A critical gap
This month those dreams were challenged with the release of data showing that suburban black children, even in prosperous communities like Owings Mills, were failing state-mandated high school exams at a rate far greater than their white classmates...
White students at Glen Burnie and Dundalk high schools also didn't do well on Maryland's High School Assessments. And it is easy to point out four or five majority-black city high schools where students are excelling.
But on every test given widely in public schools in Maryland, black children as a group score far below their white peers -- from the Maryland School Assessments taken in the third grade to the High School Assessments, Advanced Placement exams and SATs.
And this gap does not disappear depending on where students live and how much their parents earn. African-American children are scoring worse as a whole, whether they are at a poorly performing inner-city school or a top suburban high school such as Dulaney in Baltimore County, Severna Park in Anne Arundel or Atholton in Howard County. African-American students in those schools do better on the tests than African-Americans in poorly performing schools, but their pass rate is still below other students at their school.
The gaps in performance between white and black students are significant. In general, they range from 15 to 30 percentage points, depending on the test and the grade.
This article should be a wake up call to all the Cosby haters out there. Back in July or 2004 I posted a piece entitled Of Bantus and Bill in which we find:
at Mission Vista one Friday, Ms. Osman's son, Abdullahi Osman, 15, sat at home at the dining table, homework assignments and an English-Somali dictionary in his lap...Until I finish my education, I don't want to do anything else," said Abdullahi, who dreams of becoming a doctor. He said that books were his most valued possessions, though he checks them out of the public library.In this recent Baltimore Sun piece we find:
...Hamadi, who goes to school and helps his brother at his job at a Boston Market restaurant, said of his new life, "I don't have time for watching TV"
But the income distinctions do not explain why middle-class black students aren't doing better...Is Hrabowski out of line with the TV comment? Well I pointed out back in May of 2004 that:
He says he wishes more parents would turn off the television set and get children away from their computer games. Too often children don't understand how much hard work and discipline is required to become successful academically, Hrabowski said.
After having this discussion I took a gander at The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (no 24, Spring 2004) where I stumbled across an article attempting to discuss the general low-scores of blacks on the SAT. Among the 14 points discussed ETS, two immediatlty jumped out at me:So it is already established that far greater numbers of black children have full time jobs watching television. Are we then not surprised that we are seeing this persistent gap in achievement? And if we take into account that a good number of parents allow their children to take in videos of people who entertain with the same low vocabulary count as said 4th graders, you have a recipe for disasterous academic performance.
12) Reading to Young Children: Almost two thirds of all white children ages three to five are read to every day. Only 48 percent of black children in this age group are read to daily.
13) Television Watching: In black households, 42 percent of fourth-graders watch six or more hours of televisions each day. Only 13 percent of white fourth-graders watch six or more hours of television each day.
I will agree with the area of the article that discusses the tracking of black students into non AP courses. However, it is incumbent on parents to address these things. I got into AP classes because my mother insisted that I be put in there and then she rode my butt to make sure I kept the grades up.
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