Black men in the education system

Introduction:

The American (US) public education sector has been making great effort to educate all the children of its citizens regardless of color or social class. This effort however faces many challenges, particularly in educating the children of African Americans .As a matter of fact, most of their male children drop out of school before completing high school. For those that join college, only a third of them graduate, and most of them take a longer period of time than the recommended time to complete the course. This has been the trend in the nation for many years and it has been consistent.

There are numerous challenges that Black Male College students face while attending college which make life difficult. Such challenges are in the school system, or are from outside the school such as economic and social challenges (Bell 2). Most of the challenges that cause Black Male students to drop out of school are as a result of systemic racism. They arise because of the systems that the US established has in economic, social and education sector through policies that do not favour African Americans,

Challenges in School:

One of the biggest challenges that the American public education sector faces is school segregation. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled against racial segregation in schools, there are many schools that are still biased in relation to race. Although this is a problem that is normally associated with the southern part of the US, cities such as Chicago, Boston and Detroit have many racially isolated schools and colleges.  Notably, the colleges with a high concentration of African Americans have financial challenges since they receive limited funding from the government. As a result such colleges lack adequate facilities and hence offer a low quality of education in comparison with the others. In addition, students in these schools learn under poor conditions with classrooms with moldy ceilings and cracked floors and eat rotten food. During winter, the students have to wear coats and scarves to keep warm because their classrooms have poor heating facilities. Consequentially, many of them are discouraged by these conditions and drop out of school.

Likewise, there is racial bias in the disciplining of students in schools where African Americans are subjected to discipline mechanisms that push them into the criminal justice system. Black students receive more suspensions than white kids from the beginning of their schooling and all through the education system (Mangan 12). Particularly, male black students tend to be suspended multiple times, even in occasions where they commit very minor mistakes. Subsequently, many of them eventually abandon school for the streets and get involved in criminal activities.

Further some school policies and educational programs are discriminative against African Americans and discourage them in their pursuit of education. For instance, students are forced to take history courses that emphasize on the achievements of the whites as the founders of the nation and do not show the achievements of Blacks. In most colleges, the culture of white people is assumed to be the default culture and by which the standards of art and literature are judged .Some teachers and resource materials are also insensitive when discussing the history of slavery. On the same note, black students lack role models in school who can motivate them and also people who really understand the challenges they face. Most of the teachers are White and cannot fully associate with colored students and encourage them to successfully go through the education system. All these discourage the students and some of them give up and drop out of school.

Additionally, Black students find it hard to fit in when they get admitted into colleges because of negative stereotypes that other students have about them. For example, Blacks have to fight the assumption that they did not get into university on their own merit but were handed favors .Henceforth, they are always under pressure to prove their ability. In their attempt to prove their intellectual worth, many Blacks end up in a mental health crisis as a result of the pressure they face. In case students who reach this breaking point choose to continue with their studies instead of dropping out, they put their mental health at risk and do not perform to their best. Further their white colleges are normally not willing to share information with them which makes it hard for them to fit in. Some of the teachers and lecturers even point out Black students in their classes causing them to feel isolated. In such cases, it is difficult for these students to get mentors in the university to help them in their research work while in college (Quinian, 2016).

Even more, black students who get enrolled in predominantly white colleges are at a disadvantage in comparison with their white colleagues. Even though these students never miss class and tutor more, their performance is always lower when compared to that of their classmates. Blacks get into college with lower grades than all the other students because of lack of quality education and this has a negative impact on their college performance. Most of them graduate with a C- (minus) grade and do not complete their degree courses in time.as such their background education is sufficient for them to maximize on performance in college because they lack many basic skills that are needed to acquire a college education. Under these circumstances, discourages many young men give up and quit before the course is over (Mangan, 2014).

Economic Factors

In the US, the Black community is the poorest. Consequentially, poverty is a major factor that leads to students dropping out of college.in many cases ,Black students are unable to fund their education due to lack of money. Many families cannot afford to see their sons through college. As a matter of fact, some students take up many jobs while in college so as to pay their fees. However, this leaves them with little time to focus on their studies and they end up performing poorly or totally failing their exams and are kicked out of school. There are students who work to help their parents fend for the family and have to abandon schooling to focus on earning money to take care of their brothers and sisters. In cases where families move from place to place in search of jobs, students are affected with their studies being interrupted and it is hard to catch up with their colleges in class work. Again, students from poor backgrounds cannot fully settle down in school and focus on education since they are always worried about the well fare of their families.

Also, there is a high rate of unemployment among the Blacks. It is very discouraging to work hard in school only to end up without a good job. Because of systemic racism, it is also not easy for blacks to engage in entrepreneurship since it is difficult for them to get the licenses required to set such ventures. As a result, many students in college get discouraged and drop out instead of investing in education with no assurance of future returns.

On its part the government has failed to give adequate economic support to black students in colleges to unable them complete their education. Many students enroll in colleges that high costs that their families cannot afford to meet expecting to get financial assistance from the government through student loans. However, such help is not always forthcoming and is not enough to cater for all the costs incurred. As such, they struggle through college and some fail to pay the different types of fees required and end up terminating their courses before completion.

