Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Low as American public school standards are, they are still a huge challenge for black youth. There are more black males in prison than in college

As program coordinator at the Indiana OIC State Council, Tawnya McCrary has worked with dozens of black male dropouts from Indianapolis Public Schools. But she didn't realize suburban township schools also were mired in a black male dropout crisis until she and her husband moved their son out of Northwest High to Pike High School. By the time Michael Harrison left Pike after his junior year, he was still 21 credits shy of graduation. He witnessed almost a fight a day at the school. His own class-clown antics hurt his academic progress. He and his mother also objected to faculty members' attitudes toward black students. Although Harrison thought "it would be almost impossible" to stay in school, he did eventually graduate, after transferring to North Central High School in Washington Township.

Hundreds of other black males in township high schools, however, are dropping out. An analysis of graduation data by Johns Hopkins researcher Robert Balfanz for The Star Editorial Board reveals that high schools in four Marion County township districts are as much dropout factories -- graduating less than 50 percent of black males -- as those in IPS.

* Just 31 percent, or one of every three, black males who entered Perry Township's Southport and Perry Meridian high schools as freshmen in 1998 graduated four years later. Only IPS, with one in four black males in its original class of 2002 earning a diploma, performed worse.

* Only 61 of the 143 black males who entered Warren Central High School in 1998 graduated in 2002. Six of every 10 black male freshmen dropped out.

* Only 41 percent of black male freshmen entering Franklin Central High School in 1998 graduated in four years.

* Pike Township's black male graduation rate was 49 percent in 2002.

Black males fare better in districts such as Washington Township, until recently run by new IPS Superintendent Eugene White. Yet, even there gaps persist. Three of every 10 black males entering North Central High School in 1998 eventually dropped out. Just one in 10 white males failed to graduate on time.

Franklin Central Principal Kevin Koers can rattle off all he has done to improve the school's black male promotion power rating (an index developed by John Hopkins researchers to track students' progression) of 52 percent. The school has offered cultural sensitivity training for teachers; kept students who didn't finish homework after school to complete it; and encouraged black males to become leaders in community service activities such as a charity basketball tournament. Yet former students such as Chris Carter say teachers "just try to teach what their lesson books say and get out of there." [Who can blame them? Standing up in front of an unruly mob every day must be very draining] Which is one reason Carter says he decided to quit school this year.

The suburban problem in graduating black males is reflective of overall national and state achievement gaps. A mere 38 percent of black males graduated from Indiana's high schools in 2002; just 42 percent of America's black males in the class of 2002 earned diplomas. Boys of all races tend to graduate at lower rates than girls. Yet black males bear the heaviest toll for dropping out. About 37 percent of black male dropouts will likely land in prison, according to Princeton University Professor Bruce Western; it's one reason why only 603,000 black males were attending college while nearly 800,000 were serving prison time in 2000.

The woes of urban districts have attracted considerable attention from researchers, political leaders and the news media. But Schott Foundation researcher Michael Holzman, whose report on black male graduation rates identified IPS as the fifth-worst in the nation, has found that suburban schools nationwide are "not doing much better by and large."

One reason is poverty. Perry Township Superintendent H. Douglas Williams notes that the district pulls students from the same poor Southside neighborhoods as IPS' Manual High, the worst-performing high school in the state. Many of Perry's black students come from Martindale-Brightwood, one of the city's most poverty-stricken areas.

Cultural differences also keep students and educators from connecting, a problem Marion County schools have been wrangling with ever since the 1971 court-ordered desegregation plan brought more blacks into suburbia starting in 1981. Ten years ago, the Indianapolis Commission on African-American Males found that suspensions of black males in township districts -- a contributor to dropping out -- were disproportionately higher than for other groups, according to Director Lyman Rhodes.

Population growth in the suburbs is continuing to bring more diversity. Franklin Central's enrollment has increased 45 percent -- from 1,450 to 2,100 -- since Koers took over the school five years ago. The district was once almost exclusively rural and white. Now, blacks make up 14 percent of Franklin Central's enrollment.

Suburban schools can begin to find solutions to the black male dropout crisis in the work of the Cheltenham School District near Philadelphia. Cheltenham Superintendent Christopher McGinley says districts tend to "work around the edges" of the achievement gap. But a complete overall is needed. Cheltenham, which is 38 percent black, began transforming itself four years ago. One step involved better communicating to black parents what courses students need to take to get into college. A sign of progress: The number of black students in Advanced Placement classes has doubled in the past three years.

