Demographics about African Americans/Blacks according to the U.S. Census (2016)
- Makeup 13.3% of the US population.
- African American/Black communities are not a monolith, but consists of culturally diverse groups that include descendants of chattel slavery in America, immigrants from African nations, the Caribbean, and Central America etc.
- The population of immigrants from African nations has risen by 63%.
- 16% of African American/Black children have a foreign born parent.
Rate of disproportionality according to the U.S. Census (2016)
- 27% of African Americans/Blacks live below the poverty level compared to 10.8% of non-Hispanic Whites.
- 30% of African Americans/Blacks homes are female headed households as compared to 9% of White households.
- 40% of the U.S. homeless population consists of African Americans/Blacks.
- 40% of African American/Black children below the age of 18 are living in poverty.
- 1 in 3 African Americans/Blacks receives needed mental health services.
School Climate Data IUSD 2018-2019
The California Department of Education (2020) data uncovered some strengths about the African American/Black student population; namely the drop-out rate is 0% and the high school graduation rate is 93%. However, while African American/Black students make up 2% of the IUSD student population, there is over representation in suspension rates (4.7%) and chronic absenteeism (12%). Additionally, 33% of African American/Black graduating high school students meet UC/CSU requirements.
- African Americans/Blacks often receive poorer quality of services that are not culturally competent.
- There is a prevailing sense of distrust towards systems and services born out of them.
- Lack of diverse representation among service personnel, staff, and providers.
- Lack of implementation of culturally sensitive and competent approaches.
What is needed?
According to the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), in order to effectively improve outcomes for African American/Black children and their families, we must embark on a paradigm shift that moves away from a deficient model to one that is strengths-based. Moreover, engagement is more effective when it values and taps into cultural-based practices and resources that already exists within communities. NBCDI offers a suggested framework that is called the 4Es, which stand for exploration, expectation, education, and empowerment (Iruka, 2013). The strategies mentioned in the welcome message will incorporate the 4Es when engaging with families in the following ways:
- Exploring the wealth of meaningful cultural adaptations and practices that exists in African American/Black communities and translate them into resources and skills.
- Expecting and encouraging parents to be intentionally and proactively engaged in their students’ education. This will be facilitated by providing mechanisms for engagement that are responsive to cultural context and family needs.
- Educating parents about how to navigate systems and advocate for their children.
- Empowering parents by providing them with tools to help them effectively cope with parenting challenges and exercise their sense of agency.
Iruka, I. (2013). The Black Family: Re-Imagining Family Support and Engagement. https://www.nbcdi.org/sites/default/files/resource-files/Being%20Black%20Is%20Not%20a%20Risk%20Factor_0.pdf
The California Department of Education. (2020). Data Quest: School Climate Data and Graduation Rates. https://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/
U.S. Census Bureau (2016). U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts selected: United States. www.census.gov 2
U.S. Census Bureau (2016). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015. https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.html 3 U.S. Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau (2016). 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.... 4
U.S. Census Bureau (2016). Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015 https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/ publications/2016/demo/p60-257.pdf