools and communities, and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) co-sponsored the one-day event.
Two major education organizations have issued detailed reports about the low-graduation rates, high suspension, high unemployment and prison incarceration rate among black boys (
NorthStar News & Analysis, April 28, 2011
They may study together, but they learn very differently.
National Conference on Educating Black Males
Single-Gender Schools Could Lift Black Boys' Educational Achievements
Public schools are putting black boys on the road to educational failure by not acknowledging that they learn differently than girls, a nationally known education expert told attendees Saturday at a National Conference on Educating Black Males last weekend in Chicago.
Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD, and author of 33 books, including
Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys
, said black boys mature differently than black girls as evidenced by boys having shorter attention spans at an early age before they begin to catch up with girls.
This occurs among all boys, not just black boys, but unlike schools in the United States, European schools have long acknowledged the differences in learning between in girls and boys. As a result, a boy’s parents may enroll him in kindergarten at six years old instead of at five years old, Kunjufu told conference attendees on Saturday.
Several studies have found that reading and writing may be more difficult for boys during early elementary school years than for girls. Story problems in math are more difficult for boys to decipher, because not only must they do the math, but they must also grapple with language skills to do so.
And even the task of gripping a pencil properly or cutting things out with scissors is more difficult for young boys. Girls' brains are more active than those of boys, so they are less likely to become inattentive during the day. Boys typically perform better when moving.
Kunjufu explained the failure of U.S. public school systems has resulted in 80 percent of black boys and 60 percent of white boys being assigned to special education classes.
Kunjufu said a solution to overcoming learning gender differences is single-gender schools, which until recently were fervently opposed until recently by the National Organization of Women and the American Civil Liberties Union. “They would give me hell,” Kunjufu told the audience. The National Organization Woman changed its mind about single- gender schools when the group’s members realized that young white girls performed better academically in all-girls' schools, he said.
The Black Star Project and the University of Illinois at Chicago sponsored the one-day conference which was held to addresses issues that have led to a high percentage of black boys dropping out of school.
Black boy writing
National Conference on Educating Black Males
Summer Writing Program For Black Boys Enters Its Fourth Year
Dr. Alfred W. Tatum, director of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Reading Clinic, said he started a summer writing program for black boys because he wanted them to express themselves. "Black boys voices were falling silent," said Tatum, PhD, who is an associate professor in UIC's Department of Curriculum and Instruction. "I wanted them to pick up their pens and write about their lives."
The program is now seeking 15 African-American boys 12 to 17 years old for UIC's 4th Annual Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute, which will be held on the university's campus from June 28th to July 28th.
The classes meet from 10am to 1pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Each student who is selected to participate in the program is required to attend every class. They will receive $150 each for their attendance.
"The summer literacy institute will serve to nurture the next generation of socially conscious writers," Tatum said. "Several past participants have become published authors with Scholastic, the world's largest publisher of children's books."
Interested students must fill out an application and submit a writing sample by June 1, 2011. The application is available by calling Dr. Tatum at 312-413-3883. Students must submit the completed application online to
. The application prompts students to write about their lives with a list of seven writing options. Student must choose one and write about it.
The application asks the student to write a poem or short story that captures a contemporary African-American experience. Another asks the student to identify one myth about African-American males and to provide a writing sample in which the myth is addressed.
Participating students will write poetry, a short story, a children's story and the first three chapters of a novel, Dr. Tatum said.
Black boys need to hit the
Black Boys Study Much Less Than Their White And Asian Classmates
Although black boys face many obstacles in school, they can resolve one of their most serious problems—lack of studying.
According to Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, a Philadelphia-based nationally certified school psychologist, black boys study an average of 45 minutes per week compared with Asian boys who study 12 hours per week and white boys who study 8 hours per week.
Adbullah–Johnson made this disclosure at the National Conference on Educating Black Males last Saturday in Chicago.
Michigan Bank Settles Race Discrimination Lawsuit
Citizens Republic Bancorp Inc. in Flint, Mich., will open a loan production office in a black Detroit neighborhood as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that bank officials engaged in a pattern of race discrimination. Bank officials also are required to invest $3.6 million in Wayne County, Mich., as part of the settlement agreement, which was announced May 5.
New Book Looks At Race and Crime
The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization working for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing law and practice, and alternatives to incarceration, recently announced that the book
Race, Crime and Punishment: Breaking the Connection in America
can be downloaded for $10 from the Aspen Institute (
Olympic Marathon Champion Dies In A Fall
Samuel "Sammy" Wanjiru, who won the 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon, died Monday after falling from the first-floor balcony of his home in Nyahuru, Kenya. Police are investigating to determine if the fall was suicide or an accident.In the 2008 Olympics, Wanjiru set a record running the 26 mile, 385-yard course in two hours, six minutes and 32 seconds. Wanjiru was 24 years old.
