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Chapter two presents a review of the literature according to the topics as they relate to African-American males and public schooling. First, section one focuses on the negative effects of California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), and the negative effects of high-stakes testing; the high school academic achievement of African-American males, importance of athletics to African-American males', impact of racism in the life African-American male students, history of eugenics movement and its failure, home and African-American males', schooling and segregation by community, the high school dropout rate of African-American students, the school culture and the impact of culturally responsive instruction. Next, section two examines the effects of educational laws and policies, and special education. Section three reviews essential parental factors or the lack thereof, influencing the child's upbringing positively or negatively, and nutrition as they affect African-American males. Finally, section four concentrates on in-school factors - teachers' expectations and perceptions. This chapter closes with a summary of the review of the literature.
California Education Code (CEC) Section 60850 (a) authorized the development of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), which requires students in California public schools to pass a test to receive a high school diploma regardless of students' grades and credit accumulation. Educators raised concerns, which delayed administration of the test for two years. However, in October 2001, volunteer sophomores from the class of 2004 took the first CAHSEE. Initially, the CAHSEE was intended as a graduation requirement for the class of 2004 (cde.ca.gov, 2006), but the State Board of Education revised the deadline and officially required the examination for the class of 2006 (cde.ca.gov, 2006).
CAHSEE according to the California Department of Education (2006) had the following primary purpose:
The primary purpose of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) is to consequentially improve pupil accomplishment in public high schools and to ensure that pupils that graduate from public high schools can corroborate grade level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics. CAHSEE results are also part of the Academic Performance Index calculated by the state of California and the Adequate Yearly Progress calculated by the federal government as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. (cde.ca.gov, 2006)
Denial of the equal right to excellent education, to which all children are entitled, resulted in African-American male students being left without a vision, or a productive future (Brown, 2006). As a result, poor African-American male students, without understanding, fall into a predestined hollow intended for school failure and social inequality (Apple, 1993; Delpit, 1995; Larson & Ovando, 2001).
Jennings (1997) asserted that other minority groups, such as Latinos, also continue to suffer from discrimination; African-American communities tend to bear harsher weight in terms of absolute numbers and proportions of families affected in any given community. He further said "The levels of poverty amongst African-Americans are exceedingly high, and poverty still is a harsh reality for many African-Americans today" (p.2). The American Dream could as a result be said to have bypassed a great majority of the African-American population (Winant, 2004). As white citizens become more appeased in being able to attain the American Dream and have confidence in its transference to African-Americans, African-Americans become more doubtful if the dream is accomplishable for them (Brown, 2005).
Negative effect of High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)
In the review of the literature regarding California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) nothing was found relating to its impact on students who did not pass CAHSEE therefore, the review of the literature was broadened to include high-stakes testing. But however one study was located by Reardon and Kurlaender (2009) in their study compared "Effects of the California High School Exit Exam on Student Persistence, Achievement, and Graduation"- on students scheduled to graduate in 2005- who were not subjected to the CAHSEE requirement- to similar students in two later cohorts, who were subjected to the requirement. The outcome of their studies stated:
CAHSEE requirement has had no positive effects on students' academic skills - particularly low-achieving students whom the CAHSEE might have motivated to work harder in school - learned no more between 10th and 11th grade when compared with the students in the previous cohort who were not subjected to the requirement (p.1).
Reardon and Kurlaender (2009) asserted CAHSEE has not met its intended goal of raising student accomplishment to meet the state's goal-level standards, and that it appears to have disproportionately negative effect for minority students.
Negative effects of High-Stakes Testing
Madaus & Clark (2001) defines a test as "High Stakes" if the outcomes of the test have envisioned outcome for students, staff, or school. Goldberg (2004) asserted that in an attempt to make many schools better, many states have choose policies that make use of high-stakes test to decide the graduation, grade promotion and the reward of their students in high school.
Vision, Gibson, and Ross (2001) maintain that high-stakes standardized tests fail to acknowledge and account for individual and cultural differences in knowledge, values, experiences, learning styles, economic resources, and access to dominant academic artifacts that ultimately contribute to both the appearance of accomplishment and the status of cultural hegemony upon which standards-based reforms depend.
Bishop (2006) and Roderick and Engel (2001), supporters of high-stakes testing hold the belief that failure of an exit examination serves as a useful signal to schools and results in students' increasing their effort and motivation, while some scholars argue against this. Whereas Huebert & Hauser (1998) believed that exit examination failure does not lead to authentic student accomplishment or gains and in fact, may deter students to continue steadfastly in school. They further argued that dependence on a single standardized test may have unintended outcomes.
In line with the United States' decision to adopt universal standards and high stakes testing in many states, the plan for poor children and children of color to gain knowledge and achieve as high as their more privileged peers has not received serious attention (McLaughlin, 2000).
Losen (2005) indicated that the use of high-stakes tests that burdened poorly taught children with diploma denial and grade level retention called for immediate attention and review. He suggested that the inappropriate use of high-stakes testing likely exacerbated the consistent problem of the exclusion of low achieving and special education students from state assessments used for school and district accountability.
Psychological research on general student inducement suggests those students' replies to an exit examination contingent largely on students' appreciations of the reward. Goal theorists proposed that passing an exit examination represents an "accomplishment goal," a goal based on accomplishing some external standard, as against to a goal based on achieving mastery of some particular thought (Ames, 1984; Covington, 2000). Research on student inducement shows that accomplishing goals generally do not lead students to better their substantive knowledge of the material but rather lead students to focus on accomplishing a better standard that may be irrelevant to their mastery. Specifically, that is, students identifying CAHSEE as an accomplishing goal will imply that they focus on passing the test rather than mastering the essential material assessed (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 2010).
