ArticleRead&Respond_Pedro Article.docx

ArticleRead&Respond_Pedro Article.docx - Introdu ction...

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Introdu ction All of the most important quality of life indicators suggest that African American males are in deep trouble. They lead the nation in homicides, both as victims and perpetrato rs (1) and in what observers regard as an alarming trend, they now have the fastest growing rate for suicide. (2) For the last several years Black males have been contractin g HIV and AIDS at a faster rate than any other segment of the population (3) and their incarcerati
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on, conviction and arrest rates have been at the top of the charts in most states for some time. (4) Even as babies, Black males have the highest probability of dying in the first year of life (5) , and as they grow older they face the unfortunat e reality of being the only group in the United States experienci ng a decline in life expectanc y. (6) In the labor market they are the least likely to be hired, and in many cities, the most likely to be unemploy ed. (7) Beset with such an ominous
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array of social and economic hardships, it is hardly surprising that the experienc e of Black males in education, with respect to attainment and most indicators of academic performan ce, also show signs of trouble and distress. In many school districts throughout the United States, Black males are more likely than any other group to be suspende d and expelled from school. (8) From 1973 to 1977 there was a steady increase in African- American enrollment in college. However, since
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1977 there has been a sharp and continuou s decline, especially among males. (9) Black males are more likely to be classified as mentally retarded or suffering from a learning disability and placed in special education ( 10) and more likely to be absent from advanced placement and honors courses. (11) In contrast to the most other groups where males commonly perform at higher levels in math and science related courses, the reverse is true for Black
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males. (12) Even class privilege and the material benefits that accompan y it fail to inoculate Black males from low academic performan ce. When compared to their White peers, middleclas s African American males lag significantl y behind in both grade point average and on standardiz ed tests. (13) It is not surprising that there is a connectio n between the education al performan ce of African American males and the hardships they endure within the
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larger society. (14) In fact, it would be more surprising if Black males were doing well academic ally in spite of the broad array of difficulties that confront them. Scholars and researcher s commonly understan d that environme ntal and cultural factors have a profound influence upon human behavior, including academic performan ce. (15) What is less understoo d is how environme ntal and cultural forces influence the way in which Black males come to
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perceive schooling and how those perception s influence their behavior and performan ce in school.
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Christopher Reinemann
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