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Why are so many black boys missing so much school?

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Chronic absence, suspension derail Oakland black boys

arieliona/istockphoto.com

High rates of chronic absence, suspension and poor academic performance signal that more than half of African American male students in the Oakland Unified School District are at risk of dropping out, according to new research.

The Urban Strategies Council, an Oakland-based community advocacy organization, found significant disparities between African American boys and their peers: Fifty-five percent of black boys in the 2010-11 school year were falling off course from graduation or were at risk of doing so, compared with 37.5 percent of students overall in the district.

From kindergarten through 12th grade, researchers found that black boys struggled with regular attendance and suspensions and scoring proficiently on standardized tests or maintaining grades above a C average – warning signs that they might drop out.

Among African American males who were not on track to graduate, 73 percent in elementary school were chronically absent, missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason, according to the findings released this week. In middle school, the same percentage had been suspended at least once. Nearly two-thirds of high schoolers were chronically absent and had less than a C average; 41 percent had been suspended at least once.

"We need to understand what's going on if we're going to effectively intervene and improve outcomes and graduation and success of African American males," said Junious Williams, chief executive officer of the council. 

The council's reports on dropout indicators are part of Oakland Unified's African American Male Achievement Initiative, an effort launched in 2010 to improve academic and social equity for black boys. The findings provide "a sense of urgency" for the district, said Chris Chatmon, executive director of the district's Office of African American Male Achievement. 

Chatmon, who plans to hold a community meeting next month to discuss the council's findings, said improving attendance among black boys requires working with other agencies and the community and presents different challenges in different age groups.

In kindergarten and first grade, African American boys in the district were more than four times as likely as their white peers to be chronically absent, the council found. 

"Five-year-olds don't miss school without an adult knowing at home," said Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, an initiative that seeks to improve student success by reducing chronic absence. 

Families might face hurdles, such as transportation or health problems, in getting their young children to school, or they might not understand the importance of kindergarten, said Chang, who has worked with Oakland Unified to address chronic absenteeism. 

"Once you miss a month or more of school, and you miss a month or more in kindergarten and first, you're not on track for reading in third grade," she said. "We've got to make sure kids have a chance to start on the right track."

One way the district has tried to target chronic absenteeism among young black students is by working with the Oakland Housing Authority. Forty percent of students at four West Oakland schools live in public housing; 30 percent of those students were chronically absent in 2010-11. Chatmon said the district saw an uptick in school registration by reaching out to West Oakland families living in public housing.

By the time black boys reach middle and high school, different factors begin to undermine attendance, Chatmon said.

"Street culture becomes more attractive than learning and school culture," he said. "How do we define school culture? What is it? What would get our students getting up at 5 in the morning, running to school? … You get school culture right, then you will produce African American boys that produce high academic outcomes."

Cultural clashes and misunderstandings also factor into high rates of suspension among black boys, Chatmon and Williams said. 

"We still have a teaching and administrative body that doesn't … understand the cultural context of where our students come from," Chatmon said. "We have to do a lot of work with our adults to authentically engage with our boys, with our families, to understand our community context."

African American boys made up 17 percent of Oakland Unified students in 2010-11, yet they represented 42 percent of students suspended. Disruption or defiance of authority was the most common reason for discipline, accounting for 38 percent of their suspensions.

Subjective standards for disruption and defiance – the reason behind more than 40 percent of suspensions in California and the recent target of criticism and legislative action – could be contributing to high suspension rates among black boys, Williams said.

The council recommended that Oakland Unified carefully monitor such offenses and clearly define what constitutes impermissible behavior. The district also needs strategies for prevention and intervention so students are not suspended for single incidents, Williams said.

In many ways, Chatmon said, that work already has started.

"This is a 'we' problem," he said. "We are taking this on with the frame of full-service community schools that call out everybody, humbly. We can't do it in isolation."

http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/chronic-absence-suspension-derail-oakland-black-boys-16298

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Replies (21-30):
Debmomto2girls
by Debbie on Nov. 14, 2012 at 4:06 PM

 That is true. I guess there is no easy answer

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 I am not a fan of Charter schools, it pulls money from already struggling public schools. Why should any child be left in a shitty school?

