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CBCF Rep. Danny K. Davis To Discuss Report On Black Male Academic Achievement

Created on Wednesday, 18 June 2008 00:00

WASHINGTON – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and Rep. Danny K. Davis of Illinois will release on Thursday, June 19, the results of a comprehensive report exploring key factors impacting academic outcomes for African-American males during a forum on Capitol Hill.

The report, “Breaking Barriers: Plotting the Path to Academic Success for School-age African-American Males,” analyzes academic success indicators from national surveys that together give voice to nearly 5,800 pupils from schools across the country. “Breaking Barriers” suggests policy solutions that will assist policymakers, educators, school advocates, families and others in enabling African-American males to have greater success in the classroom and afterward.

The report’s findings will be released and discussed at a breakfast forum in Room HC-6 of the U.S. Capitol Building at 8 a.m. Panelists will include Rep. Davis, a leader in Congress on legislation aimed at supporting the academic and emotional growth of black pupils; Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., CBCF’s president and chief executive officer; Leslie Fenwick, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University School of Education; and the author of “Breaking Barriers,” Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., a CBCF senior research analyst and an assistant professor of education at Howard.

“Contributors to this report have been careful to focus findings on meaningful solutions, rather than recapping problems. We want to plot a path to academic success for black males, rather than cast a spotlight on their failures,” said Dr. Scott, who wrote the foreword for “Breaking Barriers.”

Dr. Fenwick writes in the report’s preface: “‘Breaking Barriers’ provides a fresh perspective and in-depth analysis of the social, emotional and cognitive factors that contribute to African-American male students’ well being and school success. The report recommends policy advocacy that supports educational equity and holistic opportunities to learn – the centerpiece of which is access to quality teachers and supportive learning environments.”

According to its executive summary, the major findings of “Breaking Barriers” focus on factors in four key areas: personal and emotional, family, social and environmental and school.

“This is my seminal work on black men and is likely to empirically support many existing programs and lead to new initiatives to promote positive school engagement among black males,” Dr. Toldson said.

“Breaking Barriers” also features samples from “A Mile in My Shoes,” a writing project that calls on 7th-to 12th-grade black boys to define themselves, their world, their hopes, and their dreams.

“With education, I know I can go beyond my wildest dreams. With help from my teachers, family, and friends, the sky is the limit!” writes 8th-grader Zaniriusz Chambers.

Zaniriusz lives in a community with a dropout rate above 50 percent for black males, but aspires to graduate from college and return to his neighborhood to “build a new playground,” make sure “every family has air conditioners and heaters” and “get rid of criminals and gangs.”

Space at the “Breaking Barriers” breakfast forum is limited. Those wishing to attend are urged to RSVP to Dr. Toldson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more about this event and other Congressional Black Caucus Foundation events and activities, visit the CBCF Web site at or call (202) 263-2800.