Author Topic: Black Males and Literacy, We Should All Care  (Read 197 times)


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Black Males and Literacy, We Should All Care
« on: September 22, 2018, 12:44:06 AM »

Black Males and Literacy, We Should All Care
by William Jackson, Parent, Educator,
Community Advocate

New Town Success Zone and Vision Keepers are progressive in their goals
in outreach and positively influencing communities in Jacksonville, Florida.
Providing educational, financial, social, health and social resources that are
building the community to rise above the challenges plaguing the community.

From partnerships with MAYO Clinic to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce,
providing GED classes that are effective in increasing literacy and math skills,
employment resources and financial literacy resources to help build home
ownership and build business ownership. Each of these has an impact on
improving communities that are challenged, distressed, deserts in multiple ways. 

Experts that are willing and able to provide their services to empower their fellow
men and women. The community is just waiting to be re-energized and
re-invested coming to build the community to vibrant growth. 
There are a growing number of resources that the community has access to,
but the lack of literacy skills stops to many young men from progressing to
their talents, abilities and skills. Reading is fundamental to their success.

If a young Black man has that entrepreneurial desire to create a business he is
halted without the proper educational background. If he is employed he is
probably under-employed and cannot gain advancement because of the lack
of an educational degree, certification or license.  Certificates of Attendance
from public education do not help build young men out of poverty.

An emphasis on Black Male Literacy has many implications in changing the social
and economic challenges that Black males will face if they are not reading on
or above grade level starting in elementary school.The educational summits
around Jacksonville concerning educational literacy states Black males, because
of low literacy increases in classroom challenges that also contribute to suspensions
and expulsions.

Data found in educational journals like the National Education Association (NEA),
the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Florida Department of Education
show that African American males are reading at a much lower rates than others.
Incarcerated Black males / males of color are 70% to 80% illiterate
( Ruben Rosario). There is a truth about the connection with
illiteracy and criminal behaviors that can be seen in the jails and court rooms of all
major cities in the United States. Many states spend less than what is needed each
year on juvenile's in their juvenile justice systems and minimally address juvenile
mental illnesses and illiteracy as a holistic challenge.
Youth, teens and young adults need mental health resources and literacy tutors not
prison terms. Children are identified by their reading levels through government
agencies from assessments, but rarely are they provided tutors, alternative educational
programs outside of special education.
Increased and active programs for Black males would graduate more with high school
diplomas and ready to work, not ready to commit crimes. The programs of
"certificate of attendance" does little good for children of color because they are still
illiterate and unemployable.
Project 180, "Facts about Florida's Prisoners," shares that African American males make
up nearly half of the prison population. The majority of inmates are under educated,
72% of state prisoners test at or below GED (9th grade) level.
WJCT News  -

There is an understanding that educational programs do decrease recidivism, but
money seems not available to incorporate real change to better the lives of young men
of color. Inmates that earn a GED are less likely to return to prison because education
increases self-respect, self-worth and life goals for improvement.

Those incarcerated that can enter into vocational programs and pass, when released
are 14% less likely to return. Statistics and data like this show a need for community
programs that New Town Success Zone and Vision Keepers are implementing to
increase Black Male Literacy, increase employment opportunities and increase family

GED programs are available and a growing number of other programs are taking place
at New Town Success Zone and Vision Keepers. The works require dedicated volunteers
to put forth the work and be consistent in attending workshops.
Black men with a passion for helping their communities to grow and have a love for
reading need to get involved. Start reading clubs and literacy events focused on boys
and men.

Responsible Fatherhood
The Better Dads Society Book Club, located on Facebook in Jacksonville, Florida are
some additional resources of organizations working for positive change. The community
is already sick and tired of being sick and tired of Black males failing, now is the time to
put forth the efforts and help NTSZ and VK improve literacy levels. 

Contact New Town Success Zone and Vision Keepers on the campus of Edward Waters
College to volunteer in building readers and the love of literacy for young men of color.
Men can be the agents of change that build up their communities instead of watching the
community crumble and die. 
George Maxey (904) 470-8262
New Town Success Zone and Vision Keepers
Wm Jackson, M.Edu.
Educator, Speaker, Blogger, Parent,