Students of Color and the Achievement Gap
Eliminating the achievement gap for students of color has been a priority at both the federal and state levels. Issues of cultural relevance, rigor, and belonging are just a few that educators must consider when creating and implementing lessons. On this page you will find an ever-growing archive of articles, tools, and resources focused on effectively teaching these students.
As educators, we often associate hip-hop with sex, violence, and the destruction of the potential of black youth. Many would be surprised to know that hip-hop was created by students in reaction to school budget cuts.
Budget cuts of the 1970s in art, dance, and music programs in New York Public School Districts prompted students to use whatever spaces and tools they could find to express their creativity. Subway trains, buildings, and walls along the streets became canvases for graffiti art. Cardboard boxes were flattened into portable dance floors to practice breakdancing. When they were kicked out of one place, they moved on to the next. Old turntables were re-interpreted as musical instruments as DJ-ing gained popularity, and students looked for an artistic outlet through the spoken words of rap.
To close the achievement gap for African-American males we have to understand where children come from and that parents are their child’s ‘first teacher,’ or so claims MSU distinguished professor and author, Dr. Patricia Edwards in this episode of Prolepsis. As Edwards points out, schools can’t do it alone and parents can’t do it alone; it takes strong family-school partnerships to foster students’ success. She emphasizes the critical role of parents and the value of developing parent involvement programs to support and promote collaborative partnerships with their families.
Starting in Issue 3, I will be launching the first video interview of Prolepsis. These monthly interviews, shot in a talk show style format, will use an approach where the future is dealt with as if it were occurring today (Smyth, 1920). Prolepsis will ask three questions:
- The year is 2020 and the achievement gap is closed, what does the classroom look like in regards to African American males?
- What did it take to get us here?
- What lessons did we learn from the past?