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|Black Students. Middle-Class
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Author and educational consultant Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu has released a very thought provoking book on the educational plight of African American students. Many of us are aware of the academic achievement gap between White and Black students. At the elementary level there is almost a three stanine difference and on the SAT there is a 200 point differential.
The book explores the probable causes for this disparity. They include low teacher expectations, inadequate time on task, a mismatch between teaching and learning styles, tracking, an irrelevant eurocentric curriculum, negative peer pressure, poor parental involvement, parental income and marital status, school funding, and genetics. Kunjufu analyzes the above and provides a wealth of references.
I was amazed to read that the future of the Black race lies in the hands of White female teachers who constitute 83 percent of the elementary teaching force. There has been a 66 percent decline in African American teachers since the landmark Brown vs. Topeka school integration decision of 1954. The African American male teacher has become a dinosaur. Kunjufu argues the problems are not resolved with those African American educators who lower expectations based on class. He also wonders why some teachers are against choice while sending their children to private schools.
While Kunjufu has an Africentric ideology, he was not afraid to read and incorporate the research from the Heritage Foundation, Brookings and Manhattan Institute, and Education Trust. While many educators attribute the gap to the students being low-income, what explains the gap which is actually wider between middle-income Whites and Blacks? How do we explain the success of so many schools in low-income African American communities who have produced students well above the national average?
Kunjufu documents that the most important factor is not the background of the student but the teacher. Please do not think the author believes its the race or gender of the teacher. Kunjufu clearly writes its not race or gender, but expectations, time on task, and qualifications. This includes the teachers college GPA, major, state exam proficiency, and historical teaching track record. This has a much greater influence on student performance than race or income.
His last chapter, models of success is worth the price of the book. I would encourage Black Students/Middle Class Teachers for all educators, parents, and community residents concerned about the future education of African American children.
Of Emergency: We Must Save African American Males
If you thought Dr. Jawanza Kunjufus national best seller Countering the Conspiracy To Destroy Black Boys was thought provoking, I encourage you to read State of Emergency: We Must Save African American Males. The chapters include education, economics, drugs, prisons, fatherlessness, and solutions.
The book is worth buying just for the statistics. In 1980, there were less than 100,00 African American males incarcerated. Just two decades later, the figure swelled to 1.3 million due to the impact of drugs, prison, draconian legislation, and police brutality. Crack has been devastating.
Kunjufu documents the problems for African American males did not begin when they were incarcerated. The challenges began in a hostile school district that would rather place them in special education than gifted and talented. Is there a relationship between vitalin and cocaine? Between zero tolerance and the death penalty?
Why were Black people brought to this country? Does that reason exist today? What purpose do Black men have in this highly technological economy? Are they only needed to play like gladiators in the stadium and then provide employment for poor rural Whites by becoming fodder for the privitized penal system?
Is there a war on drugs or African American men? How do we explain 74 percent of drug users are White, but 65 percent of those convicted are African American? Kunjufu argues prostitution efficacy exists by locking up the buyer versus the seller. How do we explain that only one percent of drug users in Europe are HIV infected while over 60 percent of Americans are infected? Does Europe view drugs as a medical problem? Does America see drugs as a criminal problem? Does God see drugs as a moral problem? Is there a relationship between America, Rome, and Sodom and Gammorah? Have guns and drugs now reached Columbine, Santee, and White America in denial? All this and more are discussed in this excellent book.
The chapter I enjoyed most was fatherlessness. Kunjufu documents that the greatest precursor is not racism or poverty, but fatherlessness. He describes four males in most families. They include sperm donors, no-show fathers, ice cream daddies, and fathers. We are in a state of emergency because only 30 percent of African American children have daddies in the home.
As usual, Kunjufu provides numerous solutions throughout the book. If you are concerned about African American males, the 85 percent recidivism rate, mandatory drug sentencing, illiteracy, zero tolerance, DWB, AIDS, and much more, you will enjoy Kunjufus next bestseller?
The Conspiracy To Destroy Black
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Have Civil Rights organizations kept up with times? Have they
captured the hearts, minds, and imagination of today's youth? Have the
strategiesremained the same? Have the problems remained the same? There is an
old adage, " If you keep doing what you've been doing you'll keep receiving the
Dr. Odom , consultant, educator and civil rights leader, is the
President of Odom & Associates and is President of the Charles Hamilton Houston
Institute which was founded to advance the planning and implementation of a new model for
Hooked On Hoops
The endless trail of Black athletes jilted by basketball, devoid of concrete options having sold out body and soul for the game they love and in the process forfeiting their opportunity for an education. They now feel betrayed by their dreams, their community, their coaches, colleges and whomever else they can blame for their failure to make the NBA continues to grow. Yet, it doesnt have to persist. In fact it can recede. It has too! The sport is stripping our community of its most cherished resource-the young Black male-and instead of producing educated leaders for change and self empowerment returns to us (usually after their college eligibility has expired far short of a college degree) dependent and defeated former basketball prodigies.
Change can occur. It can occur with a complete analysis, critical evaluation and penetrating introspection of the situations that lead our Black athletes, to an addictive, one-sided relationship with the sport of basketball. Followed by innovative, thought provoking, often controversial, yet creative concepts to solicit new attitudes and determinations to produce a different result. Hooked on Hoops does just that. Hard hitting, sharp, compassionate, and encompassing the book details the many factors and aspects that lead Black youth to an addictive relationship with the sport lacking balance and perspective. In doing so, the book is often more a portrait about Black culture and lifestyles than basketball. Yet the book is nor a crash and burn theory on why basketball is a bane on the Black community and should be banned as a goal for Black youth. That cry is the easy way out! Nor is it a blame-the-White-power-structure for its exploitation of the Black athlete expose. To the contrary, Hooked on Hoops is an advocate of sport and sports participation but with a concise and knowledgeable understanding of the highlights, pitfalls, consequences, and responsibilities of the game by athletes, parents, and fans.
Author Kevin McNutt has combined 25 years of basketball experience as a big city playground athlete, high school and college player with 18 years as a high school and NCAA referee to compile a penetrating and emotional account of the Black athlete and basketball. His insight, wisdom, research, observations, and experiences come together to provide the reader with a unique stance on what drives the Black athlete to excel on the court yet often restricts his progress off it.
Hooked on Hoops is a plea for focus, vision, critical thinking, and awareness of how to use sports, particularly basketball for growth and productivity before the sport can and will eventually drain the energy, enthusiasm, optimism, and courage of the Black athlete. Ultimately the book is about personal accountability and self-empowerment.
Heartfelt and passionately written, Hooked on Hoops portrays the chaotic, give-and -take, yet always a contentious struggle of the Black athlete to find a proper balance and perspective with basketball in his life. The result is a fascinating and insightful narration of Black life, the Black athlete, and his relationship with basketball.
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