According to reports, fewer black students are now attending New York City’s most elite public high schools than ever before. The percentage of black students as reported in the New York Daily News, have dropped in all but one of New York City’s eight schools that require specialized exams for entry. In fact, the number of black students at all eight schools have decreased overall from 1,042 to 1,160.
Now, New York City is a small sample size of what probably is occurring all across this nation. With our nation falling behind in education globally, there seems to be a growing trend of failing numbers in the black community.
Now, understandably, there could be various reasons for such statistics and declines. From lack of funding, non-existent community support, and/or poor teachers, schools fail for a variety of reasons. Here in New York City we’ve seen various schools that are closing (including my former High School) due to failing grades, but failing grades that were brought about from politics and bureaucratic maneuvers. A lot of students were victims, however, many never did themselves in any favors in avoiding the sinking ship – many of them, unfortunately were black students.
Now this is not a forum to alienate a specific group of people, however, a challenge to black students to do better. We, as a overall society have to do better.
In my experience working with children and teens, it is especially painful to see young black men think their only option to become successful is through picking up a mic, running a football, or shooting a jump shot. The naive attitude and narrow mindedness that they somehow have attained and possess tells them that various options are closed to them -and them only. That such options are not allowed or are not reasonable and viable options. Some, that I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears in the 8th grade, already know they are not attending college.
That question should be asked all over our nation.
We need to want more.
We need to seek more.
We need to challenge ourselves.
We need to do better.
The time is now to begin taking responsibility. I understand that the generation of civil right movements and Jim Crow laws are not as far removed as we would like it to be, however, the election of President Obama should be a symbol of what is real, and what is now possible in this world.
All the doors that have been shut forever, are now open – and opened wide.
A black child can be President of the United States. And most importantly, you can say that, and believe it one hundred percent.
The excuses need to stop. The shifting of blame and responsibility needs to stop.
It is all up to the black student. What do you want out of life?
The opportunities are there. They are everywhere. We just need to do better.