This Week in Black History
Week of May 21 to May 27
1862 – Mary Patterson becomes the first black woman in U.S. History to be awarded a master's degree. She earned it from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
2009 – NFL star quarterback Michael Vick is released from federal prison after serving 19 months of a 23-month sentence for financing a dog fighting ring. Formerly with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
2009 – A black man, James Young, is elected mayor of Philadelphia, Miss., a town known during the 1960s as the nation’s most racist. Ku Klux Klan members dominated the town. Overt mistreatment of its black citizens, and even killings of blacks, went unpunished. One of the most brutal events in the city was the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers. In his 2009 election victory, Young captured 30 percent of the white vote.
1881 – Blanche Kelso Bruce is sworn in as a Republican U.S. Senator from Mississippi. He became the first black man to serve a full term in the senate. During his service, he advocated for the political and social rights of blacks, Native Americans and Chinese immigrants.
1969 – Police and National Guardsmen open fire on student civil rights demonstrators at predominantly black North Carolina A&T University, leaving one student dead. Five policemen were injured.
1863 – The War Department establishes the Bureau of Colored Troops and began to recruit aggressively blacks to serve in the Civil War. The black troops would play a major role in turning the tide of battle against the rebellious Southern slave states.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
1959 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the U.S. Air Force. His father, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., had been the first black general in the U.S. Army.
1966 – Entertainer Bill Cosby becomes the first African American to receive an Emmy for best actor in a dramatic series for his role in 1960s hit television series “I Spy.”
1921 – “Shuffle Along," the first of a succession of widely popular black musicals performed for white audiences, opened at the 63rd Street Theater in New York City, becoming the first African-American Broadway musical. The musical comedy combined the talents of the legendary team of Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle. “Shuffle Along” produced a long list of hits, including “Shuffle Along,” “I’m Just Wild about Harry,” “Gypsy Blues,” and “Love Will Find A Way.”
1981 – Legendary reggae artist Bob Marley is given an official state funeral in his homeland of Jamaica. He had died of cancer on May 11th in Miami. Marley and his band “The Wailers” had made reggae popular worldwide with such hits as “Stir It Up” and “No Woman, No Cry.” He was considered the first third world superstar and a prophet of the Rastafarian religion. He was only 36 when he died. His body now lies in a mausoleum in Jamaica.
1854 –Anthony Burns, one of the most celebrated fugitive slaves in American history, is captured by deputy U.S. Marshals in Boston. At the time of his capture, anti-slavery feeling was running high in Boston. It was one of the cities which had vowed not to obey the Fugitive Slave Act, a federal law which required even those opposed to slavery to help slave owners capture run-away slaves. Fearing that Boston residents would help Burns escape to Canada, the U.S. government sent 2,000 troops to Boston to assist in returning Burns to Virginia. Thousands lined the streets as Burns was marched to a ship on June 3rd for a trip back to the South. A black Boston church raised the money to purchase Burns and within a year of his capture, he returned to Boston and lived as a free man.
1856 – The so-called Pottawatomie Massacre takes place. A force of men led by famed abolitionist John Brown attacks a pro-slavery settlement in Franklin County, Kansas, leaving at least five men dead. The attack was part of a period known as “Bleeding Kansas” when pro- and anti-slavery forces battled one another in a bid to determine whether Kansas would be a slave or free territory. The Pottawatomie Massacre was also one of the events which made the Civil War unavoidable.
1944 – Legendary singer Patti LaBelle is born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pa.
1878 – World renowned dancer Bill Bojangles Robinson is born in Richmond, Virginia. Robinson was one of the best and best-known dancers in America until the 1940’s. He was known for his sensational footwork and speed. He once set a world record running the 75-yard-dash backwards in 8.2 seconds. His “Bojangles” style, designed to please white audiences, offended many blacks who found the style demeaning. Nonetheless, Robinson became a wealthy man, appearing in 15 motion pictures after the 1930’s.
1919 – Wealthy cosmetics empire owner, Madame C.J. Walker, dies on this day at her estate on Irvington-on-the-Hudson in New York. Walker is generally believed to have been the first black millionaire in American history.
1926 – Famed jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was born on this day in 1926.
1943 –One of the largest white riots of the 1940’s takes place in Mobile, Ala. The whites were outraged because the owners of a local shipyard company had upgraded the status and pay scale of 12 black workers.
1799 – The famous black Russian writer Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin is born in Moscow. Pushkin was of Russian and Ethiopian parentage. He was well educated and later became a prolific writer. He is generally credited with being the “Father of Russian Literature.”
1949 – Pamela Suzette Grier is born in Winston-Salem, N. C. Pam Grier becomes one of the premier black actresses and one of the top sex symbols of the 1970’s, playing in a host of so-called “black exploitation" movies.
1958 – Ernest Green graduates from Little Rock, Ark.'s Central High School, becoming the first black to do so. Green was a member of the “Little Rock Nine," the group of black students who first integrated the high school with the aid of federal troops.
2010 – The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University releases a stunning study showing that the typical white household had accumulated 20 times as much wealth as the typical black household. According to the study, median white family wealth stood at roughly $100,000 while median black family wealth was estimated at $5,000.
"This Week in Black History" is compiled by Robert Taylor. Get a free subscription to his bi-weekly Black History Journal by writing him at Robert N. Taylor, P.O. Box 58097, Washington, D.C. 20037. Please include $3.00 to cover postage.
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