Black Male Achievement

The Difference
6:00 am
Thu October 2, 2014

The Difference: School Discipline Alternatives, What's Working and What's Not

Mary Vendrely is a sixth grade teacher at Lane Middle School in Fort Wayne.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

This week for our series The Difference, we’re taking a look at school discipline, and how it affects students of color.

So far we’ve learned how a series of small punishments can have big effects on students’ lives through the school to prison pipeline. We’ve also heard about alternative discipline plans that work to prevent that snowballing effect, and keep kids in the classroom.

Fort Wayne Community Schools is among the districts that have implemented a new plan, and they say slowly but surely, it’s helping close their discipline gap.  

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The Difference
6:39 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Fort Wayne Joins National My Brother's Keeper Initiative

Mayor Tom Henry, Councilman Glynn Hines, and community members announce Fort Wayne's involvement in the My Brother's Keeper Initiative.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced Wednesday that the City will make more of an effort to help young men of color. 

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, or MBK. It challenges cities across the country to implement plans that help young people of color reach their full potential.

In Fort Wayne, MBK will focus specifically on education, employment, health, and youth.

Stephanie Crandall with the mayor’s office says MBK will require making a lot of partnerships between local organizations.  

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The Difference
6:00 am
Tue September 30, 2014

The Difference: Keeping Kids in Class and out of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Sixth graders in their Language Arts class at Lane M.S., FWCS.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Being disciplined in schools can have major long term ramifications for boys of color.

Every kid first learns how to behave – at home. Sometimes with formal rules, sometimes by just observing others. But different styles and standards are brought together when all those kids enter the same classroom. Combine that with cultural diversity, and classroom management becomes a big challenge.

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The Difference
5:41 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Interview: Ron Lewis on Race and Higher Education

Ron Lewis is an instructor at several Fort Wayne institutions.
Credit Ron Lewis

As we heard in Wednesday's interview with Ron Lewis, significant challenges exist for young black men in the classroom, and many are hard to quantify. 

But those challenges don't end when those men get to college. 

Only about 15 percent of college students are black – and African-American students are less than half as likely as their white counterparts to complete their degree on time.

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The Difference
7:00 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Interview: Ron Lewis on Racial Bias in Education

Ron Lewis speaking at USF's Stand Against Racism.
Credit Ron Lewis

By now, it should be no surprise to listeners of The Difference that young African-American men are falling behind their peers in the classroom.

In everything from graduation rates to reading proficiency to disciplinary action, the achievement gap between black boys and their classmates is wide.

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The Difference
6:00 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Interview: Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock on Black Male Achievement

Fort Wayne City Councilman Geoff Paddock
Credit Geoff Paddock

From education to income, there’s a significant gap between black men and their peers in Fort Wayne- last year, the City was awarded a technical grant from the National League of Cities to address the disparity.

As a part of the initiative, the NLC held a conference in Oakland last month for the participating cities to learn about strategies for improving black male achievement.

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The Difference
12:43 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Black Barbershop Health Initiative Offers Free Screenings for Men of Color

42 year old Marcus Wilkes gets his blood sugar tested at Unity Barbershop in Fort Wayne.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Many black men throughout Indiana going to get a haircut this weekend were also able to receive a free health screening. The 4th annual Indiana Black Barbershop Health Initiative was held Saturday across the state.  

According to the Indiana Department of Health, black men have the highest mortality rate of any racial group.And many don't go to the doctor. 

That's according to Foundation One. 

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The Difference
8:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Interview: IU's Russell Skiba on Research Showing Black Students More Likely to be Suspended

Dr. Russell Skiba, professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology, and Director of the Equity Project at Indiana University.
Credit Russell Skiba

Researchers have known for years that black male students are disciplined in schools more frequently than their white peers.

New research from Indiana University confirms that gap exists nationwide, but it goes a step further – black girls, Latinos, and gay students are also at risk of being over-referred and suspended from school.

The new studies find suspensions are often given for relatively small offenses, things like loitering and dress code violations.

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The Difference
1:43 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

New IU Research Sharpens Focus on Discipline Disparity in Schools

A series of research papers examining the disparities in school disciplinary practices released earlier this month show students of color are suspended at much higher rates. The findings were released by the Equity Project at Indiana University.

The new series of briefing papers reinforces what has been acknowledged by researchers for years – that young men of color are being over-referred and receive higher rates of out of school suspension. In Indiana, black male students are two to three-and-a-half times more likely to be suspended.

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The Difference
6:00 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Obama Launches Initiative To Provide Opportunities For Young Men of Color

President Obama announcing "My Brother's Keeper" at the White House.

President Obama Thursday announced a new initiative to provide opportunities for young men of color who are underachieving compared to their peers.

Obama is calling for collaboration from foundations, corporations, and community leaders to address the nationwide gap.

The “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative is aimed at helping black and latino boys stay in school and out of the criminal justice system - and to improve their access to higher education.

In an announcement Thursday, President Obama said that the nation has gotten used to the shocking statistics.

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