Monday, January 27, 2014

In America, only 10% of 8th-grade Black boys can read proficiently*

"If you teach that nigger how to read, there will be no keeping him! It will forever unfit him to be a slave! He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master."
These are the words of Master Auld to his wife, who was teaching Frederick Douglass, a slave, to read. This passage is taken from an essay written by Jada Williams, 13, Rochester, New York. 

2011 Reading Levels of 8th-Grade 
Black Males from the Lowest-Performing 
Large American School Districts* 

City\Percentage of 8th-Grade Black Males Proficient in Reading* 
Milwaukee - 3%
Cleveland - 3%
Detroit - 5%
Washington (D.C.) - 6%
San Diego - 7%
Dallas - 7%
Baltimore City - 7%
Chicago - 9%
Jefferson County, (KY) - 9%
Atlanta - 9%
Los Angeles - 9%
Philadelphia - 9%
Austin - 9%
Houston - 9%
Hillsborough County (FL) - 9%
Boston - 10%
Miami-Dade - 11%
Charlotte - 12%
New York City - 13% 
It was illegal to teach slaves to read.  Slaves were beaten and killed if they could read.  New schools for former slaves were destroyed as an attempt to stop them from learning.  Did it work?
There is no plan that we know of in any of the above cities or from the U.S. Department of Education to change the fact that 90% of 8th-grade of Black boys in America cannot read proficiently.  Black people in each of the above cities should call 773.285.9600 to become part of a plan to teach Black boys to read. 

* Source: Minority Students and Public Education by Dr. Michael Holzman. This information was extracted from the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 2011.

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