They need to adjust the way money is given to public schools, each school in a state should receive the SAME amount. There is NO reason why some schools have football fields, pools and laptops for students and others are using 15 year old text books and don't have anough seats for students

 

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

 Yes, they do. They need to revamp the schools in these areas also.  I know this is not a popular thought (and I am not even 100% sure I am right) but Charter schools are done by lottery. Maybe give the kids living under the poverty level first crack at these schools. 

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 They also need to address the amound of people living in chronic poverty

what is the % of the drop out rate by people living in generational poverty...

Quoting Debmomto2girls:

 My dd and I went to a ceremony where Mayor Nutter and others were speaking.  It was part of the Mayor's VIP program which started around 2008 or 2009. It awards kids with perfect attendnce tickets for sporting events.

Anyway, the guest speakers were talking about the drop out rate in Philadelphia and how high it is especially for black males.  They tlked about needing more role models an basically people giving back to their communities in regards to mentoring.  They also spoke about setting high expectations for your kids despite diveristy and struggles.

They were very moving speeches and made a lot of sense.  All I have to do is drive up Broad street to see the socioeconomic blight of many (not all) African-Americans in this city. I always think to myself "How do you overcome that many obstacles?" There is not a white person in the US who can say they have the same kind of struggles.

 

 

 

 

hopealways4019
by Silver Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 4:10 PM
They probably afraid the white boys gonna come shoot up the school? So to be safe they stay home. Just my guess?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:26 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Black and white boys are treated differently in schools by teachers and the administration from day one.  They feel this bias.  Public schools that predominately serve black students are on the low end for receiving local, state and government funds.  Then to make the racial matter worse, the `adminstrators' use a racist tool to keep them in and interested in school -- incentives through playing basketball.  Not all black students are interested in sports, much less will find an identity within the school through the sport.

I find this hard to believe, because it would mean that teachers are disproportionately racist.  I cannot imagine little 5 year olds are missing school so much because their teachers are mean to them.

tooptimistic
by Kelly on Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM
1 mom liked this

It comes down to parents.  Parents are the child's first educator.  No way to fix that.  You can't mandate good parentening.

lga1965
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:29 PM
Yup. It always is. Its so frustrating because .....how do we get parents to care and keep track of their kids?

Quoting FromAtoZ:

It all begins at home.  We are not aware of the individual circumstances taking place in the homes.  Or the actual mind set of these young men.  Without knowing those factors, we can only assume.

What is the answer?  That is a question I haven't been able to answer as of yet.  

We cannot force parents to parent and to put their child's education first.  We cannot force these kids to get to school, stay there and to do their best while there.  

I may be babbling and not intending to do so.  Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM

For those asking what can be done about the parents:

School Absence Penalty Notices - Advice to Parents and Carers

Related Links
 

 

Home > Information for Parents > School Absence Penalty Notices
School Absence Penalty Notices

What is the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

The Act is a new law that came into force on 27 February 2004. It gives new powers to the County Council, Schools and the Police to issue Penalty Notices for non-attendance at school. The Penalty Notices will be issued where it is considered that parents are able to improve their child’s attendance but are not willing to do so.

Why have they been introduced? 

  • Reducing absence from school is very important. This is because missing school can damage children’s achievements, disrupt the school’s routines and affect other children’s learning. It can also leave children at risk of anti-social behaviour and youth crime. Above all, missing out on the opportunities provided in school can have a long-term effect on children’s chances in life.
 

What are my responsibilities as a parent?

  • You have a legal duty to ensure that your child receives full-time education. Unless you can show that you are providing this yourself, you must ensure that your child attends school regularly and on time. You will be committing an offence, therefore, if your child fails to attend regularly and punctually and the school has not given permission for the absence or late arrival.

    Remember - only your child’s school can authorise absence or late arrival

    If you fail to make sure that your child attends regularly and punctually, you may be prosecuted in Court. The penalties are severe and, in serious cases, may result in a prison sentence.

