Statement on Education Transformation
100 Black Men of America, Inc. (The 100) considers the transformation of education – access to quality education for all youth regardless of race and socio-economic status – as one of the critical civil rights issues of our time. As an organization of over 100 chapters within communities across the country, which has been mentoring African American youth – primarily males – for more than 50 years, we know how important education is to their life’s trajectory to reach their full potential. We also know the consequences of a lack of a quality education, which are well documented in qualitative and quantitative research.
Studies have also proven that every child can learn – in spite of negative life circumstances – within high performing schools. Tragically, youth of color who are at greatest risk and in the greatest need of high quality are often subjected and mandated to attend low performing schools. These sub-par schools deliver educational experiences that often result in disproportionate misplacement in special education classes, over-crowded classrooms, novice teachers, overall failing school performance, declining test scores, plummeting graduation rates, and soaring drop-out rates. For these and other reasons, the transformation of public education is crucial. Our Black and Brown youth cannot continue to wait. Each year that these students receive a poor education, the farther they lag behind in learning, which only contributes to high school dropout rates and widens the academic achievement gulf. We are in a state of emergency!
The education goal of The 100 is simple: to change the life outcomes of underserved and disconnected African American youth. We are convinced that providing them quality teaching and learning experiences through high performing schools is essential to achieving this goal. Today’s K-12 youth should be educated so that they are academically prepared for each grade-level promotion and ultimately ready for post-secondary education without remediation. Public education should provide our children with a firm academic foundation that includes effective leaders and governance, quality teaching, common standards, and a rigorous curriculum involving critical thinking skills to maximize their talents and abilities and achieve their dreams and career aspirations.
We are in a state of emergency! There must be an urgent, collective focus of African Africans to support the transformation of public education to yield high performing schools in all of our communities. We are leaving behind and/or losing too many youth each year. Therefore, we seek a critical mass of partners and collaborators who share our concern for the plight of our youth in underperforming schools. The effective strategies and thought-leadership needed to change the academic and life outcomes of our youth requires the mobilization of African American organizations.