Help also can come from the grass roots. In Minneapolis, hospital administrator Gary Cunningham and others increased community involvement in the schools and raised awareness about the black male achievement gap. Parents also must be involved. McCrary helped put her son back on the path to graduation by making sure he took night and online classes, along with his normal courses at North Central, to regain lost ground. The tragedy of black men dropping out of school -- and into prison and poverty -- carries a high price for all Hoosiers, whether they live in the suburbs, on farms or in cities. Confronting that tragedy is essential to preserving Indianapolis' -- and Indiana's -- economic destiny.



A coalition of far-Left organizations that includes avowed "revolutionary communists," Islamists, marriage-abolitionists, and cop-killer advocates has launched a crusade against the U.S. military - and San Francisco school children could get caught in the crossfire. An organization known as "College Not Combat" seeks to place a resolution before Bay City voters on the November ballot, declaring "that the people of San Francisco oppose U.S. military recruiters using public school, college and university facilities to recruit young people into the armed forces." The non-binding measure would encourage the city's high schools to deny military recruiters access to their student directories, from which recruiters attempt to find new volunteers. Such an action, undertaken in the name of "the children," would constitute a violation of section 9528 of the "No Child Left Behind" Act and could end up denying the offending schools access to government funds.

The group submitted petitions containing more than15,000 signatures to the Department of Elections on Monday, nearly 5,000 more than needed. If enough signatures are validated, the measure will be placed before voters. In part, the draft declares:

"a de facto "economic draft" forces tens of thousands of low and middle-income students to join the military in order to get money to go to college or get job or technical training. the Federal government shows no sign of ending the occupation of Iraq or bringing the troops safely home and, in fact, is threatening military action against other nations... San Francisco should oppose the military's "economic draft" by investigating means by which to fund and grant scholarships for college and job training to low-income students so they are not economically compelled to join the military!

The measure's wording reflects its constituents' radical socialist orientation. The organizations that have endorsed this proposition represent a veritable Who's Who of the Unholy Alliance.....

Joining this motley crew of leftist extremists are two chapters of the American Federation of Teachers: AFT Local 61 and AFT Local 2121. What is a coalition of educators doing joining hands with radicals whose advice would lead to the firing of several of its members? Why would any organization that puts the interests of its students first support a measure that would deny them funding and the right to an adequate public education? The San Francisco Unified School District shut military recruiters out of its schools for years before the "No Child Left Behind" Act deprived federal funds to schools that do so - a troubling sign that these teachers place political activism before education. It is their children who may pay up if their activism pays off.

The movement to oppose military recruitment is nothing new, even at the high school level. Earlier this year, the Parent Teacher Student Association at Seattle's Garfield High School passed a resolution calling on the school district to block recruiters. PTSA president and University of Washington professor Amy Hagopian explained, "We can't physically stop [military recruiters], and we can't legally stop them, but we can stand at the doors and explain that they're not welcome." (Remember, one must never question the fact that the Left supports the troops.)

However, the "counter-recruitment" movement has had its greatest success on college campuses -often earned through violence and physical intimidation. On March 9, some 20 protestors, barred from holding a rally at the City College of New York (part of CUNY), entered a job fair under false pretenses and began shouting at military recruiters. Three students and a CCNY secretary then attempted to brutalize the college's guards. CCNY President Gregory Williams, who is assuredly no conservative, classified their actions as "physical assault." After the university suspended the quartet, the International Socialist Organization, United for Peace and Justice, the NY chapter of the ACLU, and Professional Staff Congress (CUNY's far-Left professional union) protested on their behalf - many of the same organizations spearheading the San Francisco measure.

At Chicago's Northeastern Illinois University, protestors physically prevented the military from speaking to interested students. Protestors have harried recruiters out of Seattle Central Community College and San Francisco State University, Southern Connecticut State University, and numerous other institutions.

In the Ivy League, physical disruption has sometimes given way to politically correct legal maneuvers. Yale Law School successfully sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to bar military recruiters from campus, because the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy violates the Ivy League school's "non-discrimination" policy. A U.S. District Court ruled in favor of Yale, despite the fact that the Solomon Amendment cuts off federal funding to any college that closes its doors to the U.S. Armed Forces.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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