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School of Education Renews Agenda on Black Male Access and Achievement


Photo by Justin D. Knight
Leslie Fenwick, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University School of Education, presents during a recent conference on Black Male achievement and access held on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON (April 24) – More than 200 Congressional representatives and educators from across the nation met Friday on Capitol Hill under the leadership of the Howard University School of Education, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Open Society Institute to find ways to bolster education and social outcomes for African American males.

“The School of Education must have a leading voice in the nation’s discourse about education. It is critically important that our faculty’s research informs and influences education funding and policy decision making, particularly as each affects Black, brown and poor children,” Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D., Dean of the Howard University School of Education,

The conference, “Breaking Barriers: A Brain Trust for Educational Policy Reform for School-age African American Males” highlighted the groundbreaking research of Ivory Toldson, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Education. During the three-hour forum, experts provided revisions to the No Child Left Behind Act and offered recommendations to the education funding provisions outlined in President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Shawn Dove, who manages the Open Society Institute’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement, said the ultimate goal of the conference was “to develop workable solutions to the challenges that confront Black men and boys.”

Various panelists offered solutions to what they perceive as pressing problems.

Derek Black, a professor at Howard University School of Law, said there needs to be a better distribution of funds for public education.

“We must revise the No Child Left Behind Act,” Black said. “Congress should not give any money to any state or school district before doing the necessary background research. The spending quotients are unfair.”

Black also insisted that the government invest more money into early childhood education.

“It’s harder to catch up,” he said. “A student in high school would have a harder time adjusting to new teaching methods and programs, as opposed to a child who has been receiving the proper education tools since kindergarten.”

Floyd Weatherspoon, a professor at Capital University Law School just outside Columbus, Ohio, cited the need for better academic tracking of black male students.

“Many schools are not keeping adequate track of these students’ performance,” Weatherspoon said. “Schools need staff specifically devoted to making sure that African American male students do not fall through the academic safety net.”

Other speakers maintained that black families must to be more involved in the lives of black male children and to have higher educational expectations for them. Additionally, government needs to be more supportive of parents, helping them hold the boys in their families to high standards, they said.

-- Aaron Coad from the Howard University News Service penned this report.

 

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