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New report cites need to address students being pushed out and locked out of opportunities to learn

The report, from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, suggests that without a policy framework, the U.S. will become increasingly unequal and less competitive in the global economy. New policies need to:
1.   Create educational opportunity for all students;
2.   Strengthen supports for the teaching profession; and
3.   Strike the right balance between support-based reforms and standards-driven reforms.

According to The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, only 52 percent of Black male and 58 percent of Latino male ninth-graders graduate from high school four years later, while 78 percent of White, non-Latino male ninth-graders graduate four years later. While 78 percent deserves a grade of "C," 52% is a glaring "F".
Its disgusting and should be front page news.  
The report and state-specific data can be found here:www.blackboysreport.org

“We have a responsibility to provide future generations of Americans with the education and the skills needed to thrive in communities, the job market and the global economy. Yet, too many Black and Latino young boys and men are being pushed out and locked out of the U.S. education system or find themselves unable to compete in a 21st Century economy upon graduating,” said Dr. John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. I'm proud to be a founding board member of Schott.

Dr. Jackson continues, “These graduation rates are not indicative of a character flaw in the young men, but rather evidence of an unconscionable level of willful neglect, unequal resource allocation by federal, state and local entities and the indifference of too many elected and community leaders. It’s time for a support-based reform movement.”
The report cites the need to address what the Schott Foundation calls a “pushout” and “lockout” crisis in our education system, in part by reducing and reclaiming the number of students who are no longer in schools receiving critical educational services and improving the learning and transition opportunities for students who remain engaged. Blacks and Latinos face disproportionate rates of out-of-school suspensions and are not consistently receiving sufficient learning time – effectively being pushed out of opportunities to succeed. Many who remain in schools are locked out of systems with well-resourced schools and where teachers have the training, mentoring, administrative support, supplies and the facilities they need to provide our children with a substantive opportunity to learn.

In the foreword to the report, Andrés A. Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools, described his city’s efforts to keep kids in schools: “We could not have made these strides without asserting unequivocally that we had no disposable children, and that we needed everyone’s help to make things right.” Alonzo concludes, “I am confident that we as a nation will rally and we will succeed. The cost of continued failure is around us, a disservice to our best hopes. The cost of continued failure should be abhorrent to contemplate.”

To cut down the alarming “pushout” rate, the Schott Foundation is supporting the recently launched Solutions Not Suspensions initiative, a grassroots effort of students, educators, parents and community leaders calling for a nationwide moratorium on out-of-school suspensions. I recently blogged about this initiative.  It is supported by The Opportunity to Learn Campaign and the Dignity in Schools Campaign and promotes proven programs that equip teachers and school administrators with effective alternatives to suspensions that keep young people in school and learning.

Schott also calls for students who are performing below grade level to receive “Personal Opportunity Plans” to prevent them from being locked out of receiving the resources needed to succeed. The report highlights the need to pivot from a standards-driven reform agenda to a supports-based reform agenda that provides all students equitable access to the resources critical to successfully achieving high standards.

The Urgency of Now provides the following recommendations for improving graduation rates for young Black and Latino men:

1.    End the rampant use of out-of-school suspensions as a default disciplinary action, as it decreases valuable learning time for the most vulnerable students and increases dropouts.

2.    Expand learning time and increase opportunities for a well-rounded education including the arts, music, physical education, robotics, foreign language, and apprenticeships.

3.    States and cities should conduct a redlining analysis of school funding, both between and within districts, and work with the community and educators to develop a support-based reform plan with equitable resource distribution to implement sound community school models.

“There is no doubt that the stakes are high. Black and Latino children under the age of 18 will become a majority of all children in the U.S. by the end of the current decade, many of whom are in lower-income households located in neighborhoods with under-resourced schools,” said Michael Holzman, senior research consultant to the Schott Foundation. “We do not want our young Black and Latino men to have to beat the odds; we want to change the odds. We must focus on systemic change to provide all our children with the opportunity to learn.”

This is systemic racism and it has to stop.  Whites have to lock arms with their Black brothers and sisters and say "no" to the new Jim Crow and refuse to participate in what former Schott president, Dr. Rosa Smith, called "educational genocide.”  Not enough Christians in Germany stood up for the Jews, but could have stopped "the final solution." While blacks have to the lead the movement, whites have to stand up and be allies just as we did during freedom Summer, registering black voters in the South in the early '60s.  I would like to see all political candidates take a stand on this.

Are you willing to take a stand?

-Submitted by Greg Jobin-Leeds

For the full report, The Urgency of Now: Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, including detailed state data, visit www.blackboysreport.org.

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