The just released standardized test results for public school systems in the U.S. state of California looked very dismal for black boys, according to a recently published report.
CALmatters.org reported on May 31st that 75 percent of California’s black boys in public school do not meet the minimum standards for reading competency. CALmatters is a non-partisan, non-profit media organization that analyzes California’s politics and systemic policies.
The organization’s recent report was written by Matt Levin. The CALmatters report also revealed that there is a definitive achievement gap between the reading capabilities of California’s black girls and boys who are enrolled in public school. Also, reading seems to an area of concern for black boys and the dysfunction often comes early in their lives.
“The reading data is sobering. As early as fourth grade, for example, nearly 80 percent of black boys failed to meet state reading standards. Of all ethnic groups for which the state collects data, black boys trailed black girls by the widest margin,” Levin wrote in his report for CALmatters.org.
Levin spoke to a number of education experts during his quest for answers to the questions surrounding the drastically poor reading progress of black boys in the California public school system. One of the people Levin spoke to was Chris Chatmon, founding executive director of the African-American Male Achievement program at the Oakland Unified School District.
Chatmon blames the biased curriculum of many of the public schools in California, which does not teach black boys very much about who they are or offer them a respectable representation in history and within today’s society.
“Part of [the problem] may be structural, in having texts that aren’t relevant to the experiences and legacy of African-American boys,” Chatmon told CALmatters.
“When a lot of the curriculum you have access to isn’t familiar, or doesn’t acknowledge your past or your present, you have a tendency not to be engaged with it or want to read it,” he continued.
Systemic failures like the one in California is influencing many black parents to take the education of their children into their own hands.