 

What is a Penalty Notice?

  • A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution. It requires the parent to pay a fixed amount as a fine for the child’s non-attendance and avoids a court appearance. It is intended to secure better attendance without taking legal action through the courts.
 

What are the costs?

  • Payment is £100 to be paid within 42 days. The 42 days starts 2 days after the date of issue as shown on the Notice. If the fine is paid within 28 days, payment reduces to £50.

    The fine will apply to each parent for each child who fails to attend regularly and punctually.

    For example, in a family where there are two parents who fail to ensure proper attendance of their two children, the fine would be £200 for each parent.

 

Who is counted as a parent responsible for ensuring attendance?

The law defines a parent as: 

    • Any natural parent, whether married or not
    • Any parent who, even if not married, has responsibility as a parent  
    • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person
    • Having care of a child or young person means that if the child or young person lives with you and is cared for by you, then you will be regarded as the parent.
 

How are penalty notices issued and when are they used?

  • A Penalty Notice will normally be sent by first class post to your home.
  • Penalty Notices can be used in a wide range of circumstances. In particular, they will be used where it is clear that parents can ensure their child attends school regularly and on time but are not willing to do so.

    Before we issue a Penalty Notice, we will check to see how much school your child has missed.

    We never take such action lightly. We would prefer to work with parents or carers to improve attendance without having to enforce it. However, we will use these new powers if this is the only way to ensure a child attends school properly.

 

Is a warning given?

  • Yes, you will receive one written warning. It will tell you how many school sessions your child has missed and give you 15 school days to improve your child’s attendance. If there is no lasting improvement, a Penalty Notice will be issued.

    You will not receive a warning, however, if you have taken a holiday in term time without the school’s permission.

 

Can I take holidays in term time?

Parents are not entitled to take their children on holiday in term time. Such holidays can only be taken with the written approval of the Headteacher. Each case will be considered on its merits and the decision of the Headteacher is final.

We will issue a Penalty Notice for any period of holiday during term time that has not been authorised by the Headteacher.

Please remember that for holidays taken in term time without the school’s approval: 

    • Each parent will be fined for each child for each period of absence 
    • A Penalty Notice will be issued regardless of previous attendance 
    • A Penalty Notice will be issued without warning 
    • Taking or allowing your child to take a holiday in term time without the school’s permission is a serious matter. If we find that you have done so, we will not hesitate to issue a Penalty Notice.
 

Can I Appeal?

There is no right of appeal once a notice has been issued.

We can take back a Penalty Notice but only if:

  • It should not have been issued in the first place (for example, if your child was actually at school) or
  • It has been issued to the wrong person
  • If you believe that either of these is true, you should contact the County Council immediately with evidence to support your view. The contact details will be included in the Penalty Notice.
 

How do I Pay?

Details of how to pay will be included in the Penalty Notice. Please remember that there will be no reminder to pay and no opportunity to pay in instalments. Failure to pay will result in prosecution.

 

What happens if I do not pay?

  • If you do not pay, the consequences can be very serious. You have up to 42 days from receipt to pay the Penalty Notice in full. After this time, if it has not been paid, we are required by law to begin proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the original offence of poor attendance by your child.

    If proven, this can attract a range of fines up to £2500, other remedies such as Parenting Orders or Community Sentences, or imprisonment depending on the circumstances. The courts have already imposed such sentences. A guilty verdict will also mean that you will have a criminal record.

    All this can be avoided by payment in full by the due date.

 

Can I be prosecuted if I pay but my child still fails to attend school?

  • You cannot be prosecuted for the period included in the Penalty Notice. However, you can be prosecuted for any further periods of non-attendance not covered by the Penalty Notice, depending on the circumstances. If you are worried about this, it is vital that you work with your child’s school and support agencies such as the Education Welfare Service.
 

Can I get help if my child is not attending regularly?

  • Yes, the County Council and your child’s school will give you advice and support. If you need help, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s teacher, in the first instance, or with the Education Welfare Service. We will do all we can to help to improve your child’s attendance and to support you in making sure that your child is happy in school.
 

