Excerpts From Saving Our Sons In School: An Ultimate Guide To Understanding And Educating Young Black Males

By Richard Clay
(A Future Publication)

Two of the biggest issues that continue to turn Black males in junior high school off to the oppressive educational process are Culturally bias standardized tests and overall irrelevant school curriculum.  Unfortunately for our sons, the school curriculum throughout America’s public school system shares the common core thread of forcing Euro centric values, beliefs, culture, and worldview upon all students at every grade level.  While some call this phenomenon brainwashing, the father of Black History Month Dr. Carter G. Woodson referred to it in his appropriately titled classic book as “The Miseducation of the Negro.”  The harder teachers work to force this miseducation upon our sons, generally, the stronger their resistance and dislike for school grows.

Despite a valiant battle waged against this reality by a few prominent Black scholars and educators over the past two decades, the system has yielded only a few token changes.  The school curriculum of all public school districts, including those that are predominantly Black in terms of student population, is still designed, written, approved, and evaluated primarily by upper and middle class whites.

How does this travesty of justice occur?  Four major corporations control 64% of all of the school textbooks that are published in the U.S.  Additionally, these four corporate giants have bought out and merged with those that dominate the standardized testing industry in America, giving them unprecedented control over our sons’ school curriculum and education.

Furthermore, most of the authors who work for the textbook corporate monopolies are middle class whites who carry out the same age-old educational agendas of their white ruling class bosses.  This is why the contributions and cultural influences of important Black and other racial minority pioneers are routinely minimized or left out of school textbooks altogether.

Even in a large urban district like Detroit Public Schools where the student population is over 90% Black, the school board itself is usually predominantly Black, and all official brochures declare in big bold writing that the District implements an African-centered curriculum, the above-mentioned textbook and curriculum realities remain the same.  Most Detroit schools do not even offer a Black History class or an after school African History-Culture Club to help offset these realities.  This proves that the District’s glossy brochures are at best clever optical illusions.

School curriculum that accredits Black people with very little historic value in America outside of slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, a couple of assassinated leaders, and a few great entertainers play a key offensive role in the system’s targeted oppression of young Black males.  Such curriculum simultaneously does further unforgivable damage to their already wounded senses of self-esteem.  By justifying or ignoring the continuing oppression of Black people, devaluing our rich experiences and contributions good and bad, and failing to teach critical thinking and problem solving skills to Black students, America’s schools render themselves culturally and economically irrelevant to most of our sons.

Then there are the standardized tests, which theoretically are supposed to measure how much your child has actually learned or retained from the educational process in comparison to other students state or nationwide.  Today it is widely accepted in academic circles that most of these tests are culturally biased in favor of middle class white students, and do not truly measure one’s intellect.  In other words, most of these tests simply measure how well the students have been indoctrinated with terminology and concepts that are known to be most familiar to middle class whites.

Almost every grade level has at least one corresponding standardized test.  Public junior high and elementary school students are hit with them on top of the weekly tests that they already take in their academic classes.  I have heard many high school and junior high school students complain that the main educational problem is that school gives them too many tests, and the tests usually don’t coincide with what’s being taught in class.

In Detroit’s high schools, students at different grade levels take: the MEAP, MAP, MIP, SAT, ACT, Terra Nova, and several other random standardized tests throughout each year.  High school students spend an average two-four months preparing for these tests, and another month taking them out of a ten-month school year.  How much time can there really be allotted for meaningful learning to take place when practically half of the school year is spent preparing for and taking standardized tests that are known to be bias?

Each year, new “mandatory” tests are created and administered that insultingly poke and prod at our children’s minds.  The insulting nature of the battery of tests is reminiscent of the inhumane way that early American slave auctioneers physically poked, prodded, and tested the bodies of African slaves on auction blocks to demonstrate their stamina before selling them.

Five school years ago, Michigan’s major standardized tenth grade social studies test covered two eleventh grade classes, Global Issues and Geography, along with world history, a class that was no longer being taught at all in Detroit.  Our understandably perplexed tenth grade students who took the test either struggled through those sections doing an awful lot of guessing, or skipped them altogether.  They were penalized for doing both in terms of their overall scores.  How many parents or teachers do you think vehemently complained?  Not many.

