A National Public Radio story reports in its story “How Can We Boost Black Male School Performance?” on the nagging statistics that remind us how poorly African-American boys are performing in school.  The familiar refrain continues:  Only 12% of the nation’s black fourth grade boys were proficient in reading on the National Assessment for Educational Progress test (40% of white fourth grade boys scored proficient in reading); they are two times more likely to drop out of school; and they typically score 100 points lower on the SAT reading tests

On the other hand, the NPR report points to a recent post from guest blogger, Yvette Jackson, about a different approach that schools might consider in helping black males to perform better.  Jackson, who is CEO of the National Urban Alliance and a former administrator for New York City schools, suggests that black boys might perform better if they are taught by using the same teaching protocols that are used for gifted students because the focus moves from remediating weaknesses to developing their strengths.  Specifically, she suggests:

  • Determining the boys’ strengths through surveys, conversations, and professional development
  • Making the learning meaningful and relevant by making cultural connections and improving teacher-student relationships
  • Enabling the students to be more active in their own education by letting them participate in the teachers’ professional development