Saturday, October 24, 2009

If "Black Male Dropout From High School Leads To Prison" Then How Should We Appraise The Consciousness That Drives Dropout Rates?


As I suspected - another report about the crisis condition facing young Black males in this nation. Just as with the "National Urban League's" annual report - the report is shepherded to the GOVERNMENT as calls are made for programs and money.

In truth the report needs to be summarized into a "one pager" and handed out to every:
  • Black Parent
  • Community Member
  • School Official
  • And Most Importantly - Every Young Black Male - seeking to find a pathway in this world
The key point that frustrates me when I read these type of reports is that the attempt is always to make it "AMERICA'S BURDEN". These people are cast as "America's discards", shunted off but still with us, needing to be addressed.

The key point that will not be brought to a head as it relates to the Black Community and the intransigence that is in place within is the need to MAKE A CHOICE!!

This is but a picture of what is the present state WITHIN our community. Despite having gain control over the operation of the schools, the political establishment in our cities, and the cultural priorities that ring throughout the masses of Black people - the finished product is not working to advance our permanent interests.

With the report as a strong rebuke of the status quo - those who seek to "Protect The Status Quo WITHIN The Black Community" will remain undeterred. Any demands from outsiders - real or perceived as being not a part of the "flock" will be rebuffed. The prevailing theory is best articulated by Cornel West - as I have highlighted in the sister blog "Within The Black Community". The people in question are "disadvantaged people", "the least of these", if you will. We should not be looking for them to change. It is the society around them that must be changed so that their lot in life will be improved.

With all due respect - I feel like I am talking about the role of the zookeeper in his job of taking care of the elephants, zebras and tortoises that I witness first hand a few weeks ago.

The key missing element as the hard facts that will be drawn from this report is the specific details about what the "Candidate for Dropout" must do to avoid reaching that fateful decision. Not just this individual but the entire community from which he receives the bulk of his understanding about the world.

  • Will the culture that preaches "fast money"- street knowledge without book knowledge needed to make it - be confronted as a negative contributing factor to these results? Reformed into something more conducive with our desired outcomes.
  • Will there be a stronger hand from the adults in the community - severing certain activities or interests that a Black male, absent adult supervision to guide him otherwise will cleave to by default? It is clear that these results are had not by some evil hand of an oppressor that is pushing the young Black male off of this cliff. Instead these results are evidence of a vacated seat of HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT that is sadly too often the rule in these places
The bottom line of it all is that the VALUATION for these improved outcomes among the young Black male cannot be expected to come so disproportionally from the greater society. The founding principle for this change must be that THESE YOUNG BLACK MALES ARE EQUAL. Traditionally the notion of equality has formed the basis of the demand for equal resources flowing their way. Thus society is asked to PROVE that they value these Black males as they do others, providing a needed hand up for the "disadvantaged".

I maintain that if there is not a two-phased commit with regard to the matter of EQUALITY - we will have a continued failure on our hands in due time. The EQUALITY of the young Black male must be brought forth in that he is shown all of the facts from the report and then expected to make the necessary changes by which HE SHOWS THAT HE VALUES these favorable outcomes.

Issues such as:
  • Time Value - where he consciously decides to fore go investment in time in one activity because another is more in line with the goals that he is conscious of
  • Material Worth - where he treats his ears and eyes as one would treat their stomachs - not allowing intake that is "high calorie but low nutrition" into his consciousness when it passes for entertainment (music, videos, hanging with the boys)
In summary - the proof of our people being in the midst of an emergency is expressed upon our own backs. Most certainly a house that is ablaze the conscious occupants are going act with a certain amount of desperation and clarity. They will only remove from the threat of the fire that which they value the most. I hope and pray that they will seek to remove all human life from the threat of combustion. If this human is in fact a "disadvantaged person" then indeed they should be lifted upon our backs.

My challenge to the establishment is that they be removed from the burning house called their "cultural reference". Not simply having a goal of "being lifted upon our backs" as proof of our Black consciousness.

Indeed the very culture that is producing these outcomes needs to be put on trial with only the "functional cultural" elements that are in line with our permanent interests as a people retained.

Those who reside exclusively in the "American Political Domain" must be disqualified from leading this effort. They will only always shape a response that if favorable to their own interests inside of that domain that is external to our "Community Cultural Consciousness".


(NNPA)--On any given day, nearly 23 percent of all young Black men ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school are in jail, prison, or a juvenile justice institution in America, according to a disturbing new national report on the dire economic and social consequences of not graduating from high school.

Dropouts become incarcerated at a shocking rate: 23 of every 100 young Black male dropouts were in jail on any given day in 2006-07 compared to only six to seven of every 100 Asian, Hispanic or white dropouts. While young Black men are disproportionately affected, the report, released Oct. 9, found that this crisis cuts across racial and ethnic lines. Male dropouts of all races were 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers of a similar age who had graduated from a four-year college or university.

The report was released by a coalition of leading national and regional education, advocacy, and social service groups. It is titled, ''Consequences of Dropping Out of High School:Joblessness and Jailing for High School

Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers - 22 percent Daily Jailing Rate for Young Black Men Who Drop Out of High School''. The report is available online at

Says Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, ''For too long, and in too many ways, young people across the country have been let down by the education system and by the adults responsible for their care and development. Now is the time to increase the investments we make in young people, enhance the content, opportunities and supports we provide, and empower them to make better choices about both their individual future and the future of our nation. This report is another important step towards those ends.''

