How to improve education achievement gap for Black boys in Md.

For years, young Black boys have struggled with math and reading scores across Maryland schools, and a task force investigating the issue started releasing its initial recommendations Tuesday.

The Maryland State Board of Education set up the task force in July of last year and it’s been meeting ever since.

“Our Black boys are intelligent and capable,” said board member Vermelle D. Greene, who chairs the task force. “Like all other children, they want to learn and be successful. Yet, this will not happen if as a state education system we fail to educate them in ways that affirm their learning differences.”

Greene said the panel is working to refine and finalize its recommendations with the goal of getting local school systems across the state to try them out.

According to the task force, Black male students in Maryland are routinely the lowest scoring racial/gender group in math and reading while simultaneously having the highest suspension and expulsion rate.

Black young men have the lowest graduation rate in comparison to Black young women and other student groups, the task force said.

“Our Black boys are in crisis and they urgently need our help,” said Greene. “We must take action now.”

Recommendations include providing financial incentives to recruit and retain diverse teachers and administrators and encouraging individual schools to create single-gender classes for certain subjects.

Several systems have expressed interest in participating, including the public school systems in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Howard, Calvert, Charles and Baltimore counties.

“Despite current best efforts, there has been a perpetuation and acceptance of low academic performance for Black boys,” said Clarence Crawford, the board’s president. “The task force’s report provides a roadmap to ensure that the principles of equity are fully ingrained within an education system that delivers results for all students, including young Black male students.”

Read the task force’s recommendations.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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