(MintPress) – A legislative inquiry in California found that when it comes to education, “place and race matter.” The final report is scheduled to be released to the public later this week, but some of its findings include that 1 out of 4 African-American boys fails in school because of poverty, trauma and the psychological belief that he is destined to fail. Not far behind African-American boys struggling in school were Latino males.
About 70 percent of California males under the age of 25 are ethnicities other than white, causing extreme concern since boys of color are failing at such high rates in school. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that by fourth grade, about 60 percent of black and Latino children score below proficient on reading tests, and by eighth grade, about 1 in 4 are chronically absent.
According to the report, “Where you live, to a large extent, determines whether you are exposed to hazardous pollutants and unhealthy food; whether you attend a good school or land a decent job with a livable wage; and whether you are likely to go to jail or die relatively young.”
But the concern for these men’s well-being doesn’t just end with their education or lack thereof. The committee assembled to investigate the status of boys and men of color found that without a proper education, the men are at a disadvantage of finding a good job and have to then depend on social programs for help.
Recommendations outlined in the report to keep minority males in school include expanding educational programs, reducing suspensions and expulsions, increasing access to college and career preparation and implementing programs for at-risk youth.
“We need to change our value system and recognize that investing in the most marginalized youth will yield the greatest economic returns for California,” said Assemblyman Sandré Swanson (D-Alameda), chairman of the committee.
Cited as an example of a school district that is taking the right steps to lessen minority males who drop out of school was Oakland Unified school district. The district already implemented many of the report’s recommendations and also has an Office of African-American Male Achievement, which offers a manhood development class for middle and high school males. As part of the manhood classes, students are paired with positive role models who not only encourage the young men to focus on their education, but offer guidance on little things as well, such as how to tie a tie.