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I am reading a book called "Why Boys Fail" and it is actually clearing up some questions I have had for a while. Since I have had experiences with the special education population in various school districts and cities, I am now aware of a trend. Boys make up the majority. And in black neighborhoods this is worst. Now I do believe there are multiple factors and various stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, administrators, government, principals, and the community-at-large. 

 

What this all comes down to is that, no matter how much money or attention was thrown at the problem, it just kept getting worst. In the book, the author emphasizes that while most of us were looking at the  racial and class issues only, we allowed the gender issue to escape us. In Australia, they discovered that boys’ at the most critical young ages were being left behind in the area of reading and comprehension due to the very nature of our biology. Men need time to learn how to comprehend or it will be like stereo  instructions being played backwards.

 

He laid out in the book what Australia did and then what America did to address the deficit in education. Australia kept the standards high and just met the boys where they were at the younger years, allowing them to mature naturally but with the proper curriculum. In America, the standards were lowered, but the focus was said to be on racial and economic inequalities, which are important, but had nothing to do with our boys falling behind in reading and comprehension.

 

Now as a result of not allowing boys to be taught as boys, they grow up more and more frustrated because they really don't know what they need to, but we tell them get over it and get on with it. While they really do need to get on with it, they are now less prepared than ever. Our government then said create more programs, spend more money on high school retention programs and secure more college loans. This just continued the trend of passing along unprepared boys, and girls in some cases.

 

While there are those who made it out because they decided to take it a step further, the American society does not think of that as the norm, which is considered extra. It has become extra to do homework. It has become noble to go to work. It is seen as heart-broken when the law is broken. The facts are that our black men are not as adequately prepared as we thought. I ask classmates and some of my students at times and found that not only do they skip reading their assignments thoroughly; they rarely follow up on other readings that are connected with the assignments to help explain them.

 

My example is this, I was sitting in one of my undergraduate classes years ago and the professor started talking about a subject that came directly from a recommending reading, not the mandatory reading. I decided to take a look at the book, and ended up reading the entire thing. At every point in the class from that point on, I understood the lectures and the assignments. Most of the students in this small class asked me how, I said, I read the recommended readings and the assignments. It worked.

 

Now how does this tie into the falling behind of young men. Well, I work in the system and found that things that are recommended are really the things our children, especially our boys are missing. The no longer mandate comprehension, phonetics, and true reading for understanding. I mean, my son is in a reading program with the library that follows the schools program. He just reads books at volume and gets a prize. They don't even know if he understands what he read.

 

If parents don't understand, children are not being told to understand, and teachers are told it is not necessary that they fully understand, each generation falls further behind the next. The government will say, we need more funding, I say we need to go back to the educational strengths of the past, not the unequal distribution of the present. Children need goals and standards that match progress, not rules and formulas that  produce ignorance. Readingis good, but comprehending what is read is greater. No excuses.

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Comment by Larry A Cochran on July 9, 2011 at 5:29am
Regis, I thank you for desire to change the status quo. That in and of it's self is a challenge. I really try to practice the model of parenting myself. It is quite hard, but I can see the difference it makes in my son. I really feel sad at times when I am confronted with parents who don't care and probably never will. I will just continue to do my part when I can and however I can. Thanks for the comment.

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