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2012 National Conference: Opening Plenary Session Part II

Why the Middle School Years Matter for Black Boys Opening Session for the “Middle School Matters: Improving the Life Course of Black Boys” Symposium

Hosted by CDF and ETS (Educational Testing Services) the “Middle School Matters: Improving the Life Course of Black Boys” symposium is devoted to the challenges faced by our nation’s 1.5 million Black boys between the ages of 9–13. During the middle school years (fourth–eighth grade), children are experiencing a period of significant academic and developmental transition. For the first time in their lives, middle school students are expected to take responsibility for their own studies and school experiences. Many Black boys, however, enter these school years facing additional developmental and social challenges.

The goals of this symposium are to explore the ways we can create a positive school environment for young Black boys, address the social challenges they face and enable them to flourish during these critical developmental years.

This opening session will explore the connections between the achievement gap and later life outcomes for Black boys and young men in the United States, and focus in particular on the critical middle school years for Black boys between the ages of 9 - 13. Teachers, school administrators, community members and policy makers all must play active roles in addressing the achievement gap. The panelists will provide a holistic understanding of why the middle school years matter so much in the educational and life trajectories of young Black boys, and lay a foundation for the symposium’s subsequent discussions.

Moderator:

  • Michael Nettles, Ph.D., Sr. Vice President & Edmund W. Gordon Chair, ETS Policy Evaluation & Research Center

Speakers:

  • Geoffrey Canada, President & CEO, Harlem’s Children Zone, Chair, CDF Board of Directors
  • The Rev. Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Ph.D., President, Morehouse College – Atlanta, Ga.
  • Ronald Mason, Jr., President, Southern University System – Baton Rouge, La.

 

Senior Vice President and head of the Early Childhood Research Center Michael Nettles calls the audience to action at the CDF’s 2012 National Conference by remind that black boys need our help now and the problem is not bigger than all of us advocating together. This is a short clip from the “Why the Middle School Years Matters” symposium hosted by the CDF and Educational Testing Services (ETS) at the CDF’s 2012 Nation Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over 3,000 activists came to get their marching orders, and now you can too. This is just a clip -- the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Michael Nettlesis Senior Vice President and the Edmund W. Gordon Chair of ETS’s Policy Evaluation and Research Center (PERC), and heads up the Early Childhood Research Center. Nettles has a national reputation as a policy researcher on educational assessment, student performance and achievement, educational equity, and higher education finance policy. His publications reflect his broad interest in public policy, student and faculty access, opportunity, achievement and assessment at both the K–12 and postsec¬ondary levels. His current professional activities include serving as a member of the National Research Council Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA). Nettles is a member of the Bank Street College of Education Board of Trustees. He also serves on the Board of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Center on Research on Teaching and Learning (CRTL); the Joint Advisory Board for Education Research Centers in the state of Texas; the Board of the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice (CERPP) at the University of Southern California; the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (NCIEA), Inc.; the Harvard University Medical School’s Office of Diversity and Community Partnership Research Council; and the Advisory Board of the Community Links Foundation. Nettles also served for a decade on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees and develops policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Nettles earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Tennessee. He received a master’s degree in political science and higher education, and a Ph.D. in education from Iowa State University.


 

We have to focus on saving our black boys in the middle schools between ages 9-13, and president and chief executive officer for Harlem Children’s Zone and CDF chair Geoffrey Canada knows how. He maps it out clearly during the “Why the Middle School Years Matters” symposium hosted by the CDF and Educational Testing Services (ETS) at the CDF’s 2012 Nation Conference. The session explores the connection between the achievement gap and later life outcomes for Black boys and young men with a focus on the critical middle school years between 9 and 13. Canada and a panel of experts lay out the solutions. This is just a clip -- the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Geoffrey Canada chairs the Children’s Defense Fund’s board of directors and is recognized nationally for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. Since 1990, Canada has been the president and chief executive officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in New York City, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In October 2005, Canada was named one of "America’s Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report and in 2011 was named to Time Magazine’s "Time 100" list of the world’s most-influential people.


 

The Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin is the 10th president of Morehouse College and proud of his students, but he wants others to be instructed, challenged and inspired, and he’s ready for action. Putting role models into our schools, in the front of the class, he says, can make all the difference. Franklin expounds on this during the “Why the Middle School Years Matters” symposium hosted by the CDF and Educational Testing Services (ETS) at the CDF’s 2012 Nation Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. “It matters that they have teachers who care,” he says. “It matters that they have teachers that look like them.” Black male teachers, peer tutoring and community involvement are just some of his solutions on engaging our Black boys in the critical middle schools ages between 9 and 13. This is just a clip -- the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin is the 10th president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously, he served as the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Social Ethics at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and President of the Interdenominational Theological Center. He also served as a Program Officer in the Human Rights and Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation. Franklin is the author of three books, Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities (2007), Another Day’s Journey: Black Churches Confronting the American Crisis (1997), and Liberating Visions: Human Fulfillment and Social Justice in African American Thought (1989). Franklin is currently co-editing with Timothy Jackson the Cambridge Companion on Martin Luther King, Jr.


 

President and chief executive officer for Harlem Children’s Zone and CDF chair Geoffrey Canada lays out the disparate treatment of Black boys in our school system and how we change it. “We have to break down this break down the belief system,” says Canada, “that says that’s so quick to say … ‘you’re a criminal, you’re a bad student.’” This the same belief system that puts Black boys into the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™ but Geoffrey Canada shares some workable solutions on this panel during the “Why the Middle School Years Matters” symposium hosted by the CDF and Educational Testing Services (ETS) at the CDF’s 2012 Nation Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Canada and a panel of experts lay out the solution and organizational direction to help you, your church group or community organization get busy stopping the Cradle to Prison Pipeline™. This is just a clip -- the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Geoffrey Canada chairs the Children’s Defense Fund’s board of directors and is recognized nationally for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. Since 1990, Canada has been the president and chief executive officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in New York City, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In October 2005, Canada was named one of "America’s Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report and in 2011 was named to Time Magazine’s "Time 100" list of the world’s most-influential people.


 

From Thomas Jefferson’s Wolf to Jim Crow to the War on Drugs, America’s business model is mass incarceration designed to drive black men to prison and exploit them as a source of labor – Ron Mason, president of the Southern University System reveals four ways to reverse the during the “Why the Middle School Years Matters” symposium hosted by the CDF and Educational Testing Services (ETS) at the CDF’s 2012 Nation Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is just a clip -- the entire session is available for purchase by itself or as a full DVD set from the Children’s Defense Fund’s National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ronald Mason is president of the Southern University System. He previously was president of Jackson State University (JSU). As president of the Southern University and A&M College System, he serves as the chief executive officer and provides oversight for the System’s five campuses. Mason has more than 30 years of experience in the higher education, community development and legal fields. Ever mindful of the social and economic barriers that stand in the way of educational opportunities for the underserved and Black men in particular, Mason spearheads an initiative that partners Southern University of New Orleans and Jackson State University. The initiative, “Five-Fifths Agenda for America,” is a demonstration project with the goals of bringing truth to the conversation about the relationship between America and Black men, increasing the number of college degrees among Black men, and increasing the number of Black male teachers. Prior to JSU, Mason was at Tulane University where he was Senior Vice President, general counsel, and Vice President for Finance and Operations. Mason holds membership on the White House Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Incorporated, and TMSF and NAFEO boards. Mason studied at Columbia University.