Ridman, Brown, & Clark (1987) found that students who were unsuccessful in minimum competency tests manifested a significant increase in anticipation of adversity alongside a similar decrease in general self-esteem. However, when they compared students with little risk of failure who had passed to students with high risk of failure who passed, they determined that these two groupings of students had no such changes along these dimensions. Thus, the authors attributed the psychological changes they observed to the experience of failure.
(B) African-American Males' Academic Performance
African-American males encounter several social, economic and academic problems that form a blockage against their academic accomplishment (Alonzo, Tindal, & Robinson, 2008). Often these problems cause the young men to lose hope, lead an isolated life, and reverted to having a somber outlook due to racism, depression, despair, school dropout, frustration, incarceration, drug addiction, disease, crime, unemployment, or even death (Holzer, 2006).
Pollard (1993) asserted in his article "Gender, Achievement, and African-American Students' Perceptions of Their School Experience" that unsuccessful achievers African-American male students reported less positive self-perceptions, less interpersonal support, and less active problem solving. He further stated that there were literatures that connected the school-related attitude of African-American male students, but much of this writing related African-American male student's academic performance and most often, their achievement is considered in comparison to their White male students. In his assertion he stated "a great deal of research on this topic focused on identifying reasons why African-American male students demonstrated widespread failure and/or low school performance (p.343).
Alexander and Entwisle (1988) said that the academic performance of African-American male students continues to lag behind that of Whites. This is reflected in the major differences that still existed between Black and White male students' in the type of courses they were placed in, their college attendance rates, and the level to which they were excluded from school (Nelson-Le Gall, 1991; Quality Education for Minority Project, 1990).
Powell (1989) associated African-American male students' poor academic performance to psychological factors such as poor self-concept or lack of inducement (Graham, 1989). While Fine (1991) and Oakes (1985) associated the main source of the low academic accomplishment of African-American male students' to lack of equity of school resources. They further argued that African-American males', especially those from poor backgrounds were denied access to adequate educational resources and were victims of school policies such as exclusion from school. Boateng (1990) said "African-American males students' may be less inclined to become involved in learning from a curriculum that neglect or debases their culture and heritage."
Racial stratification has been seen as a weapon of lowering the status of African-American male students' in this society (Mickelson and Smith, 1989), in addition to this are societal policies that excluded African-American males' from fully taking part in social and economic organizations, and as such schools are organized to provide an inferior education to African-American male students', thus resulting to their low status in society (Ogbu, 1990).
Hoberman (1997) asserted that athleticism, which most African-American males cherished, contributed to visible racism and unconscious onslaughts on African-American males in society from Whites. Hoberman (2000) further stated that the dreams of many African-American males to achieve recognition through sports have influenced many African-American male students to back off from educational opportunities.
In view of the fact that high school athletics are always combined with the students' academic performances. African-American male students' who do not succeed academically have been denied opportunities to participate in sports (Holland & Andre, 1987).
According to Steele & Aronson (1995) stereotype threat referred to being at risk of confirming, as a self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's social group (p.801).
Steele's (1997) indicated that students' can harmonize stereotypes into their own perceptions of their self-concepts and thereby adopt and develop into their perceived perception. This theory also asserted that students tend to reduce areas in which they believe they are not so good or in which they are performing poorly, such as in the classroom, and conversely students prefer areas where they excel, such as athletics and other physical aspects.
Marble (1986) said that the essential problem for African-American male students is that they have an inability to define themselves outside of the negative stereotypes that the larger society has imposed on them. African-American male students tend to internalize these attitudes and stereotypes and thereby develop negative perceptions about themselves, the educational process, and self-effacing prejudices (Kunjufu, 1986).
Negative stereotype and purposeless student-teacher relationships are an important reason for the failure of Black males. Research shows that disenfranchising stereotypes have a negative effect on students' acquiring skill and taking part in science and mathematics classes, and significant student-teacher relationships have an effect on students' learning and participation in science and mathematics classes (Brand, Glasson, & Green, 2006). They further stated that African-American males :have a high tendency to manifest fewer academic strong desires, are less likely to finish high school on time, and are at greater risk of dropping out of school compared with other ethnic groups.
History of Racism against African-Americans males'
Since the days of slavery, African-American males have been battling the stigmas that they cannot succeed, that they are not as intelligent as White males that they cannot achieve a high-level success on an academic basis, and unfortunately, these stigmas exist both in society and in the educational arena (Kunjufu, 2002, p.94).
History has shown Whites controlled the education of African-Americans, and in many cases, purposely deprived them of any education to keep them knowing their rights. The attitude that prevailed was evident in the life of Frederick Douglass (a former slave) when the Mr. Auld, the husband of the mistress who was assisting him to learn, stated, "If you teach that nigger how to read, there would be no keeping him, it would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would forever become unmanageable and of no value to his master" (Douglass, 2004, p.47).
Over time, African-Americans began to realize the empowerment embedded in the ability to read and write, and as a result, became motivated. Frederick Douglass's words convey his inspiration, "â€¦ what made White man so much more powerful than Black man, l knew what empowered them and what l needed to be empowered, the argument of Mr. Auld so warmly urged, against my learning to read, only served to inspire me with a desire and determination to learn (Douglass 2004, p.48).
