Friday, July 25, 2008

Black Males Are Endangered In DPS by Akindele Akinyemi

Public education is a core function of state and local government. The state constitution recognizes the right to a “sound, basic education” for every child in the state. But public education need not and should not be delivered by government monopolies, as a diverse array of magnet, charter, and private schools are demonstrating across the country and here in Detroit.

Affluent families already exercise choice. They can move to neighborhoods where assigned schools are of good quality, or afford to pay twice for better education — once for private school tuition and then again in taxes to fund schools they don’t use.

An increasing share of Detroit’s students are exercising choice. With the complete collapse of the Detroit Public School System we can now safely say that charters are no longer an experiment.

Parents strive to send their children to safe schools where they will get the educational opportunities they need to compete in a global economy. Noticed I said safe.
When it comes to reforming K-12 education, two powerful ideas are in play: standards and freedom. High standards will lift all boats, if joined to reliable tests and tough accountability measures that reward children who learn what they should and reward schools and educators who successfully teach what they should -- and that bring sanctions to bear on failure.

Freedom puts parents in the driver's seat to decide what schools their children attend, enables them to exit bad schools for better ones, injects competitive forces and incentives into the education industry, and tames bureaucratic monopolies, ed-school cartels and other dysfunctional arrangements.

Because charter school works overall it is time that we begin to save our black males in education. While Gov. Granholm talks about smaller high schools we, in the charter movement, have been practicing it.

According to today's Detroit News Michigan has the worst rate in the nation for graduating black males while Detroit Public Schools has one of the worst rates among all districts, according to a national report issued Friday.

The study shows Michigan graduates just 33 percent of black males compared to 74 percent of white males, according to the report "Given Half a Chance: the Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males."

Detroit Public Schools graduates just 20 percent of black males. That does not surprise me at all. When I graduated from DPS we started off with a senior class of 563. 425 graduated on time from Chene Park. Out of 425 only 100 black males graduated on time. Nothing surprises me in DPS.

On the other hand North Dakota had the highest rate of black males graduating at 89 percent. North Dakota is NOT an union state where there are weird school laws that restricts education on the books.

What kills me is the fact that some of these people who conduct these reports claim that racism is to blame for black males not graduating. As a educator I cannot count on my fingers how many times I have mentored the dope man, the one sagging his pants, the one who I constantly tell to take off his hat in school or church, or the one who is heading down a path of despair. You can only show our young men the door. It is up to them if they want to walk through it.

I consider myself to be a conservative educator. That means I do not make up excuses for our young boys. I do not blame racism, sexism or any isms for the reasons of why Black males are not graduating from school. Young Black men graduated from a schoolhouse in a church on a plantation at the turn of the 20th century during Jim Crow. Some of these men went on to college and those who did not went on to be successful. One thing that kept these men afloat was the strength of the family. His woman actually SUPPORTED her man. You do not see this in our community anymore and it is difficult to see who is a real man and who is not.

Because we live in a 21st century global reality it is my God given duty as an educator and leader in this community to help young men understand that you have the potential to overcome all obstacles even when the situation is not the best.

Detroit Public Schools have failed our boys so therefore allow us to show you a better way. Remember, this is the same school district that begs for Black male teachers and educators but will not hire them without a whole bunch of redtape. There is a much better way and I urge you to join in our efforts for educational reform in the State of Michigan.


maidintheus said...

Keep up the great work, Mr. Akinyemi.

JGillman said...

The "established" Michigan government is not holding DPS accountable for it's failures. They are not doing any favors for Detroit youth who cannot afford to move to another district where schools are at least "adequate" as DPS are not.

I truly feel for those who are "stuck," and hope they show their displeasure in November by voting for a more conservative array of policy makers who will hold the DPS to a higher standard.