Last Updated 15/08/2009
Site Design by Visual Design Studios
Site Content © Heanor Gate Science College 2003-2004


http://www.heanorgate.org.uk/inc/printerfriendly.asp?pageID=671

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM

I can see the benefits in such laws that penalize the parents if their child is not in school.

But it should be on a case by case situation.

My great nephew, who is a Junior in high school, is a royal shit.  He ditches classes all the time.  There are a lot of issues going on with him, always has been, that his mother is attempting to address to the very best of her ability.

She has been notified, time and again, that she will be held accountable for his not being in class.  Fines and even jail time.  She called the school, told them she was going to bring him to school and go to every class with him in order to ensure he is where he is supposed to be.  She was told she is not allowed to do that, it is too disruptive.  Then what, exactly, is she supposed to do when her son takes it upon himself to leave the campus?

It can be quite frustrating for parents who are making the effort and doing what they can and their kid is just a little shit.

Citygirlk
by Gold Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:59 PM
Happened to my brother and mixed race cousins. My mom and aunt ended up putting them in a different school.

Quoting futureshock:


Quoting MeAndTommyLee:

Black and white boys are treated differently in schools by teachers and the administration from day one.  They feel this bias.  Public schools that predominately serve black students are on the low end for receiving local, state and government funds.  Then to make the racial matter worse, the `adminstrators' use a racist tool to keep them in and interested in school -- incentives through playing basketball.  Not all black students are interested in sports, much less will find an identity within the school through the sport.

I find this hard to believe, because it would mean that teachers are disproportionately racist.  I cannot imagine little 5 year olds are missing school so much because their teachers are mean to them.

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
greenie63
by Silver Member on Nov. 14, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Many African American males are growing up without a positive male role model in the home, that's one contributing factor. There also needs to be more African American male teachers in the school system. 

My professor who is lecturing my Saturday class works in one of the nations worst school districts, Washington DC. He is constantly telling us stories about the students he has to track and they are mostly sad. 

The article isn't surprising to me, the question is how can we change it? 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Nov. 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Interesting :-)

Maybe they should do what we have here.....same as below in England but instead of it becoming a police matter and or a fine.  If kids fall more than the amount detailed (which I believe is more than 30 days in a year) all welfare is cut off.  Medical certificates are exempt.

It has worked in public schools..   Some schools initiated a incentive for families out of their own pockets...20 dollar food vouchers for every two weeks their children attended consecutively...it didnt work.  But the parents of the kids who did attend daily...loved it LOL

Quoting futureshock:

For those asking what can be done about the parents:

 

School Absence Penalty Notices - Advice to Parents and Carers

 

Related Links
 

 

Home > Information for Parents > School Absence Penalty Notices
School Absence Penalty Notices

What is the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

The Act is a new law that came into force on 27 February 2004. It gives new powers to the County Council, Schools and the Police to issue Penalty Notices for non-attendance at school. The Penalty Notices will be issued where it is considered that parents are able to improve their child’s attendance but are not willing to do so.

Why have they been introduced? 

  • Reducing absence from school is very important. This is because missing school can damage children’s achievements, disrupt the school’s routines and affect other children’s learning. It can also leave children at risk of anti-social behaviour and youth crime. Above all, missing out on the opportunities provided in school can have a long-term effect on children’s chances in life.
 

What are my responsibilities as a parent?

  • You have a legal duty to ensure that your child receives full-time education. Unless you can show that you are providing this yourself, you must ensure that your child attends school regularly and on time. You will be committing an offence, therefore, if your child fails to attend regularly and punctually and the school has not given permission for the absence or late arrival.

    Remember - only your child’s school can authorise absence or late arrival

    If you fail to make sure that your child attends regularly and punctually, you may be prosecuted in Court. The penalties are severe and, in serious cases, may result in a prison sentence.

 

What is a Penalty Notice?

  • A Penalty Notice is an alternative to prosecution. It requires the parent to pay a fixed amount as a fine for the child’s non-attendance and avoids a court appearance. It is intended to secure better attendance without taking legal action through the courts.
 

What are the costs?