As a slave Douglass discovered the previously unknown power and freedom and became aware of their endless potential, so he began risking and teaching other slaves to read so they, too, could discover the same. His words conveyed his intent, "I taught them, because it was the delight of my soul to be doing something that looked like bettering the condition of my race, for it is bad to be shut up in mental darkness prior to learning how to read" (Douglass, 2004, p.88).
Patterson (1982) compared a slave to a socially dead person. He was deprived of all essential things of life, he is not allowed to lay claim to anything and was separated from close relatives at any time without his consent. He further stated that slaves were dishonored persons because of absence of any independent social relationships and lack of power.
Peterson-Lewis & Bratton (2004) stated that some of the reasons that contributed to the crisis of African-American males have included racism and discrimination brought about by slavery and has resulted to African-American males developing various behaviors such as carrying guns or dangerous weapons in an attempt to withstand the unremitting effects of oppression.
Leary (2005) in publication Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome highlighted a scenario where a Black mother and White mother were engaged in a conversation about the academic and social progress of their sons who were classmates and teammates:
The Black mother asked the White mother about her son's progress. The White mother described her son in glowing terms such as "talented", "gifted", and "good athlete" and so on. However, when the White mother asked the Black mother about her son's progress, though clearly proud of her son, the Black mother talked about his sometimes less than the fitting behaviors in school and at home. It is important to note that the African-American student was outperforming the Caucasian student, both in the classroom and in the athletic arena, but his mother neglected to publicly acknowledge his achievements (p.145).
In spite of all efforts to improve ineffective schools and raise academic accomplishment, there is a well-documented, lingering achievement gap between affluent students and poor students as well as between White students and Black students (Grissmer & Flanagan, 2001).
When one considers the consistent higher dropout rates of African American male students, the inclusion of critical race framework in education is necessary. Critical race theory presupposes the historical and contemporary role that racism has played, and continues to play in education, and it asks questions that are more penetrating. "How has racism contributed to educational disparities? How can it be dismantled?" The fact that race and racism influence the widespread failure or low-academic achievement of African-American male students has become clearer. We begin to understand the wide influences inequality, discrimination, race and racism have and how these influence the dropout. Lewis's (2006) stated, "it is essential for the students to understand how they believe these 'signifiers' of race influence their realities in schools and in classrooms and shape their prospects for learning."
The literature of eugenics extended back to the periods of Plato, the recent impulse was the work of Francis Galton; a cousin of Charles Darwin, who was alarmed by the occurrence of genius in some descendants more than others (Buchanan et. al., 2000, p.30).
Galton (1883) fabricated the term "eugenics", defining is as the "science of improving stock-not only by prudent mating, but whatever intended to give the genius descendants a better chance of been predominant over the less suitable descendants than they otherwise would have had." (p.40)
Weindling (1989) stated that in1905 in Germany the Racial Hygiene Society was formed in Berlin, and in 1907 the English Eugenics Education Society was founded, with Galton elected honorary president in 1908 (Kevles, 1985, p.59). In the United Kingdom and the United States, the eugenics movement focused on the middle and upper classes, with many professionals and academics included (Rafter, 1988; Mackenzie, 1981; Kevles, 1985). The eugenics movement ideas were forwarded greatly between 1890-1920 in many non-English-speaking countries like Norway, Brazil, and the Soviet Union, and by 1923 when the society was established in the United States there was a rapid growth to the extent of having 28 states branches in a short time (Kevles, 1985).
The United Kingdom and the United States Eugenics society was both majored in research programs, with Galton's work on heredity and statistics continued by his successor Karl Pearson, and their coworkers in Galton laboratory, which led to the endowment called "Galton Eugenics Professorship" (Buchanan, et. al., 2000, p.30).
Rafter (1988) stated that eugenics movement ideas were rapidly spread in the public, talking about the unsuitable generations using different words like "white trash", "Jukes", and the "Kallikaks", and cautioned the public that imprudent reproductive act could brought great destruction to the generations (p.31).
The eugenics ideas varied from country to country and within each nation's movement (Buchanan, 2000, p.31). The French and Brazilians eugenics movements focused on neonatal care as with heredity, they believed that children acquired their characters from their parents and these remained with them during their lifetimes (Schneider, 1990; Stepan, 1991). Also eugenicists differed in their practical proposals and the body that make their laws. Some encouraged the descendants that are mostly fit to have larger families but discouraging the fertility of those found least fit; whereas many wanted both.
Between 1910 and 1930 involuntary sterilization was allowed by statutes enacted in northern Europe, including Denmark and Germany, and in the United States. The involuntary sterilization was carried out during depression in the United States on large numbers of people to the tune of tens of thousands, and the Nazi in Germany with the greatly stepped-up program made several hundred thousand incompetent of bearing children (Buchanan, 2012, p.32).
Roll-Hansen (1980) asserted that in both the United States and Germany, some elite supporters of eugenics turned their ideas on race, and restricted immigrants with the believe that the immigrants are less intelligent and even pressed for laws forbidding interracial marriages. Weiss (1990) and Proctor (1988) both wrote that eugenics was a major part of medical thinking in Germany, which envisioned three divisions of health - medical care for individuals, public health for the community, and eugenics for the race.
Weindling (1989) stated that eugenics in Germany was distinguished for its medical leadership, though many noticeable eugenicists were racists and anti-Semitic, others were acknowledged anti-racists, and some were political left. Burleigh and Wipperman (1991) asserted that emphasis was placed on purifying "blood" by the Germans as to wash the nation's heredity pool so that they could regained the greatness of their genetically forefathers.