Young Black males learn early that these tests are not used to readjust school programs or lessons to better meet their academic needs.  This gives them little incentive to try hard to pass so many standardized tests.  They learn that the tests are instead used against them in order to further segregate them into lower-tracked and Special Education classes, justify politicians’ ruthless budget cuts in the education arena, and verify what seemingly the whole world was already saying, that Black boys are dumb.  Also, despite the outcries of us few troopers, our sons learn early that neither their teachers, parents, ministers, nor community leaders are willing to stand up with them to stop or reduce all of this unnecessary testing.

Out of utter protest to the continuous bombardment of standardized tests that obviously were not designed for them to pass, many young Black males of both high and low academic skill levels rush through and fail them on purpose.  Time and time again, I have witnessed male students call their proctors over to collect their test booklets in ten minutes flat that should have taken them a half an hour to 45 minutes to complete.  Their rationale is, “Ya’ll didn’t fail me, I just decided not to play your silly testing game today.”  The nonstop barrage of standardized tests helps to choke off their constantly waning desire to learn and excel in junior high.

The great scholar and world-renowned Father of Sociology Dr. W.E.B. Dubois once said the following about the very beginning phase of standardized intelligence testing in the 1920’s.  “It was not until I was long out of school and indeed after the First World War that there came the hurried use of the new technique of psychological IQ tests, which were quickly adjusted so as to put Black folk beyond the possibility of civilization.”

One scholar who recently took a valiant stance against these tests on the behalf of our children was the late Dr. Asa Hilliard, Professor of Urban Education at Florida State University.  In an article entitled “Standards: Decoy or Quality Control,” Dr. Hilliard stated that people who use standards and outcomes as central keys for school reform are only addressing half of the problem.  He said you shouldn’t just focus on educational outcomes without improving the inputs into the educational process.

“If you are not putting more money into the schools, more resources, better training the teachers, or addressing the students’ quality of life issues, you are not changing the inputs, and it is then superficial to talk about changing the outputs.  It can’t happen, and they know it.”

On this common sense basis alone, 98% of all of the school reform plans that government officials and copycat school administrators across the country are presently proposing are superficial headlines grabbing plans that they themselves know will fail.  As the saying goes, “the wound is deep, and they’re giving us a Band-Aid.”

Dr. Hilliard went on further to state, “There is no correlation between IQ scores and achievement outcomes if you use high-level problem solving thinking as the criteria.  There is only if you use low-level thinking as the criteria.  When you get 25% of African-Americans in the Mississippi Public School System placed in classes for the mentally retarded disproportionately, and no other ethnic group shows up in those same numbers, you think that something might be wrong with the test.  If you are irrational, you think that it couldn’t be the test, and you keep on giving it.”

Dr. Hilliard blamed the republicans for pushing this flawed outcomes over inputs agenda through the educational system after they deeply cut all social welfare programs that negatively impacted Black kids.  He concluded in the article that they magically want to reform educational outputs or results without reforming how education is delivered, or the overall quality of it.

Dr. Hilliard’s article was printed in a book entitled “Failing Our Kids: Why The Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools” edited by Cathy Swope and Barboura Miner.  The book is a collection of writings from various authors that closely examines the question, “What is wrong with standardized tests?”  One of the answers provided in the book is that the tests generally only permit one correct answer, which penalizes and does not permit multiple or different perspectives.

For the most part, school is organized around this same only one answer is correct model.  Students who have different perspectives, as young Black males often do, are frequently failed or kicked out of class because their different perspectives are not to be tolerated.  Thus, standardized testing and school have become equivalent to intellectual subjugation as the system says repeatedly to students “it’s my way or the highway.”  Young Black males who love to argue and debate their points of view are often told this verbatim as their teachers kick them out of class.

For example, Daniel’s teacher tells the class that Christopher Columbus discovered America.  Daniel responds, “no he didn’t, Columbus wasn’t nothing but a thief.”  The teacher says to Daniel “no matter how you feel about him, he is accredited with discovering America.”  Daniel responds emphatically “he was a lying dog, and he didn’t discover nobody, nothing, nowhere.”

Many teachers feeling unduly challenged like this in front of their class, or not understanding the cultural rules of debate within the Black community would quickly discipline or put Daniel out.  Yet in this example, the only crimes that Daniel commits are being aware of Columbus’s true violence and theft-prone history in the Americas, and uncompromisingly speaking his opinion about him.

