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NEA Report Urges Action To Address Educational Disparities

Status of Blacks in Education outlines strategies for change


WASHINGTON - February 07, 2008 -

NEA today released A Report on the Status of Blacks in Education—Moving Beyond Barriers: Strategies for Black Student Success in the 21st Century, a clarion call for the country to come together, move beyond political rhetoric and address the critical issues facing poor and minority students.

During Black History Month, the National Education Association and its 3.2 million members are issuing a specific challenge to community members and political leaders to implement solid strategies that will end the education disparities that exist for far too many children in urban and rural schools across the country.

“More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, millions of Black students still attend inferior schools—public schools with too many students per class, schools with inexperienced and overwhelmed teachers, schools with outdated texts and technologies,” said NEA President Reg Weaver.  “It is time for all people who care about our children and young people to stop saying, ‘Somebody ought to do something,’ and do something.”

The fourth in a series of reports, the Status of Blacks in Education is a culmination of the work and recommendations of a cross-spectrum of people who met during a day-long summit in June 2007 in Atlanta, Ga. As convener of the summit, NEA sought to bring together over 100 key leaders from academia, community and industry, along with Association members, to address top issues facing today’s Black students and young people.

Through a series of moderated discussions, summit participants, invited special guests – including the NAACP, the National Urban League and 100 Black Men of America – and a panel of experts worked to outline policy recommendations and practical strategies for closing the gaps in student achievement, educating Black males and addressing the high school dropout crisis. This report draws on the presentations, discussions and resources from the summit, as well as available research about each topic.

Beginning in February and throughout the year, NEA will be meeting with its national partners and members to continue the public conversation begun in June 2007 and implement many of the recommendations outlined in the report.

“Everyone agrees that a quality education is absolutely vital for a child today to have a fair chance to succeed in life—and yet nearly 50 percent of Black students drop out of school before finishing high school,” said Weaver.  “What hope does a young person have in today’s high-tech society without even a high school diploma?  Educators, community and church leaders, parents—we all have to step up and speak out.”

A Report on the Status of Blacks in Education is available online at http://www.nea.org/achievement/images/statusofblacks.pdf

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Michelle Hudgins  (202) 822-7823