Children

Ivory Toldson Taking the Lead in Educating Black Students | Harbari Gani, America!

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson declares himself the “myth buster” when it comes to researching the implications of racial biases on the education system serving Black students. He supports this claim by debunking well-worn biases and treading new ground that few within that system approach for solutions.

Black students are the most challenged population in America’s education system. They are examined through a kaleidoscope of negative stereotypes accumulated over 400 years and are fortunate to have a champion like Ivory Toldson, former Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Howard University Professor changing the tides.

In his new position as President and CEO of the Quality Education for Minorities network, Toldson will have the opportunity to expand his research, providing educators across the nation with resources to strengthen minority education goals.

As a newly free agent, Toldson stretches his wings serving as the keynote speaker for the National Education Association Conference on Minorities and Women’s Conference on Racial Justice and Education, Closing Plenary. Toldson understands present research processes and practices are made toxic by societal and personal biases, but he offered jewels enabling educators and administrators to reached beyond these borders with his “10 myth busters” for your edification below. He says,

“…these are what I call the 10 biggest lies that I hear about young, black males. And the reason why it is important to understand that they are lies is because these are often used as the excuse for why certain people in our field aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do for our children.

Number 1 — There are more Black men in prison than in college.

  • In fact, right now there are more than 600,000 more black men in college than in prison.

Number 2 — 50% of Black boys dropout.

  • Most people believe that because of their interpretation of some very popular reports, including the Shot Foundation‘s report with a looked at graduation rates and not dropout rates. You have to understand the difference between graduation rates and dropout rates in order to interpret that report responsibly, but the true dropout rate among black males as characterized by the National Center For Educational Statistics is right around 12%. Now, that is nothing to clap about, but when we look at a room full of Black males and we think that one of them are going to drop out, that is not the type of perspective or mentality we want our teachers to go into the classroom with.

Number 3 — Black boys can’t read.

  • Now, most people are identified as non-readers because of our standardized tests. There are all kinds of reasons why a student who may be able to read functionally won’t do well on a standardized test, and if we don’t understand those reasons and just use these blanket indicators from the NAEP exam to say what percent are not proficient, and then interpret proficiency as their lack of an ability to do the things we need them to do in the school, then we are not going to exercise the best practices when we work with the students.

Number 4 — Black youth of today are more violent than any generation in history.

  • When in fact, crime among Black youth escalated in the 80’s, reached its peak by the mid-1990’s, has been going down since the late-1990’s, and this is generation of youth is the least violent of any generation of youth since before the 1960’s.

Number 5 — One in three Black boys will serve time in prison.

  • In fact, most of the reports that have claimed this have never looked at Blackmales as they exist right now. They use projections. The article that most people cite or the study that most people cite is by someone named Thomas P. Bonczar that did something called the “Double-Decrement Life Table” that looked at the year someone was born and then projected their odds of going to prison. He did this report over 10 years ago, and the only group of cohorts that had a one in three chance were those who were born a year before he wrote the report.
  • So, in other words, he was looking at 2-year-olds and saying they would have a one in three chance of going to prison based on what he thought would be an escalation in the crime rate, not a de-escalation, which is what we actually got.

Number 6 — Black boys are at a natural disadvantage because most are from single-parent households.

  • I have written two articles in this regard, but the summary of those articles is it doesn’t matter the composition of your household. It matters who your parents are. It matters the value they place on education, their engagement with the school, the socialization of their child to the academic environment,and it has nothing to do with who is in their bed.

Number 7 — Black students purposely underachieve because they associate being smart with acting white.

  • Now, there is a lot I can say about that, but I have written an article on it. You can see the evidence. That is not true. And in fact, among Black girls, most of the strongest surveys show that Black girls actually have the highest regard for education than any other group of students out there. And in fact, there is a lesser known function that has been constantly found in the literature, and that is called the “Attitude Achievement Paradox.” That is the fact that in most survey research Black students actually show a higher attitude about the abstract notion of education, but their achievement is not measuring up to that.

Number 8, Black males are avoiding the teaching profession.

  • Again, I have written an article about all of these. You will get the link soon. When you look at young, Black males who are college-educated, teaching is actually the number one profession. So you ask, why is it less than 2%? That is because we are only 5.5% of the population. Of that 5.5%, only 17% have at least a bachelor’s degree, and among those who go on to get their degrees in education — and this is a little-known fact, but it is in the report that I have written — Black males are more likely than any other race group to be promoted out of the classroom into administration.

Number 9 — Black men are underrepresented at institutions of higher education.

  • The nation has 12.7 million Black men who are 18 years and older, and we make up about 5.5% of the adult population, and 5% of those who are in college. Where we are underrepresented is the most competitive colleges. So, those colleges with selective admissions criteria have an underrepresentation of Black students. And those that have open admissions criteria, like community colleges, have an overrepresentation of Black students. And that is largely because a lot of the factors these students talked about earlier, especially a young lady who says she was advised to go to a community college when she clearly had the academic credentials to go to Michigan State.

Finally, Black men are a dying breed.

  • Now, one of the things we have to understand is that when we are in a nation that only refers — only uses the terms breeds, endangered, and species for black men and animals, then that is a problem. But in fact, black men have an increasing representation in the population. Our numbers are growing. White males, their numbers are decreasing. Now that doesn’t mean either one is in danger. But when all we are doing is using these types of terms to deal with humans, then we are dehumanizing them. “

~ Conference on Racial Justice and Education, Closing Plenary (Video)
More on Ivory Toldson Leaving White House Initiative on HBCUs Post – Higher Education

Challenge | Barbershop Books

Harlem has always been the east coast mecca for Black culture and art. I remember my days at Hunter College, trolling the uptown bookstores for that rare author. With this tradition Alvin Irby‘s project, Barbershop Boys, recognizes and meets the challenges that prevent young Black youth from developing a healthy love for books.   

