The lost boys: from Baltimore to Jena
I met this morning with Edwin Johnson and Carl Stokes, two of the founders of the Bluford Drew Jemison Math Science Technology Academy, Baltimore's new charter middle school for boys. Four days a week, the school has a 12-hour academic day, an attempt to keep its students off the city's dangerous streets and out of trouble.
Johnson and Stokes are also heavily involved at Dunbar High School, one of the Baltimore's magnet high schools with stringent admissions requirements. At Dunbar, a historically African-American school, there are more than twice as many girls as boys because there aren't enough qualified male applicants. The charter middle school is an attempt to change that.
Back in the office, over lunch at my desk, I read this blog post on Jena 6 by Byron Williams, a syndicated columnist and pastor in Oakland, Calif. In it he suggests that the six boys from Jena, La., instead be called the American 6, since their case serves as a microcosm of our society. He cites a disturbing report from the Urban League about incarceration. Among the findings: African-American men in the United States are three times more likely than white men to face jail once they have been arrested. African-American men receive jail sentences on average 15 percent longer than white men convicted of the same crime.
How do you think our education and criminal justice systems can be reformed to produce better outcomes for African-American males? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.