A traditional lesson on President George Washington might elicit the same type of intense exchange of intellectual ideas that could easily get a young Black male kicked out of class.  Imagine a teacher telling the class that President Washington was well respected as a general, a noble leader, and an honest man.  The teacher might then go into the age-old story about how Washington could not tell a lie about chopping down the cherry tree.  Little ray-ray strongly disagrees and interrupts the story with, “Nobody wants to hear about a cherry tree when Washington owned slaves with his no good self.  They say he couldn’t tell a lie, but I bet that buster told a whole bunch of lies on those Black slaves that he was beating on and sleeping with.”

The intensity of their speech, combined with their frequent use of Ebonics (Black English language), plus the great satisfaction that they take in proving their teachers wrong angers and embarrasses many teachers.  The pending race, gender, and class issues discussed throughout this guide cause many teachers to consider our sons’ strong expressions of their alternative viewpoints as them being blatantly disrespectful, disruptive, or threatening when often times this is not the case.

With all of the possible questions that standardized tests might pose about George Washington, you can bet that our sons won’t ever encounter any regarding Washington owning slaves; the issue that many of them find to be most interesting and relevant about his historic record.  Resistance to this type of intellectual subjugation drives up their already astronomical suspension rates, and further turns them against the entire educational process.

Dialogue between teachers and students along with respect for multiple perspectives must replace intellectual subjugation as an overall goal and teaching technique in our new model of education.

Consider a teacher presenting to his/her class a career that pays $25,000-$30,000 to a college graduate.  Young Muhammad isn’t buying it and says, “I know drug dealers and club strippers who make way more than that, and they haven’t been to anybody’s college.”  Surely, the rest of the class will laugh out loud and verbally agree with Muhammad.  Not all, but some thin-skinned teachers will get angry with Muhammad and immediately kick him out of class.

Actually, now that the teacher has the entire class’s full attention, this situation presents an excellent educational opportunity for everyone.  The teacher should explain to the class that this type of contradiction does happen sometimes in our society.  He/she should warn them however that the great majority of street hustlers don’t make nearly as much money as you think or they claim that they make.  They simply spend a lot of money flossing, trying to look like they have a lot of money.  Then the teacher should discuss the great freedom and life threatening dangers that drug dealers and strippers expose themselves to daily in order to survive that the career person in the lesson does not.

A wise teacher would take full advantage of this opportunity to explode and minimize the dangerous grand delusions and misconceptions that many Black students have about street life.  The teacher should understand and explain to the class that Muhammad’s expressed perspective was not wrong.  It was instead an exception to the general societal rule that he was well aware of.

Muhammad and the rest of his student peers need to learn the critical lessons that can come from such a dialogue.  Afterward, the teacher too may be better informed or more prepared to present the lesson in a thought provoking way to the next class.  On the other hand, as our sons are so proud to remind us, such dialogues often reveal that there is more than one way to view an issue, or that the teacher is just dead wrong and needs to move on.

The authors of “Failing Our Kids: Why The Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools” go on to explain that if you are a student with high-level reasoning, you are going to come up with different perspectives.  This is bound to get you into trouble in today’s below average educational environment.  Yet if you work from low-level reasoning and you give a lot of rote answers to questions, all of the teachers will like you.  You will pass all of the tests, get good grades, and have high citizenship marks.

High level reasoning enables a student to look at a multiple choice question that is poorly written, as many of them are on standardized tests, and see clearly that more than one answer could possibly be correct.  Yet that student will probably be penalized if he does not pick what has officially been deemed the one and only right answer.  The authors state that most standardized tests are clearly based on low-level reasoning skills.

Perhaps the saddest fact about standardized testing is that the vast majority of Black educators continue to support subjecting Black students to this testing process that is inherently flawed and outright corrupt from the top to the bottom.  This was clearly illustrated in the recently aired New York Times/Discovery Times video documentary entitled “Making The Grade,” which explored mind-boggling structural flaws in the nation’s standardized testing system.

This powerful video documented the new trend in so-called education reform that relies almost exclusively on standardized test scores to assess student achievement and the overall performance of each school.  This trend totally ignores students’ report card grades and demonstrated academic achievement in class throughout the school year, which strongly reinforces our sons’ core belief that all of that daily assigned school work is worthless.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires states to revamp their educational requirements to include high-stakes exit tests that will determine whether or not students are allowed to pass out of grades 3-8, and out of high school.  By tying school performance ratings solely to standardized test results, the Act calls for the firing of teachers and administrators, as well as the closing down of entire schools where students repeatedly score low on the tests.