NBC Today: How Barbershop Books Is Getting Young Boys Excited About Reading

In 2013, former kindergarten and first-grade teacher Alvin Irby launched “Barbershop Books,” an initiative that targets young black boys who frequent barbershops and aims to improve their reading comprehension by encouraging them to dive into the world of literature. 

The Barbershop Books website describes its purpose: “To close the reading gap for young black boys by using child-centered, culturally relevant, and high-impact strategies.” According to the White House, 86 percent of black boys are below proficient reading levels by the fourth grade, compared to 58 percent of white boys in the same category. 

 

Barbershop Books

via Challenge | Barbershop Books.

Who Can I Run To?: Queer Black Kids in the Church Need Love Too

For Harriet

Most concerning is the study that suggests suicide among Black children has risen. Some argue that a decline in religious observance might make Black children more vulnerable to suicide ideation and attempts. But what if we bent that logic in the reverse? Part of me cannot help but wonder that perhaps we are doing such a terrible job of showing children, all Black children, that they are incredibly beautiful and remarkably loved. We’ve got a monumental task in front of us. We cannot decide which Black lives are worth love and support. We owe love to the child who got into all Ivy League colleges and to the kid who sits in the back of the church with piercings and pink hair. Jesus set a pretty clear example about where he spent his time and did his work.

via Who Can I Run To?: Queer Black Kids in the Church Need Love Too.

Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School : Code Switch : NPR

Columbia University law professor Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and her associates, Priscilla Ocen and Jyoti Nanda, set out to explain in their study, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected.

They examined data from public schools in Boston and New York City, and the results are startling: Girls of color, and especially black girls, are subject to discipline that is harsher and more frequent than that of their white peers, and are six times more likely to be suspended than white girls. The racial disparities in punishment are greater for girls than for boys.

via Study: Black Girls Are Being Pushed Out of School : Code Switch : NPR.

3 Black Adoptees Speak About Growing Up With White Parents – The Root

Rollins

The Root talked to three transracial adoptees, all adopted by white families in the 1970s, about their experiences and views on transracial adoption, as well as Costner’s new film. While all three appreciated the love and foundation their families provided, a common theme evolved: In a racially polarized society, children of color cannot be raised devoid of their history and culture. All three agreed that white families who adopt children of color need to abandon the naivete of colorblindness and deal with the racial reality their black and brown children face.

Here are their stories:

via 3 Black Adoptees Speak About Growing Up With White Parents – The Root.

Dr. Umar Johnson “The Influence of Ebonics on the Hip-Hop Culture” Ebonics Conference – YouTube


Dr. Umar Johnson “The Influence of Ebonics on the Hip-Hop Culture” Ebonics Conference

via Dr. Umar Johnson “The Influence of Ebonics on the Hip-Hop Culture” Ebonics Conference – YouTube.

Why Haven’t I Seen This Ferguson Video Before? These Children Killed It! « ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SYNDICATE


“Hands up don’t shoot. We ain’t got no guns we ain’t got no drugs hands up don’t shoot.” Take a listen to Pearl Star Student, Queen McElrath, showing love and talent for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson.

via Why Haven’t I Seen This Ferguson Video Before? These Children Killed It! « ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SYNDICATE.

What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones? | Mother Jones |#OYRchallenge

Aiyana Stanley-Jones, age 7, shot in her bed by Officer Joseph Weekely of Detroit SWAT on May 16, 2010. Out of all the articles published , Charles LeDuff captures this heart wrenching saga best. Not who, but “What Killed Aiyana Stanely-Jones?”Aiyana Stanley-Jones, age 7

The SWAT team tried the steel door to the building. It was unlocked. They threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of the lower unit and kicked open its wooden door, which was also unlocked. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana that it burned her blanket. Officer Joseph Weekley, the lead commando—who’d been featured before on another A&E show, Detroit SWAT—burst into the house. His weapon fired a single shot, the bullet striking Aiyana in the head and exiting her neck. It all happened in a matter of seconds.

via What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones? | Mother Jones.


via RISE IN POWER: Tribute to Aiyana Stanley-Jones – A Dawud Anyabwile Speed Painting Ft. ANILIMARS – YouTube. December 13, 2014

The Rocky Mount Telegram

Claudia Lacy, mother of victim, Lennon Lacy

On Friday, federal authorities confirmed they were reviewing the investigation. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Tom Walker said Walker’s office acted at the request of attorneys from the North Carolina NAACP representing the family.

“We don’t know what happened that terrible night,” said the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP chapter. “It is possible that a 17-year-old excited about life could commit suicide. The family is prepared to accept the truth. They’re not prepared to accept this theory that’s been posited with a rush to a conclusion of suicide so quickly. We have said there are far too many unanswered questions.”

via The Rocky Mount Telegram.

Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue – NYTimes.com

Mikia faces disciplinary hearing

Data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education show that from 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and more than girls of any other race or ethnicity. In Georgia, the ratio of black girls receiving suspensions in the same period compared with white girls was 5 to 1, and in Henry County, that ratio was 2.3 to 1, said J D Hardin, the spokesman for the county’s school district. And researchers say that within minority groups, darker-skinned girls are disciplined more harshly than light-skinned ones.

via Schools’ Discipline for Girls Differs by Race and Hue – NYTimes.com.