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NEA responds to report on achievement gaps between Black and White male students

WASHINGTON - November 12, 2010 -

A report issued earlier this week from a coalition representing large urban public school districts underscores NEA’s  long-held belief that the nation must do more to address the achievement gap between black and white students—particularly black males. 

In A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools, the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) reviewed data in six areas: readiness to learn, national black male achievement statistics, black male achievement in selected big-city school districts, college and career preparedness, school experience and postsecondary experience.

Among the report’s recommendations is a call for a White House conference to address this achievement gap issue. The event would include a cross-section of stakeholders from the education and civic communities, faith-based organizations, and lawmakers at every level.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

“We have long been aware of the disparities in achievement between black and white male students, and we must do much more to address this compelling issue.  

“Research and experience tell us that many factors contribute to a student’s academic development. One of the most important is making certain that accomplished teachers, those who have the skills and expertise to address the academic challenges of underperforming students, are full partners in discussions about how best to close achievement gaps.

“Too many students in high-poverty communities attend schools that are chronically underfunded, understaffed, and low performing. These students desperately need additional targeted support in order to achieve and succeed.

“NEA is committed to helping low-performing students, and, in fact, they have become a priority for our organization. Many of these students attend what we call Priority Schools. NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign is designed to boost student achievement, particularly for low-income and minority students in struggling schools.

“We take seriously the obligation to address the challenges facing our young people. All students deserve to get the level of support they need to become educated, productive citizens in this competitive economy. They deserve access to high-quality educational resources and opportunities.

“This new report reminds us that black male students face challenges require collaboration and coordination by all of us, educators and community members alike. NEA commends CGCS not only for moving to convene a panel of esteemed leaders but also for calling for a White House conference on this very important issue. Bringing all stakeholders together is essential because raising the achievement of underperforming students is a shared responsibility.” 

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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: Stacey Grissom  (202) 822-7823;