Prince Georges County recognizes that fathers matter

20 Oct

Moi wrote in Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?
Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, Blacks Struggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate which was posted at NBC News Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected
Brian M. Rosenthal’s Seattle Times article reports about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools,Rosenthal reports:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.
District officials, who presented the finding at a recent community meeting at Rainier Beach High School, noted the results come with caveats, but called the potential trend troubling and pledged to study what might be causing it.
Michael Tolley, an executive director overseeing Southeast Seattle schools, said at the meeting that the data exposed a new achievement gap that is “extremely, extremely alarming.”
The administration has for years analyzed test scores by race. It has never before broken down student-achievement data by specific home language or country of origin — it is rare for school districts to examine test scores at that level — but it is unlikely that the phenomenon the data suggest is actually new.
In fact, some national experts said the trend represented by the Seattle data is not surprising. They pointed to some studies about college attendance and achievement indicating that immigrant families from all backgrounds tend to put a larger emphasis on education than those families that have been in the country longer.
Traditional factors in low performance, such as poverty and single-parent homes, are generally shared by black immigrants and nonimmigrants alike….
The results, although preliminary, were eye-opening:
• Only 36 percent of black students who speak English at home passed their grade’s math test, while 47 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Other black ethnic groups did even better, although still lower than the district average of 70 percent.
• In reading, 56 percent of black students who speak English passed, while 67 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Again, other black ethnic groups did better, though still lower than the district average of 78 percent.
The numbers do have significant limitations, Teoh said. That’s because they are based on home-language information that is entirely self-reported, and the data exclude English Language Learners — an optional program for students who score poorly on an English proficiency test.
Most of all, Teoh said, because the English-speaking category includes students of many black ethnic groups, it’s impossible to compare specific ethnic groups.
At the recent community meeting, much of that distinction was lost on the parents in the audience.
“It’s very alarming that students that were born right here are at the bottom of the barrel,” said Vallerie Fisher, whose daughter is a senior at Rainier Beach. “How is that possible?”
Immigrant experience
The answer to that question may lie in the culture of immigrant families, national education experts said.
Many of those families, who often were relatively wealthy and well-educated in their home countries, have strong social-support systems that emphasize education, said Mike Petrilli, the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank based in Washington, D.C.
Pamela Bennett, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, agreed. She conducted a study in 2009 that found that immigrant black high-school graduates attend college at a much higher rate than black or white students born in the U.S. The reason was that the immigrants had a higher socioeconomic background, she said.
But that explanation may falter when Seattle’s Somali population is considered.
Many of the Somalis, after all, did not follow a normal pattern of immigration. Their families came to the U.S. to escape their war-torn country, many by way of refugee camps. But they still did better than English-speaking African Americans on the tests.
Veronica Gallardo, the director of international programs for Seattle Public Schools, speculated that the trauma experienced by Somali families causes them to value the opportunity education provides. In addition, Somali community groups tend to prioritize education, said Alexandra Blum, who works with the Somali Community Services Coalition, a nonprofit that works to empower families in King County.
Seattle School Board member Betty Patu, who has worked for decades with community groups serving students of color, said she has noticed that all immigrant families, regardless of socioeconomic status, place high value on education.

Ovetta Wiggins reported in the Washington Post article, ‘Men Making a Difference Day’ brings Prince George’s County fathers to school:

Learning how to knot a necktie was one of many activities that more than 2,000 men shared with their children during Prince George’s County’s annual “Men Making a Difference Day,” which brings the county’s fathers into classrooms to promote parental involvement in the public schools.
On Monday, 100 schools across the county scheduled fun and educational activities for the men, with officials hoping that the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other male role models would see the importance of being engaged in a child’s education and how such involvement could change a child’s life.
“It does my heart good to see these fathers, uncles, grandfathers, all these men,” Kevin Maxwell, the school system’s chief executive, told the men as they assembled in the lunchroom with students at their sides. “The difference that men make is tremendously important.”
Researchers have found that students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades, attend school regularly and have better social skills.
Some schools brought in motivational speakers for the day Monday. Some hosted basketball games between fathers and sons, while others simply opened their classrooms for the men to observe while the children learned.
Michael Robinson, the school system’s former director of parental engagement and community outreach, said some fathers are unable to make weekly visits to their child’s school, for a variety of reasons. But he said meaningful engagement could include buying supplies for the school, helping with homework or attending a school board meeting.
“The goal I have for this is for the fathers to be involved and to see that manifest in student performance and student behavior,” said Robinson, who started the program five years ago and continues to partner with the schools to help organize the event. “I want it to become normal for men to come into a school and ask about their children….”

If you are a young unmarried woman of any color, you probably do not have the resources either emotional or financial to parent a child(ren). If you don’t care about your future, care about the future of your child. If you want to sleep with everything that has a pulse, that is your choice. BUT, you have no right to choose a life of poverty and misery for a child. As for those so called “progressives?” Just shut-up.
There are some very uncomfortable conversations ahead for the African-American community about the high rate of unwed mothers, about the care of women during pregnancy, and about early childhood education in the homes of children.Most important, about the lack the active involvement of fathers of some children.

Time to start talking. The conversation is not going to get any less difficult.


We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

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