Algernon Austin presents an excellent, concise, and wonderfully read scholarly examination of the complicated landscape of race, class and popular perception. Besides the prison industrial complex, black strides in education, poverty rates, crime and other indices contradict claims that blacks are “moving backward.”
--Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Director, Institute for African American Studies, University of Connecticut and author of Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press), 2004 and Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (University Press of Kansas), 2007.
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While Bill Cosby, Juan Williams and John McWhorter have been condemning blacks for not valuing education, black students have been going to college in growing numbers. Between 1994 and 2004, blacks increased the number of bachelor’s degrees they earned by 56 percent. The number receiving associate’s degrees went up by a remarkable 78 percent, according to Department of Education data. The College Board reports that half of blacks taking the SAT are the first in their family to attempt to enroll in college. This means that large numbers of working class and poor blacks—the very people Cosby and company are condemning—are trying to go to college. Cosby, Williams and McWhorter simply have their facts wrong.
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All racial groups, not only blacks, are going to college in increasing numbers. How are blacks doing relative to other groups? When we look at the share of all degrees going to blacks, we find significant positive movement. In 1994, 7.2 percent of all bachelor’s degrees went to blacks. By 2004, black students increased their share to 9.4 percent. In 1994, 8.6 percent of all associate’s degrees went to blacks. By 2004, black students increased their share to 12.2 percent. Once again, the facts about black student achievement differ greatly from what the pundits are saying.
In addition to this story missed by the pundits and the rest of the media, the current issue of the Thora Institute’s Black Directions newsletter discusses:
• Why the Claim of a 50 Percent Black High School Graduation Rate is Wrong
• The Evidence that Black Standardized Test Scores are Rising
• The Actual Facts about the State of Black English
• Two Programs Proven to Increase Black Educational Achievement
To order this issue of Black Directions, send a check or money order for $9 made out to “Thora Institute LLC” to “Truth about Black Students,” Thora Institute LLC, P.O. Box 367, New Haven, CT 06513-0367.
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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.
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