Proctor (1988) stated that historical for the plan of blood purification to be achieved sterilization of the unfit was introduced (tens of thousands mostly young children were killed) and later Holocaust was unfolded. The sterilization and "euthanasia" programs were exercises in negative eugenics planned to improved German degenerated condition (p.37).
The defeat of Germans after the holocaust led to eugenicists in other countries to distance themselves from German eugenics, as German eugenicists were respected for their consistencies and purposefulness before the movement fell into general disrepute. The Eugenically News (1945, p.2-3) hastened its readers to know that:
It can sometimes be as important to live for our ideals and to pass on a goodly heritage, as to die for them when that time comes. The heroes of Valley Forge and Gettysburgâ€¦ will have died in vain if the best of our race also dies. The storkâ€¦must be kept flying, too, along with the eagle and the bombers. But it must fly to those homes where good environment will bring the best heredity to fruition, socially and biologically.
Despite these efforts, the eugenics societies soon lost their followers (p.38)
According to Buchanan, Brock, Daniels, and Wikler (2000) nearly all eugenicists agreed that the intention of Galton and Weismann was to "improve the overall quality of the gene pool, whether positively or negatively. Eugenicists saw reproduction as an act of social outcomes rather than a private matter, but the eugenics antedated the current revolution in genetics and molecular biology on changing the breed of human beings, in fact not all eugenicists support the idea that reproduction should be controlled by the state (p.41)
Failure of Eugenics
Eugenics failure can be approached in five different ways:
Replacement, not Therapy:
It was believed that eugenics sought for human betterment, making better people to born, instead of directly bettering any people. Lewontin (1991) drew the distinction and said:
To conflateâ€¦the prevention of disease with the prevention of lives that will involve disease is to traduce completely the meaning of preventive medicine. It would lead to the grotesque claim that the National Socialists did more to "prevent" future generations of Tay-Sachs [a lethal genetic disease found most commonly among Jews] sufferers than all the efforts of science to date. Genetic counseling and selective abortion are substitutes for disease prevention cure (p.19).
Narveson (1967, 1973) and Parfit (1984) condemned eugenics reason for how to better human race, they said the eugenicists policies was changing the well-being of future generations by changing the identities of those who would have constituted the future generations by using genetic screening and preventing lives.
Roll-Hansen (1980) in other to answer the question "Who was to set the criteria for ideal man?" faulted eugenicists for promoting a certain conception of human perfection, failing to value the indispensable of plurality of values and ideals of human superiority, believing that the ideal would be similar to themselves. Some eugenicists failed to tolerate personal and social ideals that differ from their own.
Violations of Reproductive Freedoms
Buchanan, Brock, Daniels, and Wikler (2000) stated that the involuntary sterilization of tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans was the worst stain on the record of the eugenicists. Qiu (1999) wrote that China recent law on maternal and child health contained eugenics ideas.
Watson (1997) in the book "From Chance to Choice Genetics and Justice" revisited the history of eugenics and concluded that to save people's life the role of state needed to be eliminated. He spoke concerning the vulnerable people in the name of eugenics - sexual segregation, sterilization, and in Germany, mass murder could not have happened without state involvement (p.51). Duster (1990) corroborated this on what he called "backdoor eugenics" whereby the genetically disfavored may be harmed through private decisions on the part of the employers, insurers and prospective parents.
Kevles (1985) concluded that historically eugenic movement of 1870-1950 have been cruel and always a problematic faith, it elevated abstractions - the "race," the "population", and recently the 'gene pool' above the rights and needs of individuals and their families (pp.300-301). He further stated that the groups that paid the price were those who are their genes were not wanted, also through involuntary sexual segregation; stigmatization and denigration, sterilization, and even murder were eliminated.
Home and African-American males'
A situation where the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care are inadequate as commonly found among the minority, a child's health can be compromised with harmful effects on a wide-ranging array of learning factors, including school attendance (Toldson, 2008). Homes where parents cannot provide financial assistance for their children may experience high levels of stress and can create a context growth for the emergency of behavioral and emotional difficulties (McLoyd, 1990), which affect learning.
Toldson (2008) in his study "Relationship between poverty and academic achievement" stated in his finding that a family who earned an annual income of $20,000, their children were twice as likely to earn a "D" or less in school compared to families earning $75,000 or more annually, and mostly African-American males students families fall into the first category of income.
Schooling and Segregation by Community
Housing segregation has connected to school segregation as low-income people of color have faced confinement to houses in poor urban environments. As a result, low-income suburbs also have produced segregation and low-income schools where the children of the low-income people have enrolled- children of color (Anyon, 2005).
Recent national trends suggested Black and other underserved students continued to be inappropriately enrolled in schools in central cities (U.S. Department of Education 2002). For many Black high school students, this translated into overrepresentation in large, urban comprehensive or "zoned" schools that are situated in racially isolated and high-poverty areas. Academic accomplishment and graduation rates at these high schools situated in poverty communities scared have consistently very low, when compared with affluent suburban schools. Statistics have shown that less than one quarter of the student body has reached twelfth grade on time (Balfanz & Legters, 1998).
African-American males are overwhelmingly more likely to attend high schools that are predominantly Black and have an enrollment with a large number of students on free or reduced lunch. In almost every category of academic failure, African-American males are excessively overrepresented (Dallmann-Jones, 2002; Martin, Martin, Gibson & Wilkins, 2007). White further wrote that Black male students are underrepresented in advanced and honors courses and more likely to be placed in special education programs and suspended, or expelled from school (Garbarino, 1999).
