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No one understands your child like you do, so when it comes to their education, your input from the onset is vital in staging their course to success. Statistics show that by fourth grade, African American boys are poorly or improperly assessed leading to Special Education programs; at a disproportionately higher rate than other races (Schott Foundation for Public Education).

You as a parent can divert this trend, by communicating with the teachers your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to agree to recommendation without utilizing every resource available to substantiate their assessment. Often, we as parents think that just because recommendations are made by authoritative figures, they are final.

The final decision is up to you whether to merely accept their findings, or to explore every avenue available to your child’s education within that district.

As a parent of a “Black male”, I was forewarned about the disparities amongst African American males in education and soon experienced it. My son was recommended for special education within the first few weeks fourth grade. I refused to accept those findings, because I knew my son’s learning abilities and he it usually took him a few weeks to get acclimated. Much to the teachers disliking, I rejected her findings, made my recommendations including tutoring (provided free of charge depending on the school’s grading system) and by the end of the semester, he had exceeded the teachers expectations.

It is more than a coincidence that there is a direct correlation of African American males placed in special educations programs by fourth grade and new construction of prisons based on current fourth grade reading levels (Black Boys and Special Education- Change is Needed” report of Teachers of Color/Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, 2009). The path to special education may lead to prison, so beware of such findings and make sure that your child is indeed in need of such programs. For these programs are designed and have helped millions of children to overcome their disabilities and excel in education. It’s just that with a graduation rate of only 28% of African American boys in special ed, you want to make sure, that he wasn’t sought, caught and brought on the path towards prison by being poorly assessed by someone who doesn’t know him like you do.

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