Symposium Focuses on Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success
Group faces “toxic cocktail of poverty, illiteracy, racial disparities, violence, massive incarceration and family breakdown.”
- Tom Ewing
- Patti Hassler
- Tom Ewing
Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2011) —
The nation's leading educators, researchers and policy experts gathered in Washington, D.C., today for an achievement gap symposium focused on the crisis facing the 3.5 million Black boys under the age of 9 years, as well as to highlight smaller-scale programs that are having an impact.
Sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) the symposium, A Strong Start: Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success, addressed the daunting achievement gap that many experts believe is too big to solve. Both organizations, and many attendees, believe that if more targeted efforts are undertaken, specifically on the education and development of 3.5 million Black boys under the age of 9 years, it may be possible to write a different story.
One of the successful intervention efforts highlighted at the symposium was the CDF Freedom Schools®program that provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning.
In keeping with the approach of targeted interventions, ETS announced their support for the creation of a CDF Freedom School with a grant to Communities In Schools of New Jersey (CISNJ). The $77,000 grant will underwrite a unique program designed specifically for Black boys ages 3 to8, living in Newark, N. J.
"This Freedom School will make a difference in the lives of young Black boys by surrounding them with a dynamic network of Black male teachers, leaders and mentors trained to engage them in a proven summer enrichment model," explains Gwendolyn Corrin, President and State Director of Communities In School of New Jersey. "It supports children and families around five essential components: high-quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; social action and civic engagement; intergenerational servant leadership development; and nutrition and mental health. We greatly appreciate ETS's support."
"The toxic cocktail of poverty, illiteracy, racial disparities, violence, massive incarceration and family breakdown is sentencing millions of children to dead end and hopeless lives and threatens to undermine the past half century of racial and social progress," says Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children's Defense Fund."These ingredients ultimately combine to produce striking gaps in educational success, life expectancy and other important outcomes. We believe there are ways to avoid these outcomes."
"Improving the conditions in which children are nurtured, grow up, attend school, and live can provide a stronger start for educational success," says Michael T. Nettles, Senior Vice President of ETS's Policy Evaluation and Research Center. "This symposium of educators, leaders, advocates and community organizations will help lay the groundwork for replacing the cradle to prison pipelinewith a pipeline to college, work and a productive life for Black boys."
Experts at the symposium addressed issues such as:
- focusing attention on the challenges, needs and opportunities facing young Black boys within the larger picture of Black male achievement
- illuminating the connections between early cognitive and social/emotional development and later readiness for success in school
- examining the role of a high-quality, seamless PreK–3rd grade continuum of education in supporting Black male achievement
- identifying promising, realistic policies and strategies to affect the path of the 3.5 million Black males under the age of 9 years
At nonprofit ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education, as well as conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series™ assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org
About the CDF
The Children's Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations. www.childrensdefense.org