Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected

Trip Gabriel, New York Times, November 9, 2010

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Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches.

{snip} The report, “A Call for Change,” is to be released Tuesday by the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy group for urban public schools.

{snip}

“There’s accumulating evidence that there are racial differences in what kids experience before the first day of kindergarten,” said Ronald Ferguson, director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard. “They have to do with a lot of sociological and historical forces. In order to address those, we have to be able to have conversations that people are unwilling to have.”

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[The report “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools,” issued by The Council of the Great City Schools, can be downloaded as a PDF file here.]

 

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