Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: The Black-White Achievement Gap

The Black-White Achievement Gap: Why Closing It Is the Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

The Black-White Achievement Gap: Why Closing It Is the Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time is a book that tackles what the authors, Rod Paige (former U.S. Secretary of Education) and his sister, Elaine Witty, Ed.D, see as the greatest civil rights issue of our day, the academic achievement gap between African-American and non-African-American children. Witty takes the entire educational, social and political establishment to task for their failure to recognize this as the greatest problem facing African-Americans today and calls for a concerted effort by "Authentic African-American Leadership" to do something about it. While recognizing that the gap has many historical causes going all the way back to slavery, the authors clearly state that the past cannot be changed, but the future can.  While many cite a panoply of social ills as contributing to the gap, the book points out that waiting to cure those social ills before closing the achievement gap simply assures that another generation of African-American youth will be subjects of that gap.

During the civil rights era, the African-American leadership and the African-American people were united in fighting a named enemy, an enemy that was clearly blocking access to full participation in American society.  Today, they opine, the Black-White achievement gap is THE issue which must be addressed if African-Americans, as a whole, are going to become fully equal members of society.  However, instead of mounting an all-out attack on this achievement gap, African-American leaders and African-Americans in general, while they may decry the gap, do little but maintain the status quo. They put effort into fighting battles like removing Confederate flags which have little effect on the life of the average African-American.  They fight voucher programs or other ideas that remove power from the teacher's unions.  

The book is filled with statistics but most are concentrated in one chapter.  I found it a fascinating look at what is happening in education today.  This is definitely a book I would recommend.  Grade:  A.

I'd like to thank The B & B Media Group for sending me a complimentary review copy.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting.... I'll have to look for that one


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