A Deeper Look into Black-White Graduation Gaps

A Deeper Look into Black-White Graduation Gaps
Michelle Chen, In These Times | August 21, 2010

It appears that despite Washington’s attempts to close the racial “achievement gap,” the educational colorline still looms over Black youth.

According to a study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, fewer than half of Black male students graduated from high school on time in the 2007-2008 school year, compared to 78 percent of their white peers—a gap of more than 30 percent. Since educational attainment is closely linked to economic prospects, the study affirms what advocates have long argued about the roots of the country’s structural racism. It’s another indictment of an educational system that tracks children of color into an adulthood rife with social and economic inequality.

The study’s results varied by state. In New York, for instance, Black male graduation has slid down over the years to a dismal 25 percent, leaving a Black-white gap of more than 40 percent. The rate in neighboring New Jersey, however, was more than 65 percent. The report attributes the relative success to the state’s aggressive Abbott reform plan, which targeted resources to close racial gaps. (Read the full article)

Higher Learning: Summer M.'s Freshman Orientation Post

One of the first memories I have of my first year in college is Jell-O wrestling.  I have absolutely no idea how, on the last Saturday night before classes started, my new roommates and I — perhaps on our way to some black(er?) social event — ended up amongst a crowd of fellow co-eds, standing on the dusty lawn of some random frat house watching students wrestle in a pool of mud and The Cos’ favorite dessert, but there we were, equally befuddle and alarmed by the spectacle.  Whitley and Dwayne were not my classmates, but witnessing Jell-O wresting informed me that I was, indeed, in a different world.

Several eons have passed since that late summer night in West Lafayette, Indiana (Boiler up!).  I’ve registered and graduated and registered and graduated many times over.  In the interim, I imagine, there have been many, many more Jell-O wrestling matches featuring all too eager–and inebriated–co-eds gaining such learning on their parents’ dime.  (Seriously, how much Jell-O does one have to buy in order to properly coordinate a Jell-O wresting event?  Sounds like a math problem to me.)  Since the only thing I’ve ever been in my adult life is a student, I’ve picked my own brain to come up with a few tips.  Call it my effort to compile a list of unhackneyed advice that just might help you during your first year (and beyond) of college.  You’re welcome.

Antoine Dodson Follow-Up

YouTube (via Colorlines) | August 20, 2010

Be sure to also read Fallon’s take on Dodson’s fame.

(From Colorlines)

Accidental Internet celebrity Antoine Dodson tells ABC News that, although his sister’s attacker is still on the loose, he’s made made a “nice amount of money” off of the infamous “bed intruder” YouTube meme. “Enough to move my family from the projects,” he says.

Dodson became a Web star after an interview he gave to a local Alabama television station went viral. The interview is part of a news report on the attempted rape of his sister. In the video (scroll down to watch), an emotional Dodson launches into an animated speech, declaring, “Hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your husbands, they’re raping everybody out here!” Within the first week that the video was online, several parodies appeared. Some had deeply disturbing racial undertones, while others were surprisingly talented musical odes. Even the North Carolina A&T University’s marching band has gotten in the mix.

Record Sales Hit A New Low!

According to Rollingstone.com, album sales nationwide reportedly hit its lowest low since the use of Soundscan first began, way back in 1991. The week of August 8th through August 14th generated a measly 4.95 million albums sold. Even worse, the last time overall album sales reached such a low…was earlier this year, when album sales for the week of May 30th were almost just as bad; a dismal 4.98 million albums.

For those of you that don’t keep track of album sales and the general state of the music industry (like myself), let me state emphatically that these numbers are bad. Really bad.

The Black Girl Project

A Film by Aiesha Turman | Premieres August 27, 2010

The Black Girl Project is a documentary film which asks pretty much one question: who are you? Of course that question morphed into other, follow-up questions, but that singular question lies at the heart of the film.

