Massachusetts: Black students in the Worcester public schools are in serious trouble
In the 3rd grade, 79 percent of black students were either failing math or in need of improvement; 4th grade, 83 percent; 5th grade, 74 percent; 6th grade, 72 percent; 8th grade, 82 percent; and 10th grade, 61 percent.
As bad as those percentages might be, in some cases they represent improvement over 2005.
“Obviously, the math scores bother us,” Mr. Caradonio said.
The reading-writing test scores were better, but not much.
In the 3rd grade, 78 percent of black students were either failing reading/writing, or in need of improvement. In the 4th grade, it was 73 percent; 5th grade, 76 percent; 6th grade, 61 per cent, 7th grade, 74 percent; 8th grade, 59 percent; and 10th grade, 63 percent.
The factors contributing to these troubling scores are many, including deeply rooted societal problems of poverty, ill health, bad diets, absent fathers, and drug and alcohol abuse leading to fetal alcohol syndrome and prenatal drug addiction.
Added to that daunting list are the special problems of black immigrant children from Africa and the Caribbean.
Benetta Kuffour, a teacher in the school system’s New Citizen Program, has students from Somalia, Sudan and elsewhere who have had little formal education, including one 15-year-old who had never set foot in a school before walking into her classroom.
“We have to remember that not all our black students are African-Americans,” she said. “They come from different traditions, wear different clothes, have different religious beliefs.”
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