In 2000, more than 70% of all Black students in the United States attended predominantly underserved schools, a higher percentage than thirty years earlier (Rumberger, 2002). Although segregation has often been viewed in racial terms, racial segregation is strongly related to socioeconomic segregation. Not only are Black students' families more likely to be poor, but students are also more likely to attend high-poverty schools. This has a strong impact on the educational accomplishment of African-American male students (The Journal of Negro Education, 2004).
The African-American male students attended various schools where they were marginalized students (Theoharis, 2007). Instead, the these young African-American male students needed schools with leaders who understand Black family life, who realized that life extended beyond general parenting and school community relationships, and who truly desire to impact their students in a positive, life-changing manner to guide them from dropping out of school and feeling disheartened, discouraged, and frustrated (Noeth & Wimberly, 2002).
(C) Dropout from High School of some African-Americans Males'
African-American males have dropped out of school often prior to completing their degree. One reason found in the literature was that the process of disengaging from school had occurred overtime (Christenson, Sinlair, Lehr, & Godler, 2001). Characteristics of a dropout have included withdrawal from school (poor attendance) and unsuccessful school experiences (academic or behavioral difficulties) that often begin in elementary school. Actual disengagement was accompanied by feelings of alienation, poor sense of belonging, and a general dislike of school (Kavetuna, 2009).
Education is vital to successfully developing the economic, social, scientific and political institutions of nation states (Lockheed & Verspoor, 1991); hence, has necessitated that district, states, and the country at large to immediately have given the dropout problem the attention needed. Generally, school districts are failing to meet their primary responsibility to educate all American children as statistics show that about 7000 students leave American schools every day. This is a distressful indication that at this rate, 1.2 million students in our schools will not graduate with their expected class on time (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2008).
The Alliance for Excellent Education (2008) stated in their estimation if the student dropouts from the class of 2008 had graduated, 319 billion dollars would have been added to the nation's economy over the lifetime of these non-graduates. If the number of dropouts is not reduced over the next ten years, twelve million students will be added to the dropout figures costing the nation's economy one trillion dollars (Alliance for Excellent education, 2008).
Annually, the financial negative impact of student dropouts costs the state and the local governments billions of dollars paid to recipients in public assistance, unemployment benefits, lost revenue and rehabilitation efforts (Bridgeland, Dilulio, & Wulsin, 2008; Christle, Jolivette & Nelson, 2007; Orfield, Losen, Wald, & Swanson 2004; Rumberger, 1987).
School districts across the nation encounter serious challenges in order to ensure students receive an engaging quality education that will prevent them from becoming disengaged from their education and becoming school dropouts (Swanson, 2008). Dropout students are not alone in their challenges: the outcome of their challenges is felt by society because leaving school early for the dropout resulted in their forfeiting many of the opportunities they would have had available to them as graduates with high school diplomas. These opportunities would have allowed the drop out students to make positive impact in their community and open an opportunity for post-secondary education, but unfortunately, all these vanish when students drop out of school (Patterson, Hale, & Stressman, 2007).
Anyon (2005) cited socioeconomic issues as contributing factors resulting in African-American male students to drop out of school. Low-wage earners are those whose hourly wage is less than the earnings necessary to lift a family above the official poverty line. In 2004, government guidelines identified families at the poverty level as follows: a family of three with of $15,670 is at the poverty level, and a family of four with income below $18,850. In 2000, despite the height of a booming economy of the time, almost one-fifth of all men (19.5%) and almost one- third of all women (33.1%) earned poverty level wages working full-time, year round (Anyon, 2005).
According to Schott Foundation for Public Education (2010), the nation graduates only 47 percents of Black male students who enter ninth grade.
The Education of Black male students has been full of separate and unequal educational opportunities (Strayhorn, 2008). Statistics show that across the fifty states, Black male students significantly lag behind their White counterparts in terms of graduating from high school, and the above table shows that in California only fifty-four percent (54%) of Black male students graduated in the 2007-2008 cohort compared to seventy-eight percent (78%) of White male students, a startling difference of twenty-four percent (24%). Researchers have studied, statistics and contributing factors, whether referring to statistics in California or across the nation, and researchers can cite numerous reasons for the lower graduation rate of Black male students (Schott Foundation for Public Education, 2010; Bell, 2010a).
GRADUATION RATES OF 2007/8 COHORT
District of Columbia
The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males
Black/White Male 20 States Graduation Rates by Total Black male Enrollment
Graduation Rates Of 2007/8 Cohort
Total Black Male Enrollment
The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males
Cultural feelings and racism also play a part in the dropout rates. Some underserved students sense that the majority culture sees them as less capable and expects little of them. Since they believe they will not succeed, these students put little effort in school (Ogbu, 1988). Hosts of explanations have been offered to explain the differences in academic performance and outcomes among underachieving groups (Gandara, 1999). One of the more troubling explanations for disparate educational outcomes, which culturally responsive teaching attempts to disrupt, is deficit-based explanations of low-income students and students of color(Anyon, 2005). These explanations usually are centered on low-income students and students of color lacking or being devoid of culture, coming from a culture of poverty that is not suited for academic success, posting an oppositional culture, having a disdain for educational accomplishment, or having parents who lack concern for their children's academic aspirations (Howard, 2010).
"Culturally communicative methods focused on the role language played in the teaching as well as the learning process." He further said that when the teacher is planning his lessons he needed to use instruction that incorporated the cultural competencies related to discourse patterns, face-to-face interaction and vocabulary (Howard, 2010).