  • Payment is £100 to be paid within 42 days. The 42 days starts 2 days after the date of issue as shown on the Notice. If the fine is paid within 28 days, payment reduces to £50.

    The fine will apply to each parent for each child who fails to attend regularly and punctually.

    For example, in a family where there are two parents who fail to ensure proper attendance of their two children, the fine would be £200 for each parent.

 

Who is counted as a parent responsible for ensuring attendance?

The law defines a parent as: 

    • Any natural parent, whether married or not
    • Any parent who, even if not married, has responsibility as a parent  
    • Any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person
    • Having care of a child or young person means that if the child or young person lives with you and is cared for by you, then you will be regarded as the parent.
 

How are penalty notices issued and when are they used?

  • A Penalty Notice will normally be sent by first class post to your home.
  • Penalty Notices can be used in a wide range of circumstances. In particular, they will be used where it is clear that parents can ensure their child attends school regularly and on time but are not willing to do so.

    Before we issue a Penalty Notice, we will check to see how much school your child has missed.

    We never take such action lightly. We would prefer to work with parents or carers to improve attendance without having to enforce it. However, we will use these new powers if this is the only way to ensure a child attends school properly.

 

Is a warning given?

  • Yes, you will receive one written warning. It will tell you how many school sessions your child has missed and give you 15 school days to improve your child’s attendance. If there is no lasting improvement, a Penalty Notice will be issued.

    You will not receive a warning, however, if you have taken a holiday in term time without the school’s permission.

 

Can I take holidays in term time?

Parents are not entitled to take their children on holiday in term time. Such holidays can only be taken with the written approval of the Headteacher. Each case will be considered on its merits and the decision of the Headteacher is final.

We will issue a Penalty Notice for any period of holiday during term time that has not been authorised by the Headteacher.

Please remember that for holidays taken in term time without the school’s approval: 

    • Each parent will be fined for each child for each period of absence 
    • A Penalty Notice will be issued regardless of previous attendance 
    • A Penalty Notice will be issued without warning 
    • Taking or allowing your child to take a holiday in term time without the school’s permission is a serious matter. If we find that you have done so, we will not hesitate to issue a Penalty Notice.
 

Can I Appeal?

There is no right of appeal once a notice has been issued.

We can take back a Penalty Notice but only if:

  • It should not have been issued in the first place (for example, if your child was actually at school) or
  • It has been issued to the wrong person
  • If you believe that either of these is true, you should contact the County Council immediately with evidence to support your view. The contact details will be included in the Penalty Notice.
 

How do I Pay?

Details of how to pay will be included in the Penalty Notice. Please remember that there will be no reminder to pay and no opportunity to pay in instalments. Failure to pay will result in prosecution.

 

What happens if I do not pay?

  • If you do not pay, the consequences can be very serious. You have up to 42 days from receipt to pay the Penalty Notice in full. After this time, if it has not been paid, we are required by law to begin proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the original offence of poor attendance by your child.

    If proven, this can attract a range of fines up to £2500, other remedies such as Parenting Orders or Community Sentences, or imprisonment depending on the circumstances. The courts have already imposed such sentences. A guilty verdict will also mean that you will have a criminal record.

    All this can be avoided by payment in full by the due date.

 

Can I be prosecuted if I pay but my child still fails to attend school?

  • You cannot be prosecuted for the period included in the Penalty Notice. However, you can be prosecuted for any further periods of non-attendance not covered by the Penalty Notice, depending on the circumstances. If you are worried about this, it is vital that you work with your child’s school and support agencies such as the Education Welfare Service.
 

Can I get help if my child is not attending regularly?

  • Yes, the County Council and your child’s school will give you advice and support. If you need help, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s teacher, in the first instance, or with the Education Welfare Service. We will do all we can to help to improve your child’s attendance and to support you in making sure that your child is happy in school.
 

Last Updated 15/08/2009
Site Design by Visual Design Studios
Site Content © Heanor Gate Science College 2003-2004

 

http://www.heanorgate.org.uk/inc/printerfriendly.asp?pageID=671

 

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