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Young African-American boys face staggering social disadvantages
1 in 3 of those born in 2001 will serve time in prison

Kelli Fitzpatrick
In The Region:
A national conference in Cincinnati this week is looking at how to close the achievement gap for middle-school African-American boys.

Michael Nettles is senior vice president of Policy Evaluation & Research Center at the Educational Testing Service, and says nearly half of the nation’s black boys attend high poverty middle schools. And he says there’s a correlation between that and adult prison.

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“Unless we do something, about 500,000 of them or one third will wind up in prison one day. We think that that’s largely because of their conditions of poverty and their poor educational opportunity.”

Nettles says improving schools, including raising  teacher expectations for their students,  is one way to address what he calls the  “cradle to prison pipeline.”

The Cincinnati conference is the first held by the Children’s Defense Fund in nine years and has drawn 3,000 people. 

Listener Comments:

Inequality is against the God's law. They are Teachable Trust me

Posted by: Angeal (Oakland) on November 13, 2013 2:11AM
I am a single parent of an African-American male. I determimed with everything in me that he was NOT going to be a statistic. I began to teach him the importance of education from the time he could talk. He was reading by the time he was 3. He began to struggle somewhat after he left private school and entered Middle School in Prince George's County, Maryland. However, I do not blame the school system for his struggles. It was more peer pressure than anything else. (He was trying to be accepted and did not want his peers to know how smart he really was.) He did attend college and graduted. My son made the Dean's List during his first semester. I do believe the solution is a combination of strong parental involvement and an educational system that offers every American child a solid education. I am very proud of him.

Posted by: Anonymous on July 30, 2012 3:07AM
There have been many generations of children who have grown up in poverty with poor educational opportunities who don't end up in prison. The cradle to prison pipeline in the African-American community has far more to do with the predominance of dysfunctional, fatherless households than it does with their schools. Strong family units committed to providing the best possible opportunities for their children are the best means of overcoming obstacles.

Posted by: anonymous on July 27, 2012 1:07AM
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