Irvine (1990) termed mismatches between school and student cultures as a lack of cultural synchronization. Ladson-Billings (2009) suggested that what happens between African-American male students and their teachers represented a lack of "cultural synchronization." She further suggested that this lack of cultural synchronization and adjusting related to other factors that restrained African-American students' school accomplishment, including the "prescriptive beliefs and prescriptive structures that are premised on normative belief systems." (p.19)
Culturally Responsive Instruction
Instruction is critical to learning, and so lack of culturally responsive instruction affects the curriculum, what teachers teach, the instruction, how teachers teach, are factors that interrelate and influence students' accomplishment. The curriculum is the foundation, and it shapes the classroom instruction that the teacher gives students, and then students are tested to assess how well the instruction prepared them to show mastery.
Culturally responsive instruction refers to practice of classroom teachers to draw meaningfully on the culture, languages, and experiences that students bring to the classrooms with the goal to increase the participation and academic achievement of students of color (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Teachers, in most schools, do not plan lessons that indicate they value the language and cultural knowledge students bring from their home or to connect the knowledge to the lessons. Consequently, this obvious disregard negatively affects the academic success of students of color. However, teachers possess the knowledge and the power to change the negative effect to a positive effect by purposefully creating lessons that connect the experiences students bring from home and their culture to meaningful lessons and experiences in the classroom (Dutro, Kazemi, Balf, & Lin, 2008).
National Center for African Statistics (NCAS) (2005) indicated that 30 percent of African-American children under the age of 18 were living in poverty, compared to 10 percent of White children. Poverty and other socioeconomic factors such as income, self-esteem, and nutrition are all important components that have effect on the academic attainment and accomplishment of Africa-American males.
Kunjufu (2005) stated "The disproportion of Black male students in special education is not normal, and it is not acceptable, and that the professionals should be looking not for rationales to justify continuance of the problem but strategies to eliminate it."(p.25) He further stated "African-Americans male students were disproportionately placed in special education classes because the regular classroom is not culturally sensitive to the needs of this unique population."
National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) (2002) said overrepresentation of African-American students in special education and its services had caused more harm. It stated that the students may:
Receive services that do not meet their needs
Be denied right to the general education course of study.
The body of NABSE suggested that administrators should review data and develop performance-based evaluations for teachers and students. Also, that student achievement data must be disaggregated and aggregated based on race, gender, ethnicity, and language, with the result reported to the community (2002).
EDUCATION LAWS AND POLICIES
Some educational policies and laws have been targeted to attend to the needs of the minorities or the underserved populations in providing supplemental funds and categorical programs that could improve the learning capacity of the minorities (McGuinn, 2006). Some of the policies were Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994, and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001(McGuinn, 2006).
Federal Legislative Act:
(i) Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965
Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) 1965:
An Act: To strengthen and improve quality and educational opportunities in the Nation's elementary and secondary schools.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United states of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965".
TITILE 1-Financial assistance to local Educational agencies in the areas affected by federal activity- The Act of September 30, 1950, Public Law 874, Eighty-first Congress, as amended (20 U.S.C. 236-244, is amended by inserting immediatelyâ€¦ (1965, p.27)
TITLE 11- Financial assistance to local Educational agencies for the Education of children of low-income families and extension of Public Law 874, Eighty-first Congress:
Provision of school library resources, textbooks, and other instructional materials in recognition of the special educational needs of children of low-income families and the impactâ€¦(1965, p.36).
TITLE 111- Supplementary educational centers and services (Grants under this title may be used, in accordance with applications approved under section 304 (b), for (a) planning for and taking other steps to the development of programs designed to provide supplementary educational activitiesâ€¦ (b) the establishment, maintenance, and operation of programs, including the lease of constructionâ€¦ (1965, p.39)
TITLE 1V-Educational research and training -The purpose of this Act is to enable the Office of Education more effectively to accomplish the purposes and to perform the duties for which it was originally established (1965, p.44).
TITLE V-Grants to strengthen State Departments of Education- This Act may be sited as the 'Cooperative Research Act' (1965, p.47).
Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Public Law 89-10)
United States Statutes at Large Vol. 79 p.27-58, 1965). Retrieved from http://www.nitric1p.org/files/40646763.pdf
Passage of Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) revolutionized the federal government's involvement in education. Before ESEA, educational policy-making had been relegated almost solely the state and local government. ESEA consisted of five titles, pursuant to which the federal government provided funding to about ninety percent (90%) of the nation's public and parochial schools. It permitted distribution of federal funds to school districts based on the number of poor children enrolled; therefore, it increased federal spending on educations, but it did not specify which services districts should provide to "educationally deprived" children (McGuinn, 2006).
Congress has appropriated title funds for five-year periods, and to date continues to reauthorize them for another five-year period. Of the five titled funds, Title I provides the greatest benefit to public school because although it has specified ways funds can be allocated, it offers flexible options provided they meet the guidelines as a "target assistance program" earmarked for students identified at risk of failing and supporting them to improve their academic achievement. Title I has permitted the use of funds to provide programs for children from families who have migrated to the United States, for or youth who have been neglected or at-risk of physical or drug abuse, for dropout prevention programs and for improvement to the school site.
Elementary and secondary Education Act (ESEA) failed to achieve its main goal of improving educational opportunity for the poor as Hugh Graham noted,
The crux of the matter was that too much money was being spent too fast in too many places and under too many categorical programsâ€¦ [ESEA faced] already severe problems of implementation [which were exacerbated by] the chaos of a radically reorganized United States office of Education. (McGuinn, 2006)
United States Office of Education had little power under the original ESEA legislation to compel states to comply with federal goals, or to punish states and school districts that failed to do so.