In a culture where Black women and girls are either venerated for their saintly accomplishments which strips them of any other character attribute except that of martyr/mammy, or demonized and used as the fall gal to explain away all that is wrong with the Black community and society-at-large, it is important to hear and see Black girls speak their truths.

Traditional media continues to have a problem with realistic, multi-faceted portrayals of Black women and girls, and for that matter, all females of color. It is our hope that the film adds to the discussions about Black women and girls across the country and that it will contribute to a paradigm shift in how they are seen by others and how they see themselves.

Dr. Laura and Post-Race America

Soon after President Barack Obama was elected, the lie of post-race America began. It was this idea that because we had a black president in office, we as a nation, had somehow transcended race. But the very idea of a raceless (it isn’t even a real word) society is impossible. However, for many, the uptick in interracial relationships coupled with a bi-racial President in office is overwhelming evidence that society has moved on from the big “R.” Fortunately, we still have reminders.

Meet Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She’s a conservative talk radio show host who has often times run up against more liberal groups. Prior to her nigger-rant, she has previously sparked outrage from gay groups. She has also ranked alongside Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in conservative radio with nearly 9 million listeners tuning in each week. She has since left her multi-million dollar radio spot amid outrage.

More Minorities Taking ACT, but Score Gaps Persist

More Minorities Taking ACT, but Score Gaps Persist
Catherine Gewertz, Education Week | August 18, 2010

Far more Hispanic students are taking the ACT than ever, but their scores continue to fall short of levels considered necessary for strong performance in college.

Scores released today by ACT Inc. for the graduating class of 2010 show that the number of Hispanic students who have taken the college-entrance exam during high school grew 84 percent in the past five years. Participation by Asian-American students rose by 63 percent and by African-American students 55 percent, compared with a 29 percent rise in the number of white students.

But stubborn score gaps persist among racial and ethnic groups.

Hispanic and black students were the least likely to reach ACT score levels that are predictive of college success. Only 11 percent of Hispanic students and 4 percent of black students met the ACT’s benchmarks for college readiness in all four subject areas tested, compared with 30 percent of white students and 39 percent of Asian students. The exam, which is scored on a 36-point scale, covers mathematics, English, reading, and science. (Read the full article)

Swastikas, Confederate Flags and Race Pride

This weekend was interesting, to say the least. I spent Sunday at the Texas Gun Show. While I expected strange, maybe even interesting, I was unprepared for some of it. Guns and weapons don’t shake me. On display, they cause no panic. Some of the other things on display however, were enough to make me want to stay in the comfy confines of my little exhibitor booth. It was a joke to me and my coworkers. But when I was forced to leave the booth to forage for food, I ran into something that actually caused a bit of panic in me. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I wandered through the exhibitor displays and because my eyes were trying hard to soak in everything that was going on around me, I walked right up to a booth selling memorabilia emblazoned with swastikas.

Of course, I relayed this information to the guy working the event with me, and we joked about it, the Confederate flags and the Ronald Reagan “Avenge me!” bumper stickers. At that point, it seemed silly that the sight of a swastika had evoked the type of emotion that it did in me. Then, one of the exhibitors next to me, who had overheard our conversation, decided to try and comfort me.

Through the Love of Kindred

What happens when you answer the phone to the sound of your mother crying on a hospital bed asking for a kidney? Not a figurative request that represents the love and affection that is due to the person who deposited life into you on the day of birth. Not a theoretical entreaty that allows one to peruse the peripheral areas of reality under the protection of the hypothetical. Not a demand that persuades one to act out of trepidation and fear. No, what if your mother made a simple appeal saying “I need you to get tested, dialysis is no longer working.” What happens when the kindest person you have ever encountered, goes through so much natural pain. What happens when technology and globalization have never been so hard to cope with, when your mother asks for a kidney from hundreds of miles away? No eye contact, no affectionate hug and kiss, just her voice through the speaker of a five inch blackberry tour. What happens when you answer that phone call and feel the tears from a woman’s face that you love, and you don’t have the choice to face her?