African American Males and the Education System by Dr. Tamika Thomas and Dr. Ella Macklin

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series- The Problem: There is a disproportionate number of African American males (*16%) placed in special education. *NCES 2019-2020 Another disproportionate statistic shows that African American males are incarcerated at a rate **5xs more than whites. The connection between this and insufficient early school instruction may be partially to blame. ** Negative societal and teacher attitudes towards African American male students have an impact on black male self-esteem and may ultimately set them on a path of criminal activity. More research must focus on attitudes that interfere with proper instruction for African American males. Research questions:

    • What are the internal influences in the classroom or school building affecting the perception of negative classroom behavior for African American males?
    • What are the external influences (outside the school) affecting

African American males that create the high percentage of African American males being referred for special education?
Research studies lead educators to suggest ways to teach African American male students that yield good academic and positive behavioral results. For example, educators might use…

    • Hands on Activities (Project Based Learning)
    • Guided Inquiry
    • Real Life Applications (Reality Pedagogy, Emdin, 2017)
    • Modeling
    • Incorporating Writing Across the Curriculum
    • Shared Emotional Space to address wounds and heal/promote validation of human emotions

…while keeping in mind Culturally Responsive Teaching practices (Gay, 2002). Most notably on the list of suggestions are ways to help African American male students process negative feelings that may transfer into unwanted behaviors in schools. Counselors recommend that black families:

    • Adopt values that are productive
    • Associate with situations that are violence free
    • Learn healthy ways to express feelings such as anger
    • Recognize actions or words that trigger anger
    • Seek professional help to resolve issues
    • Humanistic perspective such as self-actualization, health, love, hope, creativity, individuality, and nature

We welcome your questions and comments to engage in a dialogue about how together, we can better support African American male students and their families!