The irony revealed in the video however is that the standardized tests that are being used to flunk the masses of Black boys, fire public school staff members, and close down public schools across the country are quite often poorly constructed and riddled with major errors.  Alert school staff members and students do actually catch some of the mistakes in time.  However, many of them are never found out.  It is a well-documented fact that annually, hundreds of thousands of K-12 public school students from all ethnic and gender backgrounds pay dearly for testing mistakes that are routinely made by the monopoly test manufacturers, and purposely overlooked by the U.S. Department of Education and the federal government.

The video highlights one huge mistake that was made in 1999 by one of the nation’s largest testing companies CTB McGraw Hill.  It almost sent 9000 New York City students to summer school unnecessarily.  Although it was caught in time, the great controversy that it sparked lead to the firing of the Chancellor of New York Public Schools.

Further research revealed that during that same year, this one highly favored company, CTB McGraw Hill, had also made enormous testing mistakes in: Nevada, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.  Blindly trusting in the company’s product, none of these states sought to learn about the mistakes made in the others and thus continued to administer the company’s faulty tests.  Oh the hypocrisy of the federal government; continuing to use CTB McGraw Hill’s tests to randomly flunk students and close schools while refusing to severely penalize the company for its incompetence, or revoke its testing licenses for causing testing fiascos in six different states in one year.

The state of Georgia experienced serious mistakes in its standardized testing process for three years straight ranging from incorrect test scoring, to answer sheets being provided that did not match the tests, to answers to the tests getting out early in computer models designed to help kids with study preparation.  With so many students at majority Black schools nationwide severely lacking adequate access to functional computers, you know that it wasn’t Black students who benefited from the early release of computerized test answers.  Georgia’s entire testing process over those three years was thus a chaotic mess that should have been shut-down or rendered completely invalid until it was fixed.  Yet Georgia knowingly continued to test its students and hold them accountable to a disastrously flawed testing process.

In Minnesota, investigative parents who followed up on their children’s poor standardized exit test scores proved that six students’ answers had been marked wrong when really the state’s answer key was wrong in each case.  Due to the persistence and commitment of just that small handful of parents, a more thorough review revealed that approximately 8 thousand high school students were incorrectly told that they had failed the same exit exam.  Fifty of them were high school seniors whose diplomas were withheld because they failed the test.  They were wrongly embarrassed, prevented from walking across the stage with their graduating classmates, and utterly humiliated by their testing experiences.

Of course they were later given their diplomas, but this was of little consolation to them.  Five of the families initiated and won a class action lawsuit against the responsible testing company.

The company that was then NCS, now changed to Pierson, had purposely slacked up on its internal quality control measures in Minnesota because the testing program there was not profitable for them.  But NCS had maintained tighter quality control measures on more profitable testing programs in other states.  In other words, Pierson’s for-profit policy was to provide a higher standard of testing to the highest state bidders, and substandard testing to the lowest state bidders.  After getting caught red-handed causing an inexcusable testing debacle like this, surely Pierson suffered significant business losses in the immediate aftermath with Minnesota and other states quickly severing all testing contracts with them, right?  Wrong!

Education officials in Minnesota admitted on camera that after this testing disaster, they stuck with Pierson because after researching all of the major standardized test developers operating in the United States, they found that all of them had made similar major mistakes in other states.  They concluded that there simply was no trustworthy or better standardized testing company to turn to.

My personal translation of their recorded public statements goes like this; since there exists no reputable national testing company that can provide our students with a valid, transparent standardized testing experience, then let’s continue to provide them with a known flawed one.  By any means necessary, the standardized testing craze must continue.

Who is making all of these mistakes, literally playing with our children’s education and lives?  Why are they doing it, and how can they possibly get away with it?

Federal governmental policies like No Child Left Behind along with other phony state sponsored school reform plans are causing the national test development market to grow by leaps and bounds each year.  Yet in this industry that generates well over one billion dollars a year, four powerful private corporations develop and score 95% of all the k-12 public school standardized tests that are administered in America.  Few to no other players are allowed to get in to the big money standardized testing game.

Riverside Publishing, Pierson, CTB McGraw Hill, and Hard-Court Educational Measurements form the unregulated, private standardized testing cartel that despite its poor performance record, is being given the unprecedented monopoly power to test already heavily regulated public schools right out of existence.  Irrespective of our sons’ grades or teachers’ evaluations of their daily academic achievement, these four private companies, whose only educational concern is to make more money off students this year than they did last year, are terribly influencing the fait of our sons’ futures.

