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Black Males in Education

As a third generation teacher I wanted to encourage, inspire, empower, bless and provide confidence to my brother educators.

 

Education as a whole needs more certified male teachers to be positive role models, but the need for Black Males in education is important. This is not to say other cultures are not effective educators, but from my personal  experiences, the influences of Black male teachers in my life; the cultural awareness, relevance to life experiences and need to see a face that is my color was important to me and others growing up in an urban setting.

 

It provided a sense of stability, encouraged self worth and even though my father was not a part of my life other men stepped up and took upon the roles as father, mentor and educator. Even though all my friends had fathers in their homes and I did not I’m as successful as them because of the influence and support of other Black males.

 

Black Males in Education * Understand the importance, value and need of education to be successful in American society. They know education is the key to economic stability.

 

BME * Take responsibility for helping young Black boys and young Black girls to grow into mature and responsible Black adults.

 

BME * Understand the challenges of being Black and male in American society and try to share their positive experiences with Black children that are not their own. To help them value education, hard work and teach morals and values.

 

BME * Understand that they will be viewed as Black first above their degrees, salaries, cars, and clothes so must display professionalism and confidence at all times.

 

BME * Understand they may be the only positive Black male role model in a young Black males and females life. They must try to inspire, motivate, and educate at all times.

 

BME  * Understand that they are always under a microscope by parents, administrators and society so must always conduct themselves professionally.

 

BME * Understand they make sacrifices choosing education as a career choice. They do it for the love of children and the opportunity to be a positive influence in society.

 

BME * Understand they are sometimes viewed as the Custodian, Athletic Coach, Yard Person, Bus Driver or Cafeteria Worker, but no matter someone else’s perception they are still positive forces in the education of youth.

 

BME  * Understand their responsibility for their families, but sometimes must put others before themselves and their families. Sometimes they sacrifice to save another life outside of their family or bring others into their family.

 

BME * Understand that they are not Superman and cannot save every child no matter how hard they try. They still try their best to make a difference for all children.

 

BME * Do not always get the emotional, spiritual and mental support they need when working with children in school and the community, but they press forward and do important work.

 

BME  * Are sometimes viewed as arrogant, cocky, indifferent, and thuggish when in fact they emanate intelligence, creativity, drive, accountability, spirituality, discipline and strength of mind and will.

 

These attributes and more are the strengths that Black male teachers display in their classrooms schools and communities. C. G. Woodson (Mis-Education of the Negro)

 

“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.

 

BME * Understand when they show caring, peacefulness, love, empathy, and sympathy they maybe viewed as soft, gay, unintelligent, incompetent and unprofessional. They are smart enough to know when to be tough with kids and when to show compassion.

 

BME * Understand that they have a responsibility to be the best they can be every day because they know someone is always watching and judging them.

 

Written in the Education of the Negro, by C.G. Woodson, “almost every Colored person who could read and write was a missionary teacher among his people.”

 

What has happened to the Black community today when our schools are threatened with closure, sanctions and state intentions.

 

BOOF Male ScholarBlack Male Teachers though few in number carry a power and influence that can raise the potential of Black male and female students. Sometimes it is just the presence of a teacher that inspires. I’m proud to be a Black Male Teacher because I know who I’ am, how important I ‘am, how important I’ am to my students, my peers, and my community. I’m not ashamed to say I love my students for their talents, abilities and potential to make the world a better place.

 

Society should not feel threatened by Black Male Teachers intellectualism, should not be apprehensive about Black Male Teachers articulation, and not scared of Black Male Teachers dedication to being a Black Male Teacher. Society should encourage male teachers, praise them, pray for them, and support them. Black male teachers show society not all Black men are thuggish, undisciplined, irresponsible, lazy and uneducated.

We have a responsibility to our families, our communities, our churches and our children.

 

Malcolm X stated “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

 

Staff Writer; William D. Jackson

 

With You When You’re Right: The Anti-Deficit View of Black Male Achievement

Whenever my father passionately agrees with something he shouts, “I’m with you when you’re right!” After reading the recent report by Shaun R. Harper, Director of ATM Titusthe University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education titled Black Male Student Success in Higher Education, I’ve come to see a deeper meaning in my father’s catch-phrase. The report examines Black male college success in an effort to learn what works, what’s right, and to then replicate those factors more broadly. Harper calls this an anti-deficit approach. I call it a change in focus that is long overdue.

 

Educators love to debate about whether targeted interventions can help at-risk populations, or if factors like poverty and being raised in a single parent household are too powerful to be overcome by schools alone. Some believe there is little to nothing that schools (K-12 as well as colleges) can do to prevent one third of Black men born this decade from spending time in prison; or to keep half of them from dropping-out of high school; or even to address that fact that just one in forty Black males will earn a bachelor’s degree by the time they are twenty-five.

