Black Male perception, of Secondary School Attainment and Opportunities. "Explore reasons for the academic underachievement of black males. To what extent is this due to ethnic differences?"

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Black Male perception, of Secondary School Attainment and Opportunities.

"Explore reasons for the academic underachievement of black males. To what extent is this due to ethnic differences?"

During this essay the ethnic group referred to as African/Caribbean are those who have a Black African or Caribbean ancestry only. This is referred to as an ethnic group and not a race. The term racism in this essay refers to systematic discrimination both within the structures of the institution of schooling and interaction between individuals based on negative perception of assumed racial characteristics

The aim of my project is to investigate the reasons and experiences faced by black males that determine their success and failure in school. I will be assessing Black males in English state secondary schools. The word “ethnic” is my focus word in this essay. There are vivid distinctions between those of different ethnicities who in which as classified as the same race. For instance Afro Caribbean’s perform considerably poorer than black Africans. Since the 1960s Afro-Caribbean children have been labelled and identified as underachievers (see Taylor; 1981, Tomlinson; 1983). I am concerned primarily with Black males as they have been identified as the social group with having negative experiences within mainstream secondary educational institutions (Sewell). Recently, efforts have been made across the country to respond to the underachievement of black males in education.  Over the years the issue of underachievement for black males has become increasingly prolific.  These initiatives fall into three categories. Firstly many sate schools have recognised the gap within the attainment of young Black boys, so they have introduced Aim Higher schemes for those who are largely underrepresented in higher education and at a disadvantage in the education system purely because of their gender and ethnicity. Secondly, related initiatives have been developed to encourage these students to focus on careers. These efforts provide specific units, activities, or courses to help these students understand specialised workplace requirements. Thirdly, the specialist workplace introduction of vocational courses within secondary schools is an example of this second initiative.  Work experience is still compulsory in the secondary school, not only preparing for the work place but ensuring every single student has enough experience to get at least a low skilled job. The presence of the work experience is the third initiative; it still remains in this secondary school whereas it has been abolished in most schools.          


Social context race McGuire.

Pseudo-scientific biological theories of race are possibly the stem of all racism. Perhaps this leads to the substandard teaching of those which are black. Giroux talks about the legacy of colonisation and enslavement and how this was justified through the argument of biological theories. Superiority of races become internalised through years of, the colour of your skin (being Black African) being a result of slavery and oppression.

Institutional racism is covert, so it is hard to detect due to it being large establishments, it is disassociated with the individual committing these acts. “It originates in the institutions of established and respected forces in the society and receives less public condemnation.” This can occur in schools for example where teachers may not provide a professional service to student because of the colour or ethnic origin. It is “discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people

Policies on institutional racism in education, allowed equality within schools. The Swann report called for “Education for all.” This was to implement multicultural teachings into the curriculum. Swann gathered through his research that racism had a casual effect on the educational underachievement. The Macpherson report was based on the Metropolitan Police Service, regarding the case of Stephen Lawrence.  The MacPherson Report also recommended that the National Curriculum in schools should be adapted to reflect society by valuing cultural diversity. This was also a recommendation of the Swann Report, 1985, which was made impotent by the Education Reform Act, 1988.

Black Caribbean students as they tend to perform worse than every other ethnic group, perhaps marginally better gypsy/Roma boys. ‘Black Caribbean pupils subjected to institutional racism in English schools which can dramatically undermine their chances of academic success according to a new study.

Social Justice in schools by Louis Archer

Social justice means engaging with issues of social inequality. Though this term is more complex as equality, equity and fairness holds a different meaning to all. Young (2000) and Fraser (1997) usefully identified the three main features of social justice:

Relational justice: this is about ensuring cultural recognition and respect. It refers to fair and just relationships within society

Distributive justice: this concerns the allocation and distribution of material goods and resources within society. It about making sure the economics, cultural and other resources are shared out equitably.

Associational justice: this refers to people’s ability to have a say and participate in decisions that affect their own lives. It’s about ensuring that people are enabled to be active and equitable participants in society.

The UK and the USA identify the issue of ethnic minority’s education underachievement differently. The issue of race tends to take “centre-stage” of American education policy discourse. The UK hasn't been as prolific with their race/ethnicity education debates (Gilborn 2008.) In modern day education issues around ethnicity are generally due to the gap in achievement. Most of the concerns expressed have been regarding Afro Caribbean males as they perform poorest compared to their ‘opponents’ (see DfES 2006 a/b) Achievement tables are now more aware the effect of the homogenisation of ethnic minorities under a single title as a race. For example white students are white British, Irish and Gypsy Roma children, all in whom receive very different results.

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There is research evidence to show that social justice isn't always exercised by teachers. As it has been seen that a main issue facing ethnic minority students is racial stereotyping. This causes teachers to label student which means they are likely to hold little expectations of the student especially for black male students. Sewell 1997 found that teachers often interpreted black males in schools as being aggressive and troublesome due to the stereotypes they had viewed were black males were macho and hyper-heterosexual. This is said to be rooted in “historical racist representations of blackness” – (Hooks 1992) (Mama 1995.) ...

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