What does this rampant testing corruption have to do with providing quality education or instituting real school reform?  What are our actions and non-actions saying about our commitment to saving young Black males in school when we continue to blindly submit them to this corrupt testing process that even they know is designed to leave them far behind?

The people who actually develop the tests for the testing cartel are called psychomatricians.  They usually have PhD’s and specialized skills in psychiatry, statistics, and test design.  There are very few of them period, and finding a Black one is like finding a needle in a haystack.

When mostly white middle-class psychomatricians construct standardized tests in the English and social studies disciplines, they all-but exclusively rely on vocabulary words, phrases, and social activities that are most common amongst white middle-class families and students.  They simply go with what they know.  This best explains why race, class, and cultural biases are built firmly into the tests.

For example, it is much more likely that our sons will encounter vocabulary analogies and questions on the tests regarding skiing, sail boating, mountain climbing, or country clubs before they will basketball, football, boxing, or recreation centers.  Comparitively, these are some of the activities that Black students would know more about.

A Boston College study of standardized testing results from 1976-2000 concluded that 66% of all testing errors have been made in the past four years, with a high increase recently occurring in the amount of human errors that are being made.  The study states that these mistakes have adversely impacted upon one and a half million students, and affected the bonuses of teachers and rankings of some four thousand schools nationally.  This means that teachers and administrators who fail to take a stance against this corrupt process may very well sacrifice their bonuses or their jobs to it.  If educators and their unions remain silent on these issues, and the above-mentioned circumstances happen to them or their schools, many people will understandably conclude that they got exactly what they deserved.

The big four members of the billion dollar testing cartel refused to be interviewed for the New York Times special, but they claimed in their defense that a few mistakes are caused by the rapid increase in the demand for new state tests faster than they can supply them.  They stated that the few number of available psychomatricians forces those whom they do have to be drastically overworked.  They said that this also prevents new companies from forming to compete with them.

I say that the testing cartel is helping conservative right-wing politicians carry out their agenda of depleting the public school system through the use of flawed, culturally bias standardized tests.  Those politicians are in-turn protecting the cartel by making sure that those four companies continue to get the bulk of the state and federal testing contracts without any problems.  Wherever you find this type of quid-pro-quo monopoly system of “you wash my back and I’ll wash yours,” financial kickbacks and payoffs usually trade hands from the corporations to the state and federal politicians who sit in key policy-making positions.  The kickbacks keep the corrupt system in tact.

Can you imagine your son with an A average or a C average in the eighth grade being held back and forced to repeat the grade because he did not pass one of the testing cartel’s bogus tests?  Even worse, imagine him failing the grade because they said that he failed their test when really he passed it.  Maybe this has already happened to one of your sons and you just don’t know it.

Some people will no doubt point out the facts that a lot of hard working young Black males pass their standardized tests every year with flying colors, and many more of them are smart enough to do the same if they fully applied themselves, or if America’s schools would make the effort to better prepare them to do so.  These points taken into consideration, the entire standardized testing process is still unacceptably and inexcusably flawed.  Until it is radically reformed, none of our sons, including those who can pass the tests should be subjected to this corrupt and bias process.

From Dr. W.E.B. Dubois in the 1920’s, to Dr. Asa Hilliard and others in more modern times, progressive Black educators have lead the fight against inadequate standardized IQ testing.  Black educators, now more than ever, young Black males need us to stand up and carry on our historic legacy of leadership in this area.

Fighting against the barrage of culturally bias standardized tests that deeply offend and infuriate our sons is going to be one tough nut to crack.  And not because the tests are needed to prove anything, but because ruling and middle-class whites have used the media to successfully brainwash both Black parents and educators alike into believing that all of these tests are so very important.  Most of them are of no importance at all.

According to the New York Times Documentary “Making The Grade,” two of the whitest states in the country, Iowa and Montana, required their students to take virtually no standardized tests before the year 2001.  During all of those decades before 2001, how many of their primarily white students do you think grew up to be miserable failures in life, couldn’t get into college, or suffered from any of that nonsense that the system scares us with simply because they didn’t take a plethora of, or even pass one standardized tests?

Similarly, it was no secret to anybody in education circles throughout Michigan that for years, many predominantly white suburban school districts and private schools opted not to take Michigan’s dreaded MEAP Test primarily because they correctly found it to have no redeeming educational value.  They were opting out of it at the same time that Michigan’s governors continued to tout the MEAP as the granddaddy of all tests to Michigan’s predominantly Black and poor white school districts.