Joel Berke noted, "State and local education authorities have failed their students in ensuring equal educational opportunities without federal intervention, and they could not be trusted to do so in future" (McGuinn, 2006).
(ii) Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994
As enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Short Title-This Act (other than titles V and IX) may be cited as the "Goals 2000: Educate America Act" (1994, p.125).
TITLE 1- National Education Goals: The purpose of title1 was to promote coherent, nationwide systematic education reform; improve the quality of learning and teaching in classroom and in the workplace, and also established valid and reliable mechanisms for building a broad national consensus on American education reformâ€¦ (1994, p.128)
TITLE 11-National Education reform leadership, Standards, and Assessments - Part A- National Education Goals Panel: This part is established as a bipartisan mechanism for- building a national consensus for education improvement; reporting on progress toward achieving the National Education Goals; and reviewing the voluntary national content standards, voluntary national students performance standards, and voluntary national opportunity-to-learn standards certified by National Education Standards and Improvement Councilâ€¦ (1994, p.134)
Part B- National Education Standards and Improvement Council: This is set-up as mechanisms certified and periodically review voluntary national content standards and voluntary national student performance standards that defined what all students should know and be able to doâ€¦ (1994, p.139)
Part C- Leadership in Educational Technology: It is designed to promote achievement of the National Education Goals and - to provide leadership at the Federal level, through the Department of Education, by developing a national vision and strategy to infuse technology and technology planning into all educational programs and training functions carried out within school systems at the State and local levelsâ€¦ (1994, p.151)
Part D- Authorization of Appropriations: This section is authorized to appropriate financing of the National Education goals by allocating money needed for the program and also evaluating the grants authorizedâ€¦ (1994, p.157)
TITLE 111- State and Local Education systematic improvement: This title is created to improve students' learning and assist the students in achieving high standards and realize their potentials if the United States is to prosperâ€¦ (1994, p.175)
TITLE IV- Parental assistance: The purpose of the title is to increase parents' knowledge of and have confidence in child-rearing activities, such as teaching and nurturing their young children and increasing partnership between parents and the school in meeting the needs of childrenâ€¦(1994, p.187)
TITLE V- National skill standards boards: This title is meant to establish a national Skill Standards Boards to serve as a catalyst in motivating the development and adoption of a voluntary national system of skill standards and of assessment and certification of attainment of skill standards - that will serve as a main source of the national strategy to achieve workforce skills (1994, 191).
TITLE VI- International Educational Program: It is meant to study, evaluate, and analyze educational systems in other nations, especially Great Britain, France, Germany, and Japan; this is to allow for comparative analyses of curriculum, methodology, and organizational structure, including the length of the school year and school dayâ€¦ (1994, p.200)
TITLE VII- Safe schools: It is set-up to provide competitive grants to local educational agencies as to ensure that all schools are safe and free of violenceâ€¦ (1994, p.204)
TITLE VIII- Minority-focused civics education: It is designed to encourage improved instruction for minorities and native Americans through a national program of accredited summer teacher training and staff development seminars, in-service training programs conducted by college and university campusesâ€¦ (1994, p.209)
(Goals 2000: Educate America Act) (Public Law 103-227).United States Statutes at Large Vol.108 p.125-256. Retrieved from federaleducationpolicy.wordpress.com/â€¦/goals-2000-educate-americaâ€¦
The enacted Goals 2000 specified that education was a state and local responsibility by stating that "no state is required to have its standards or assessments certified or should participate in Goals 2000 systematic improvement programs as a condition of participating in any federal education program." Goals 2000 also indicated that education must be viewed as a national priority, as states and local departments are required to team with federal education agencies to help create and sustain productive and effective systems of education (McGuinn,2006).
These Goals 2000 empowered state-level departments of education the freedom to create their own standards for their students, but specified that standards must be challenging with a focus on academic knowledge and skills that students should master. In order to facilitate students' accomplishment, grants were provided for schools, communities, and states to support the development (McGuinn, 2006). In addition, Goals 2000 granted the Secretary of Education the authority to waive some federal laws for some states and communities to enable them to implement various school improvement initiatives (McGuinn, 2006).
Goals 2000 failed to achieve its motives because the department of education failed to push hard to enforce the law set up for improving America's schools. Also, there was too much flexibility as the states and districts were giving free hands to operate, no tougher sanction for failing states or districts (McGuinn, 2006).
Schatz (1998) stated that Goals 2000 had failed the students when he said "Why is more money and power being given to an educational establishment that has clearly done an increasingly less effective job with increasingly more taxpayer dollars?" (p.11) He stated further "In spite of this massive spending spree, students' test scores have experienced a dramatic downward slide (p.1).
(iii) No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.
An Act: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Short Title- This title may be cited as the "No Child Left Behind Act of 2001".
