Kicking off Black History Month let’s take a look at the current state of Black education in CA. Disturbing but not unexpected results came out from the recent Black Minds Matter report published by Ed Trust West. Some lowlights;
Black students in California are LEAST LIKELY TO:
- Become proficient readers by third grade;
- Be placed in Gifted and Talented Education programs;
- Master the mid-level mathematics skills that position students for success in college preparatory math courses;
- Be placed in a full sequence of college-preparatory courses;
- Complete an Advancement Placement (AP) course;
- Graduate from high school in four years;
- Complete a college degree.
AND MOST LIKELY TO:
- Be suspended or expelled;
- Be taught by ineffective teachers;
- Be identified for special education; and
- Take remedial, non-credit bearing coursework as college students
Lots of difficult trends to deal with, and as the proportion of Black students decrease in the state we can expect a similar disinvestment in focus and solutions, unless we do something about it. The good news is that there are a range of successful programs, and that we have real evidence that interventions matter and that these trends are created by bias, history, and current policy, and not inevitable, which means we can change them.
Take a look at some of the progress from the African American Male Achievement initiative, or the decreasing suspensions that come along with changes in the disciplinary policies.
But, looking at the data, reviewing the report, and reading the book of history in CA, Black minds have not mattered or been prioritized. It is up to all of us to write the next chapter.