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Oakland Educators Struggle to help African American Boys

Oakland, CA-Oakland school officials say they’re planning a series of workshops to address problems that keep African American boys from succeeding.

Recent reports from the Urban Strategies Council show that 33% of African American boys in middle school are suspended at least once compared to six percent of white boys. And more than half of African American boys in the district are at risk of dropping out once they get to high school.

Chris Chatmon directs the district’s African American Male Achievement Office. He says new pilot programs, like Manhood Development classes, make a difference.

“For the boys that are participating in that cohort or that treatment compared to the boys that are not,” Chatmon says, “there’s improved attendance, there’s actually improved grade point average and a decrease in disciplinary issues.”

Chatman says the programs give the boys a sense of community and helps them deal with problems in their lives.

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