TITLE I- Improving the academic accomplishment of the disadvantaged: The intention of this title was to secure that all children have fair, equal, and important opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic accomplishment standards and state academic appraisalâ€¦ (2002, p.1439)
TITLE II- Preparing, training and recruiting high quality teachers and principals: The purpose of this part was to provide grants to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, State agencies for higher education, and worthy partnerships in order to- (1) improve student academic accomplishment through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualifiedâ€¦ (2002, p.1620)
TITLE III- Language instruction for limited English proficient and immigrant students: The purposes of this part are (1) to help ensure that the children who are limited English proficient, including immigrant children and youth, achieve English proficiency; develop high levels of academic accomplishment in English, and meet â€¦ (2002, p.1690)
TITLE IV- 21st Century schools: The purpose of this part was to support programs that prevent violence in and around schools; that prevent the illegal use of drugs; that involve parents and communities â€¦ (2002, p.1734)
TITLE V- Promoting informed parental choice and innovative programs: The purposes of this part are the following: (a) to support local education reform efforts that are consistent with and support statewide education reform efforts â€¦ (2002, p.1776)
TITLE VI- Flexibility and accountability: This is to pay the costs of the development of the additional State assessments and standards required by section 1111 (b), which may include the costs of working in voluntary partnerships with other States, at the sole discretion of each such State; and â€¦ (2002, p.1873)
TITLE VII- Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education: It is the purpose of this part to support the efforts of local educational agencies, Indian tribes and organizations, postsecondary institutions, and other entities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of American Indian and Alaska native students, so that they can meet the same challenging State student academic accomplishment â€¦ (2002, p.1907)
TITLE VIII- Impact and program: This title with section 8002 (h) (1) (20 U.S.C. 7702 (h) (1) ) was amended in subparagraph (A), and was eligible to receive a payment under section 2 of the Act of September 30, 1950â€¦ (2002, p.1947)
TITLE IX- General Provisions: This title was talking about average daily attendance-the aggregate number of days of attendance of all students during a school year; divided by the number of days school was in session during that yearâ€¦ (2002, p.1956)
TITLE X- Repeals, re-designations, and amendments to other statutes: The following provisions of law was revoked: Part G of title XV of the higher education amendments of 1992 (20 U. S. C. 1070a-11 note), relating to the advanced placement fee payment program â€¦ (2000, p.1986)
(No Child Left Behind of 2001) (Public Law 107-110, 2002) United States Statutes at Large Vol.115 p.1426-2025. Retrieved from www.2.ed.gov/legislation/esea02/107-110.pdf
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 allowed the federal government to have more participation in public education and to give assurance of the quality of education to all children in the United States. It approved state grants for innovative programs to meet the educational needs of all students, including at-risk youths and to develop and implement educational programs to improve school, student, and teacher performance as well as to provide professional development for educators and to reduce class size. Additional community service grants were available to develop programs for expelled or suspended students to provide the meaningful educational activities to occupy their time during their absence from regular school and to avoid negative behavior, which would affect their community (McGuinn, 2006). As the new measures held schools accountable for their students' progress, the role of high-stakes testing in American public education required annual assessment of students in grade three through eight in reading and mathematics. Implementation of supplemental educational services under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 assured additional academic instruction designed to increase the academic accomplishment of students in low-performing schools (Council for Exceptional Children, 2004).
Analyses of No Child Left Behind prescribed remedies' and recommendations
Frederick M. Hess and Chester E. Finn Jr. in 2006 organized a conference at American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. to allow scholars comment on the analyses of NCLB's prescribed remedies - choice and after school tutoring. The scholars agreed that choice was not working as less than one percent (1%) of California eligible students in failing schools requested to transfer to another school, and in Colorado less than two percent (2%) agreed to move.
In respect of after school tutoring overall only about twenty percent (20%) of eligible students got it, this was due to the location of most private organizations involved as they were unable to secure space in the public schools (Ravitch, 2010). Ravitch (2010) who was on a panel saddled with summing up of the lessons of the day stated that most of the remedies dictated by the U. S. Department of education are not effective as they lack record of success.
The legislative command that under NCLB all students in every school must be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014, including special needs students is unrealistic (Ravitch, 2010).
Some of their recommendations was that "The role of the federal government was to provide valid information and leave the solutions and sanctions to those who are closest to the main problems of individual schools" (Ravitch, 2010, p.101), also that schools should be allowed to work as families with the teachers sharing what works that allowed the schools to be successful.
Court Cases That Influenced African-American Education
Margo (1990) stated that the schools were racially "separate" but were not "equal." (p.68). He further stated that if major part of the separate-but-equal doctrine were followed the gaps in educational results between Blacks and Whites would have been minimal (p.68). Ransom and Sutch (1977) also agreed that if equal part of separate-but-equal had been enforced, the racial attendance gap would have been smaller (p.28).
Risen (1935) in the book titled "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950" asserted that an idea was raised for students to enroll in a nearby district schools, but this idea was challenged that if the schools were inaccessible with fewer pupils attending, then the idea of Black children traveling a long distance without bus benefit to attend good schools was not seen as necessarily violating the separate-but-equal order (p.73).
Welch (1974) in the book titled "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950" stated that the violations of separate-but-equal affected educational results rested majorly on indirect evidence and inherent plausibility.
Smith and Welch (1989) in the book titled "Race and Schooling in the South, 1880-1950" believed that separate-but-equal doctrine had significant effect on the differences in the earnings ratios of Blacks-t-whites.
Margo (1990) concluded that "If the equal part of separate-but-equal doctrine would have been enforced it would have reduced racial differences in school attendance; literacy rates, and test scores." (p.86)
Plessey v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138, 41 L. Ed. 256 (1896).
Plessy (P) attempted to sit in an all-White railroad car. After refusing to sit in the black railway carriage car, Plessy was arrested for violating an 1890 Louisiana statute that provided for segregated "separate but equal" railroad accommodations. Those using facilities not designated for their race were criminally liable under the statute.
At a trial with Justice John H. Ferguson (D) presiding, Plessy was found guilty on the grounds that the law was a reasonable exercise of the state's police powers based upon custom, usage, and tradition in the state. Plessy filed a petition f