Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Black male conundrum

In Chicago’s public schools, African-American males are suspended and expelled at a higher rate than any other student group. Yet educators are working to raise black male graduation rates, creating a classic case of policy and practice at odds.
Nearly one in four black male students in Chicago Public Schools was suspended at least once last year, a rate that is twice as high as the district average.

This finding is also part of an upward trend that has resulted in a near doubling of the number of suspended students over the past five years, according to a Catalyst Chicago analysis.
The racial disparity for African-American males is even starker with expulsions, which are also on the rise. More than 60 percent of expelled students last year were black boys, up from 53 percent just five years ago.
Check out the why this matters part, however, I suggest you read the whole piece!
District officials have long said they are committed to eliminating the achievement gap for black boys. At the same time, data show that black male students are hardest hit by punitive discipline that affects their academics:
  • Studies have established a strong correlation between suspensions, course failures and dropping out. Black boys in CPS have the highest dropout rate of any racial or ethnic group, and also the highest rates of suspension and expulsion.
  • CPS scrapped its zero tolerance policy in 2006 in favor of restorative justice, which encourages schools to avoid punitive discipline and help students understand why their misbehavior is wrong and make restitution instead. But restorative justice has yet to take a strong hold.
  • Black male teachers, who can serve as mentors to black boys who are struggling academically and with their behavior, are in short supply in CPS.
  • The racial disparity is also apparent in suburban Cook County, where black boys account for just 11 percent of students but 35 percent of those suspended at least once and 44 percent of those expelled.
Via Newsalert!

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