 

This view, however, is wrong. There is much and more that schools and colleges can do to boost high-school and college achievement levels for Black males, and we can start by changing our focus. When we speak solely of deficit-model statistics, we risk flattening the landscape and obscuring the successes of students who are able to achieve in spite of all of the obstacles facing Black males. We also risk perpetuating systems of inequality by turning observation into expectation. Ultimately, our conception about what it means to be a young Black male doesn’t just limit our focus, it can limit that of our students as well. The innovation of Harper’s research has been to turn this data upside down and, instead of asking what’s wrong with the students who are failing, to ask what’s right with the Black males who see success. According to many of the subjects of Harper’s study, it was the first time anyone had bothered.

 

In interviewing 219 Black male “achievers” who were either attending or had graduated from college, Harper found the most common thread was that successful Black males are supported, both within their families and in their schools/communities, with relationships characterized by high expectations. Successful Black males often spoke of at least one extremely influential teacher who helped instill belief in their potential, whether or not the young men believed it themselves. These individuals, writes Harper, helped students seek out “educational resources to ensure their success — tutoring and academic support programs, college preparatory initiatives, and summer academies and camps.” According to Harper’s study, these commitments to education were solidified in high school and college when Black males joined student organizations — particularly when they took on leadership roles — that anchored them to academic communities.

 

ATM BOOF GroupThe idea that strong relationships impact student success shouldn’t be anything new to educators. But the implication — that race, background and gender are not destiny, and that focused interventions produce tangible results — is enormous. Specifically, by taking an anti-deficit approach, we light the way towards discovering and implementing educational interventions targeted to meet the specific needs of Black male students. When the dominant presentation of Black males shows them dropping out of school and spending time in prison, students who might already be unsure of their place within an educational environment feel further pressure to follow the expectation and disengage. This isn’t to say that we should ignore or sugar-coat the issues facing Black males today. But instead of fixating on these negative factors, we should balance them by holding up as examples young people who have successfully completed their education and earned degrees.

 

Perhaps the most remarkable finding in Harper’s report is that the majority of the Black male graduates he interviewed stated that the biggest factor separating them from peers who didn’t make it through college was serendipity. In other words, the achievers didn’t view themselves as smarter, more persistent, harder working, or more economically advantaged than their friends back on the block. The achievers felt they were just lucky. Lucky to have people in their lives who were with them when they were right. Everyone should be so lucky. And, with the right kinds of schools, everyone can be.

 

“Those who criticize our generation forget who raised it” ~ Unknown

 

The Rites of Passage: From Boys to Men

 

The Rites of passage in many cultures denotes the entry into adulthood by teens. For many cultures, the rites of passage is ATM 100normally limited to that of the male’s official entry into manhood and him being given due respect to be treated as a man of responsibility. But in America there are very few rites of passage left or even observed since most our young teenagers are exposed to and do things that in past times were only reserved for this(rites of passage) special occasion. So now, because of the lack of male figures in the home for most boys, the young teenagers have to create their own rites of passage to mark their transition from childhood into adulthood. This is a very interesting dilemma because modern society has removed the majority of the positive traditional rites of passage and left our young male teenagers unable to mark a specific time for celebration, commemoration, or show that they have become men, of enlightenment.

 

A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person’s transition from one status to another. The rite of passage also explores and describes various notable mile stones in an individual’s life. In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a people or person to neutralize or prevent anxiety. So the rites of passage ceremonies, from boys to men are imperative, but one of the key components is to have honorable men initiate the passage. Now there are many different passages in our lives, if we choose to mark and celebrate them. The ideal goal is to design the rites of passage experiences to assure that initiates (young male teenagers) come out of the experience with a new and empowering start that helps them take responsibility for the decisions that set the course of their future lives.

 

095To also help initiates create the story of who they are and the kind of life they want to build based within the exploration of their own personal values. The rites of passage should also help them find the story that connects them to their community. Hopefully through this self-exploration initiates emerge with a stronger sense of personal responsibility to all aspects of their lives and begin reaching out to the larger world of which all living things are a part of. In this way both the community and the initiates benefit from rites of passage. An intentional rites of passage experience provides the space for the community to transmit its core values and confer the role responsibilities appropriate to the initiate’s stage of life, thus insuring cultural continuity, a sort of knitting or bringing together of the generations.

 

What are some of the reasons for this boy to men initiation? Well, the main purpose of the boys to men initiation function is to reveal the deep meaning of existence to the new male generation and to help them assume the responsibility of being truly men and hence their role of participating in that cultural life. Many of the most important and common rites of passage are connected with the biological changes (crises) of the young male teenager, or milestones, of life-birth, maturity, reproduction and death- that bring changes in social status and therefore, in the social relationship of the people in that community.

 

Rites of passage are universal, and presumptive evidence from archaeology (in the form of burial findings) strongly suggests that they go back to very early times. ATM Boyz Rock (9)Passage rites and other events have in the past been the primary socially approved means of participating in pleasurable activities, and has been a primary vehicle for art, music, song, dance, and other forms of aesthetic experience. The worldwide observance of these rites long ago attracted the attention of scholars, but the first substantial interpretation of them as a class of phenomena was presented in 1909 by the French Anthropologist and Folklorist Arnold van Gennep, who coined the phrase “rites of passage.” From its beginning, the study of rites of passage has attempted to account for similarities and differences between the rites of different societies. The similarities are striking and most certainly reflect the close similarity in ways of human thought.