The lack of interest that black youth have in school…What contributing factors led to this problem?
By: Taren Vaughan
Many years ago, African Americans were not allowed to eat in the same restaurants, use the same public restrooms, play on the same sports teams or attend the same schools as Caucasian Americans. That situation has truly changed for us. In today’s world, our educational opportunities have improved drastically. We have opportunities to go to school and better ourselves, become more knowledgeable not only in the area of academics but about life itself. A vast majority of us are seeking higher education, getting college degrees and attending graduate and professional school.
So if we have all of these opportunities right in front of us, when it comes to educating ourselves, then why is it that the black youth of America don’t take advantage of them?
Receiving a good education should be a top priority for everyone because no one can take what you learn away from you; it stays with you forever. It should especially be a priority for our younger generation seeing as though they will be the future of our country. Unfortunately, graduation rates for high schools is still at a low. Data collected by The Alliance For Excellent Education showed that African American high school students have an overall graduation rate of 51 percent, putting us second to last with Native Americans who are at the very bottom of the list. A large amount of today’s youth are more focused on what they are putting on their feet rather than what they are putting in their heads.
But why is it that they have gone astray from their school books?
There are a number of contributing factors that cause this to happen. Family backgrounds can have either a positive or negative impact on how serious a student takes their education. If a student comes from a family where no one has anything beyond a high school diploma, they may work harder when it comes to achieving in the classroom and find true meaning behind doing well in school. Being a member of a family who does not value education at all can cause a person to develop a nonchalant attitude towards school, leading them to barely maintain decent grades.
Family members aren’t the only influential people when it comes to how some of us view our education. Peers can encourage you to do well in school; complimenting one another on how well each other does on an assignment or forming study groups for tests. But then there are those “friends” who think that getting good grades is uncool. Aside from being labeled by your schoolmates, a pure lack of interest can be the cause of a person not completing their education. School is just not for everyone and that’s one thing we must all understand.
Now of course all of our youth have not lost their focus when it comes to education. There are plenty of very talented and driven young men and women out there who are doing very positive things in their schools and within their communities. By acting as mentors, we can encourage our youth to seek higher education and remind them that the more knowledge that they gain, the more options they will have when it comes to career choices.