A teacher, a parent and a sullen student were talking in the main office. The teacher was showing the “late” book to the parent, the student was late almost every day to the first period Global Studies Regents prep class. The parent, in work clothes was telling his son that if he was late to his job he would lose pay. The student couldn’t care less, “Yah, yah, yah, can I leave now?”
This black male was more interested in Dead Prez’s They School lyrics or Boston Celtic star Paul Pierce making gang signs to an opponent.
The Afro-American male is an endangered species. As Bob Herbert writes about the joblessness rates for black male dropouts.
For dropouts, the rates of joblessness are staggering. For black males who left high school without a diploma, the real jobless rate at various times over the past few years has ranged from 59 percent to a breathtaking 72 percent.
And joblessness leads to staggering incarceration rates, in spite of more than a decade of a burgeoning economy.
Incarceration rates climbed in the 1990’s and reached historic highs in the past few years. In 1995, 16 percent of black men in their 20’s who did not attend college were in jail or prison; by 2004, 21 percent were incarcerated. By their mid-30’s, 6 in 10 black men who had dropped out of school had spent time in prison.
What has the Klein administration done to address this crisis?
Joel Klein will be speaking next week at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, he hails his accomplishments as
During Klein’s tenure, the district has started dozens of small high schools, worked aggressively to remove ineffective teachers, created an autonomy zone for high-performing schools, reworked problematic collective bargaining provisions to promote teacher performance pay, instituted an A through F grading system for every school, encouraged the formation of charter schools, and overhauled the department’s human resources and information technology systems.
He appears prouder of fighting teachers and their union than helping a disappearing species, black males.
The chancellor’s stock speech avers, “Education is a Civil right” and sees his administration as the continuation of Brown v. Board of Education … he hallucinates.
As a litigator he sees every struggle as a monumental take no prisoners battle … he fought Microsoft, won a Pyrrhic victory, and fled. He sees the teachers union as the next Microsoft, the giant to be slain. His public relations acolytes keep secret files on critics, who he sees as enemies. Every press release spins the achievements of Tweed, no matter the reality. Union activists who criticize a principal are sent to the gulag – the star chamber is back!
The Klein administration invented a budget cut war: creating a crisis to impose his will on the school system. For the next two weeks parents, school advocates, teachers, their union and elected officials will jousting over the same old issue: should a chancellor have unrestrained powers to do as he pleases? no checks and balances? The battle is being fought in the thinks tanks, on the blogs, and, in the streets.
The crisis of the disappearing black male teenager will just have to wait.