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

Part 3 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. **NAACP.org. Ford and Hayes (2012) believe that having a deep understanding of the issues that affect many African American males is imperative to providing early intervention outside of special education services. This is essential to eliminating barriers that impede learning and cause negative behaviors, possibly leading to incarceration. Barriers include:

    • Psychological, psychiatric issues, no social intervention for stress-induced symptoms such as depression, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders, oppositional behaviors, conduct disorders, substance abuse
    • Changes in social, economic, family and demographic factors
    • Unstable family life, low socio-economic standards, low parent or family involvement, bad peer groups, lack of everyday resources

In this three part series we raised points for discussion on the following: theories that explain how African American males are erroneously perceived, and some of the changes that schools and parents need to make in order to enable students to avoid future involvement in the penal system. 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!

About the authors: Dr. Tamika Thomas is the President/CEO and teacher at the Steps Of Faith Tutoring & Enrichment Center (SOFT& EC). With many years of experience, Dr. Thomas is also a general education teacher in a public school. Dr. Ella Macklin is the Program Developer/Evaluator and teacher at SOFT& EC. Dr. Macklin has many years as a special education services coordinator and teacher in a public school. She is also an education consultant.

References:
Emdin, C. (2017). For white folks who teach in the hood… and the rest of y’all too: Reality pedagogy and urban education (race, education, and democracy). Boston: Beacon Press.
Ford, G. & Hayes, C. (2012).Chasing the artificial rainbow: defining your moment – A platform for African American success. Washington. D.C.: Two Books, Inc.
Gay, G. (2001). An epistemological framework for analyzing student interactions in computer mediated communication environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 1, 129–137.
Kalyanpur, J., & Harry, B. (1999). Culture in special education: Building reciprocal family professional relationships. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Ladson-Billings, G. (1999). Preparing teachers for diverse student populations: A critical race theory perspective. Review of Research in Education, Vol. 24, pp. 211-247.

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