 

Social factors:

For many years the Black community in the US has been facing the problem of mass incarceration. Most families have a male relative who is serving a jail term. Hence, many families are left without fathers to act as role models to their sons and to discipline them. These boys grow up without proper guidance and the importance of education is not taught to them. Subsequently, there is a big chance that they will not successively go through the education system and can drop out at any moment.

Similarly, there are many young male Blacks who are serving term for committing different crimes. In case such were students in collage, their education is abruptly cut off upon imprisonment. Upon finishing their sentence, these students cannot be readmitted into college since most institutions of higher learning do not admit ex-convicts as a way of protecting their public image.

In families where mothers are serving jail terms, the children who have less than eighteen years and do not have other relatives are given up for adoption or get enrolled into the foster care system. As such, they are affected psychologically and end up developing deviant behaviors and engaging in crime. Once they get to college, these children are unable to take their studies to completion because of misbehavior or involvement in crime.

On top of this, many male students face the problem of drug and substance abuse. Drugs such as cocaine, heroin and other synthetic drugs are easily available in many colleges. Also, many students take alcohol while in college. Once a person gets addicted to these drugs, their priorities in life change and education is no longer regarded as important. For this reason, students stop attending classes and taking assignments and exams, eventually dropping out of school. Since drug abuse often results in criminal activities, these students end up in jail and their education comes to an end.

Another factor that causes Black Males to drop out of school is recruitment into gangs. In the Black community, organized crime is rampant and gangs are mainly made up of young people. Due to poverty, many young men are attracted into such gangs because of money (Griffith 41). In many cases organized crime is seen as an easy way to make a lot of money in a short period of time. In addition, insecurity also pushes young men into gangs as a way of protecting themselves and their families. To this effect, many college students leave school and join gangs in their neighborhood with the aim of making easy money.

However, systemic racism is not the sole cause the high rate drop out of African America males from college. There are other factors that contribute to this trend that have nothing to do with unfair treatment of Blacks in the US (O’Neal 22 ). First, Many students drop out of college for personal reasons. For instance, after enrolling into college, some students find their studies boring and opt to take on other activities and leave school. On the same note, others are just lazy and are not willing to sacrifice their comfort in order to get education. Such students do not attend classes, take assignments or exams.in some cases, students have mental challenges which cause them to drop out. These students find that the courses they chose to pursue are too difficult for them to pursue and hence drop their studies. In cases where students have low esteem, failure of parents to support their sons and encourage them to work hard causes students to get discouraged when faced with challenges in college causes them to give up.

In other cases, students find it difficult to adjust into their new environment once they get into college. Since going to college involves leaving home in most occasions, they suffer from homesickness (Davvis). Moreover, there are rules to adhere to in college which some students find difficult to do. Also, going to college means meeting new people in a new environment. A combination of these factors puts a lot of pressure on some learners who decide to quit. Another factor that contributes to high rates college drop out of Black males is unrealistic expectations. Some students go to college with goals that are unattainable and have unrealistic expectations on how they will be treated and end up frustrated when these goals are not realized. For instance a student does not attain the high scores in class that he had set for himself ends up in disappointment and hence quits.

Again, there are male students who give up on education because of peer pressure. Due to lack of role models and absence of fathers in the families in the black society for the boy child, many young men have the desire t to find acceptance among their peers and fit in the society. Thus, they have to make a choice between pursuing their education and finding acceptance among their peers who have dropped out of school (Quinian 32). Unfortunately, a large number of them choose to abandon their studies and join their peers in whatever they do to earn a leaving.

On a positive note, some students drop out of college to pursue their dreams in other areas.to illustrate, some students that have talent in music ,sports or dancing opt to develop their talent into a career. Again, such students may decide to terminate their current course and enroll in one that will help them nurture their talent.

Recommendations

In order to reduce the rate of college drop out by African American Males, the government should come up with policies that help these students go through college with ease. First, the level of funding of high schools that have a majority of colored children should be increased so as to equip these schools with adequate facilities and enough teachers.as result Black students will be able to acquire all the prerequisite skills to enable them go through college without many challenges. Secondly, in each college, there should be a Black department that will help address the challenges that they face in college that cause them to leave school.

Next, the amount of money given to black students as student loans should be increased .Given that the parents of these students come from the lowest economic class, the learners should be allocated a greater amount of money in comparison to their white colleagues. In addition, the loans should be easily accessible with a simple process to be followed for one to get them. In schools fairness should be observed in the administration of punishment to avoid cases where black students are discriminated against causing them to despair in their quest for education.

Summary:

The colored male students in college face numerous challenges that cause them to give up on educating themselves. Most of these challenges are as brought about by systemic racism, for instance poverty in the black community and alienation of Black students by their classmates. However, personal challenges that these students face leading to their drop out from college cannot be associated with any form of racism in the society.

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