Professor Andrew Sum, Center for Labor Market Studies (CLMS), Northeastern University in Boston was commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) in Chicago, to provide a detailed portrait of the employment, earnings and family income, incarceration and parenting experiences of dropouts, ages 16 to 24, compared to their better-educated peers. The report is based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau data from national Current Population Surveys and American Community Surveys in 2006-08.

''This timely and insightful report offers a critical account of the impact of dropouts on America's present and future. As America begins to consider the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB) and shapes the unprecedented investment in education by the Obama administration, we must remember to take careful and thoughtful account of what is at stake,'' said Jack Wuest, executive director of the ASN. ''These statistics overwhelmingly make the case for a national education strategy that focuses on re-enrolling these young adults back into school and training programs that can lead to well-paying careers.''

This new report builds upon the groundbreaking findings of ''Left Behind in America: The Nation's Dropout Crisis,'' released earlier this year, which disclosed that nearly 6.2 million largely Black and Hispanic youth have dropped out of high school and are living in America. This report, also released by the ASN in conjunction with other national education and civil rights organizations, documented the magnitude of America's dropout crisis.

''Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing'' outlines the extremely difficult circumstances that these young people ages 16 to 24 face after dropping out of high school, and demonstrates the high price paid by both these young adults, American taxpayers and our society as a whole. In addition to their sharply higher rates of incarceration, the report showed that these young adults face very bleak economic prospects, which will make it difficult for them to change course and finance future schooling and training.

''This new report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University presents a vivid portrait of the growing economic peril the nation faces if it fails to reverse the rising tide of high school dropouts. The Chicago Urban League strongly endorses this report, and its call to action.

High school dropouts face daunting obstacles that will bar them from entry into the labor market. The problem is most severe among African-American males, who earn less and have an incarceration rate three times that of Asians and nearly four times that of Hispanics. The study also makes clear that young people who return to school can reverse these trends. The study clearly illustrates the case for quick federal action, and the need for increased capacity on the part of state agencies, non-profits and social service outlets to stave off this crisis,'' said Herman Brewer, acting president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.

According to the report, dropouts experience high levels of joblessness and low weekly earnings:

--More than half - 54 percent - of the nation's dropout's ages 16 to 24 were jobless on an average month during 2008.

--Black dropouts experienced the highest jobless rate at 69 percent, followed by Asians at 57 percent and Whites at 54 percent. Hispanic dropouts had the lowest jobless rates at 47 percent, reflecting the higher employment rate of young Hispanic immigrants. In sharp contrast, only about 13 percent of young adults with a college degree were jobless on average in the same time period.

--40 percent of all young dropouts in the country were jobless for the entire year.

--Without a high school diploma, you cannot earn enough money to make ends meet and certainly not enough to reach the American dream of raising a family and buying a home. The mean annual earnings of the nation's young people with a bachelor's or advanced degree were $24,797 in 2007, three times higher than the mean earnings for dropouts of $8,358. These figures include workers with zero earnings.

--The limited earnings potential of dropouts mean many never leave their parents' or relatives' homes to form independent households. Nearly 37 of every 100 dropouts live in poor or near-poor families.

--Over $292,000 is the cost incurred by taxpayers for each dropout over their lifetime in terms of lost earnings and therefore lower taxes paid and higher spending for social costs including incarceration, health care, and welfare.

The report also states that dropouts are more likely to be single mothers.

It states that nearly 38 percent of young female dropouts ages 16 to 24 were mothers, the highest percentage compared to their peers still enrolled in high school or college or with high school or college degrees. Young high school dropouts were nearly nine times as likely to have become single mothers as their counterparts with undergraduate college degrees.

Wuest and other national leaders point out that such programs can be cost effective because the personal and public fiscal benefit more than outweighs the estimated cost of re-enrolling a student who has dropped out. Due to their low lifetime earnings, dropouts will contribute less in taxes than they will receive in cash benefits, in-kind transfers and correctional costs. By contrast, adults with high school diplomas and additional education contribute major fiscal benefits to the country over their lifetime.

Such programs also would help improve high school graduation rates, especially in the cities, which is a major goal outlined by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Needed to help fix the problem is a federal and state re-enrollment strategy that becomes a fundamental element of America's national education agenda in the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top program and reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind program.

To address this crisis, the proposed Hope & Opportunity Pathways through Education (HOPE USA) initiative seeks to re-enroll 480,000 dropouts every year.

A group of organizations has jointly proposed that HOPE USA become a $2 billion federal matching incentive grant program to spur state and local school districts to establish programs to re-enroll dropouts in comprehensive programs that would assist them in earning a high school diploma.

Proposing this program are the National Urban League; National Council of La Raza; Youth Build; the Corps Network; Los Angeles Conservation Corps; Soledad Enrichment Action, Los Angeles; Chicago Depart-ment of Family and Support Services; Illinois State Council on Re-Enrolling Students Who Dropped Out of School; the Chicago Urban League and the Alternative Schools Network.

The initiatives would be small schools - 80 to 150 students - and led by experienced principals and teachers. They would focus on real-world learning and include summer and after-school components and year-round employment programs.

Additional recommendations include:

--Emphasize and provide significant funding for re-enrollment of students who have dropped out of school as part of the Obama administration's Race to the Top initiative and the revised No Child Left Behind legislation.

--Expand year-round and summer employment for jobless youth with a $5 billion initiative.


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