It is no secret that the American educational system produces an achievement gap that leaves the average black high school graduate reading at the level of the average white eighth-grader. To be honest, I am living proof of this. When I entered my first year of college, I wasn’t even able to properly write a paper. I had to work 10 times harder than the white students, who constituted 95% of the class, just to be average.
It is also very evident that black, Latino, and immigrant children who attend underfunded schools and are from poor families don’t necessarily possess the same resources to allow them to efficiently compete against students from white, prosperous communities. For this reason, statistics show that white students tend to test higher than these minority groups.
We all know that black children are not intellectually inferior to white students, so why is it that whites tend to test and score better than blacks?
Well, there are many factors that play a role in a child’s ability to learn and retain information. For instance, the environment or culture that the child is raised in plays a significant role in how well that child is likely to do in school. The earlier a child is exposed to academia: science, math, reading, and writing, the more likely that child is to excel in their studies. Many white parents start exposing their children to reading and writing as early as 2-months-old.
When I was growing up, children that young were typically thrown in front of a television in an attempt to keep them quiet and calm, while their mothers were doing other things. I simply can’t recall a point, in the 33 years that I’ve been blessed on this planet, where I’ve seen blacks collectively emphasize and prioritize their young one’s education.
I remember reading an article that highlighted the statistics of black children that weren’t exposed to science until they’d started school. Those students struggled, especially in science, throughout their academic career. On the other hand, white children were introduced to science before they were a year old and flourished in school.
But the fact is that it’s a little more to the issue than black children merely not being exposed to education in their early years. When a child takes an IQ test, which includes: standardized tests, ACT, and even the SAT, there are cultural biases designed within the test that impacts the vocabulary, reading comprehension, mathematical reasoning, and spatial reasoning portions of the tests. What this means is that the origins of intelligence tests (IQ) were designed to challenge “test takers to draw analogies from white culturally specific proverbs.” And individuals unfamiliar with those proverbs would fail, giving whites that are culturally aware of or affiliated to those proverbs an advantage. So in most cases, black students don’t do as well as whites on IQ tests because culturally they aren’t learning, seeing, or experiencing the same things.
The differences in language (vocabulary) between blacks and whites are exemplary of how culture challenges a student’s ability to score well on IQ tests. Now understand that this doesn’t mean that blacks are not as smart as whites. This only shows how culturally biased the IQ tests are, and for this reason, black students aren’t scoring as well as whites on them.
The fact is that even though IQ tests are bias towards people of color, they are key in American school systems. And as long as a child of color is apart of that system, they have to learn and test the same way as white students. One of the most important elements in a child’s learning is to start them early.
Children that start learning as early as 6-months-old are more likely to do well in school than those that start much later. They typically don’t struggle to learn like many other children, and are more likely to be successful in their overall lives.
My baby was taught to recite the alphabet, count to ten, and recognize several colors when she was a year old. Now at 2, she is learning to read and it’s amazing. Her dad and I made the decision to give her the most important thing that we never had growing up: an efficient education.
I simply didn’t want her growing up with reading and comprehension issues like I had. I remember vividly how it felt to struggle to read when I should have been reading fluently. I was ashamed to read aloud in my classes because others would giggle as I struggled. I felt completely incompetent, and it hurt my self-confidence as a child.
I refuse to allow my daughter to share that experience with me. So I started her on the Children Learning Reading program. I am so proud of my daughter. The Children Learning Reading program is teaching her to read, and as a result, she has been reading Big Hair, Don’t Care. Honestly, I am beyond amazed by her. Not only is she learning to love the skin that she’s in and the hair she’s been blessed with, she is also essentially teaching herself to be confident by reading black inspirational books. Now of course she is still learning, and part of learning is struggling, but she refuses to give up. She keeps going everyday and it is a beautiful sight to see.
The bottom line is as African-American parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children with the tools and resources necessary for them to compete in school. We cannot rely on the educational system to teach our children everything that they need to know in order to pass the tests that are putting them in an inferior position in society.
While most of us have no reservations with purchasing things that don’t contribute towards our children’s future, we should be equally or more than willing to sacrifice and invest in making academia easier for them. Whether it’s the Children Learning Reading program or something else, start investing in your kids’ education now.
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