Spineless teachers unions and district level administrators in Michigan’s majority Black school districts continued to bow-down and consent to giving the horrible MEAP test.  each year that they did, the state and the media used it against them to verify “just how dumb and academically unprepared” their students really were.

To slow down the steadily growing numbers of white school districts that were opting not to take the MEAP Test, Governor John Angler passed a law in the mid 1990’s that rerouted Michigan’s tobacco lawsuit settlement money away from health prevention services, the originally intended legal use for the money, into college scholarships for students who scored high on all areas of the MEAP test.  Just as Angler planned it, the white school districts came back online with the quickness so that their students could clean up on the MEAP-based scholarships.  It is important to note that they reengaged in the annual MEAP testing process strictly for short-term financial benefits, not for any long-term educational benefits or consequences.

To further entrench the meaningless MEAP into the state’s school curriculum, Governor Angler also arbitrarily tied MEAP scores to Annual Yearly Progress (AYP).  AYP is the severely flawed, test scores driven process by which Michigan’s schools are now evaluated, accredited, taken over, or closed down based on their continual performance on the MEAP or its replacement.

Years later, it became clear that a high percentage of Michigan’s white students were also scoring poorly overall on a much harder version of the MEAP Test.  Michigan’s response; the state Congress passed a bill into law that would totally scrap the MEAP within a couple of years and replace it with a modified version of the ACT college entrance exam.

This new test, which went into use during the 2006-2007 school year, is probably be more cleverly designed to work out best for middle class white students.  Equally as important, it proved to those students once again that their political and community leaders do at least sometimes, act decisively in their best interest.  Given that Black scholars and political leaders have had little to no input on the bill or the construction of the new test, the new test probably won’t benefit Black students anymore than prior MEAP Tests have.

As discussed earlier, President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act is significantly increasing the amount of annual standardized testing that our students are subjected to, and nationally tying school’s test scores to whether or not certain schools will remain open.  As if students and schools were not already tempted to cheat on standardized tests before, many predominantly Black schools and poorer school districts across all racial and ethnic lines that are targeted for closure by this process now feel similar to the way that many young Black males feel in class daily.  “We either cheat or get shut down, and shutting down is not an option.”  Using standardized tests to force schools into cheating or closing is a poor excuse for an educational reform plan.

Understanding clearly that No Child Left Behind is going to do far more to hinder student achievement than it will to improve the state of overall education, several states and various local school districts across the country have decided to pull out of it altogether, and not to adhere to its ridiculous requirements.  In taking this correct stance, these states and districts no that they will be denied access to some important federal government education-related funding that many of their schools desperately need.

The question that we all face now is just how much would we benefit from adhering to the No Child Left Behind Act in order to get the federal government’s attached monies?  Especially when adhering to the requirements of the Act mathematically amounts to severe state budget cuts given that it requires financially strapped state governments and their school districts to pay for many unnecessary, so-called school reforms without receiving anything close to adequate financial support from the federal government towards the implementation of those reforms.

Furthermore, the states and districts that are pulling out recognize that abiding by No Child Left Behind might in the end cost them much more financially than they will gain under the Act considering: all of their schools that will be closed, teachers that will be lay-off or fired, salaries that will be cut, positions that will be permanently eliminated, and large numbers of students that will be lost, dispersed to charter and private schools in the resulting shuffle when school districts fail to meet testing requirements.  Fighting to get our local school districts and resident states not to adhere to this treacherous Act is thus the best moral, financial, and academic action to take on the behalf of young Black males.

When organized, groups of parents, teachers, and students can successfully demand that most of these standardized tests are trashed.  Detroit’s teachers did this successfully in 2002 when their overwhelming complaints lead to the cancellation of the useless ESAT Test.  School district administrators can and should decide, or should be pressured to withdraw their schools from many of these tests.

Large urban school systems and smaller, poorer School systems will be the hardest hit by Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act.  These school systems, along with states that contain a lot of them, should make plans to pull out of adherence to the Act immediately, and begin planning how to supplement whatever government funding they will loose.  After all, as long as there still is a public school system, they can’t take away all of your school’s federal funding.

While we can through united action make great progress in halting the educational and intellectual strangulation of our sons by standardize testing, it is unlikely that we will ever get rid of all of the standardized tests that are given within America’s public schools.  New tests will steadily be introduced, and testing reduction efforts will have to remain vigilant and ongoing.

Another solution is for the Black community to unite around efforts to create and administer new, nonbiased alternative standardized tests that Black scholars play a central role in developing.