- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear black parents, we have a problem. Excuses are getting in the way of our black boys becoming learned black men.

The Bible lays out our missive, but as parents, we’ve fallen into a trap, can’t seem to get up and have forgotten that a mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste. This, after being blessed with children.

We spend incredible amounts of energy and resources on abortion rights, gay rights, voting rights and the like, but we are relinquishing our rights to the most precious privilege of all.

Schools are for teaching and learning, but yet another study, this one released this week, proves that schools aren’t successfully executing either of those missions when it comes to black boys.

In short, a report by the Council of Great City Schools says the academic gap between white boys and black boys is wider than ever. You can read “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools” (www.cgcs.org) and continue making excuses for why our children aren’t learning.

Hunger. Homelessness. The family is poor.

Nobody in the family went to college. Mom and/or dad work at night. The family lives in a community overwhelmed by violence.

Domestic abuse. Substance abuse. Negligence.

The dog ate their homework.

Mama is sick, so the son had to stay home for two weeks. Give him a break; he’s in foster care. No baby daddy.

In other words, please excuse us and our children ‘cause we be black.

Get over it, black folks. We encourage blaming “the man,” thus setting up our kids up to fail, and the report reinforces that.

It’s no coincidence the word “Social” preceded “Educational” in title of the Council of Great City Schools report: Where a child comes from is as important as where a child is headed.

The new study, and others that have probed the achievement gap, do great work when it comes to defining the crisis. What’s missing is our sense of urgency to address it.

We distract ourselves with issues that have absolutely nothing to do with instilling a thirst for knowledge in our children, such as the news that two of America’s top school reformists, Michelle A. Rhee of Washington and Joel Klein of New York, are out of here.

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