Harvard economist Ron Ferguson says, if you want to understand why black male students lag behind white ones in our nation’s schools, you should ask them. A recent NPR story, “What Young Men of Color Can Teach Us About The Achievement Gap,” contains an interview with Ferguson in which he explains the findings of his latest report, Aiming Higher Together: Strategizing Better Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color.
Boys and young men of color often enter an education system where the deck is stacked against them. They come into kindergarten behind their peers, and gradually learn from peers that they are expected to behave and achieve differently from other students. Even teachers can reinforce lower expectations in terms of achievement and behavior. There are also conditions in homes and communities that attribute to both the preparedness level of boys entering school and the expectations for them as they grow.
Instead, says Ferguson, we should work to create a better person-environment fit between boys and young men of color and the schools they attend, and work to foster conditions in homes and communities that help enable rather than stifle boys and young men of color.
Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC (ACS) continues to highlight issues that boys and young men of color face on a daily basis. Visit our website to see other news posts about boys and young men of color, a case study about how ACS helped five communities strategically communicate and organize for action, and research about the 10 key elements for successful efforts to raise the bar for boys and young men of color.