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Why Don’t Black Kids Like School? A Deeper Look Into The Popular Question…

For years people have been having been asking the question “Why don’t black kids ask school?” Some may feel the question is a little harsh, but it’s a question that definitely should be explored providing the research done on African American adolescents and school. Back in 2005, this topic was at the front of everyone’s brain as Bill Cosby was touring various cities educating parents on this issue. Although Cosby’s rants were seen as insensitive, the speeches he gave brought up many valid points. Cosby told CNN “You got to straighten up your house! Straighten up your apartment! Straighten up your child!”

Cosby points out that this problem starts before students even begin school. African American children are not getting what they need at home to be successful, starting this downward spiral at very young age school. In the article “What’s Holding Black Kids Back?” by Kay S. Hymowitz, it was found that black children are much less likely to show persistence in school tasks, to pay close attention in class, or to seem eager to learn new things than their white counterparts.

Some may argue that programs such as Head Start should be used as a solution of helping black kids catch up with their peers, however, that is not doing the trick.  It has been found while children sometimes enjoyed immediate gains in IQ and social competence of Head Start, these improvements tended to fade by the time kids hit third grade.

After research one might say the question is not why don’t black kids like school, but rather why are they not adequately prepared to succeed in school. Deny this all you want but the facts are here. According to a Schott Foundation for Public Education report only 47 Percent of black male students’ graduate high school, and the rate is lower for big cities such as Philadelphia and New York. So the question becomes where to go from here, how do we help our youth? I believe it goes back to what Bill Cosby was saying on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now .

“Talking. Talking. Parenting. Correctly parenting. That’s what it’s about. And you can’t blame other things. You got to — you got to straighten up your house. Straighten up your apartment. Straighten up your child.”

Words By: Jessica Snyder

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