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'Racial Education Gap' widens even further today

Harvard University
Harvard University
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

As a collective group, Blacks’ view, thought, and opinion of how to deal with the education industry is simply to add more Blacks- simply put. But for many (and this includes Black individuals), whether directly or indirectly involved with education, it’s just not that simple- and there are more complex attributes at stake that are playing a role in the influence of the direction of education. There’s more than what meets the eye, but depending on which group you speak to ‘the solution(s)’ vary.

Many people, including researchers, blame policymakers. They say, “the Black-White education achievement gap has worsened by unresponsive state policymakers.” How long did it take them to realize this mess!? But in actuality, policymakers are only part to blame- the issues revolve around policymakers and reform, the teachers to the students, law and implementation of an updated education system, and families are to blame. Teachers know all too well about how many absent parent(s) or legal guardian(s) are missing from parent-teacher conferences, what “types” of lackadaisical and poor attitudes towards their child’s poor performance, and how ugly many parents become at these parent-teacher conferences in reaction to hearing of their child’s poor performance and not showing any sign of improving their child’s awful behavior or scholastic performance. It’s so bad that a common theme has been for over 19 years now, from teachers across the nation, that parents’ attitude plays a significant role in the advancement of the children.

Of course there have always been a great number of Black parents who care and deeply involved in the success of their child’s education and overall success, but all elements of the situation must and should be shown. So, you may relay the message to the stupid and ill-informed but unfortunately just informing these types isn’t enough and we may never see big improvements unless it derives innately from the student. There’s been many cases where the students are victimized due to this type of household and do succeed upon their own will, knowledge and sense, but it’s quite unfortunate a child has to parent their own self and this does occur in many households. This situation is certainly not to be mistaken for solely just one racial or ethnic group, because this happens to many American households around the country regardless of race or ethnicity. Other factors that households are facing are the single-parent household, although some single-parent homes have major family support, not all households with a single parent head have that option. A household with a man and woman have terrible children, so you mean to tell us that a single-parent household won’t go through the windmill with the complexity of balancing their life in addition to their child’s? A bit unrealistic wouldn’t you say, but in actuality typically children from single-parent homes carry on much more responsibilities due to picking up the slack that a single-parent is left with. We then could get into households (regardless of race and ethnicity) with 400 children and the eldest of them all being a co-parent, and how this might affect the oldest children’s educational success- so there are many clues as to how family plays a role in our student’s education.

Much advice pushed onto the National Association of Black Journalists is to cover the stories of change agents, families and students who’re the principle actors and recipients of education reform, along with Black educators. But what Black journalists should be pushing as well is the dilemma of that over the past three decades the Black employed workforce has decreased drastically. Starting in 1979 there was only 10.4 percent of Blacks that had a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Fast forward to the year 2011, and you had more than 26.2 percent of Blacks having college education. Over that same time period Blacks without a high school diploma actually decreased from almost 31.6 percent to just about 5.3 percent. Although that seems to be good news, economic and policy researchers suggest the Black workforce has also grown considerably older, and in 1979 the median employed Black employee was 33 years old, whereas today the median age is 39. Economists expect the increases in education and work experience will increase employee productivity which should translate into higher compensation. But with lack of so-called good jobs that pay at least $20 per hour that include the 2011 inflation-adjusted dollar, and less and less employer-sponsored retirement plans the future doesn’t look promising. Of course facing a bleak future is nothing for American Blacks to conquer, and surely this won’t be the end of their story. But what Black Americans should be focused on is the trend and policies that have a huge positive or negative impact on the quality for the Black workforce.