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Casualties of War: Reading Science Denial and Racism’s Impact on African American Children

Strong reading skills are the foundation of all academic success, yet African American students as a group score lower on most standardized tests than white students. In spite of the 2000 National Reading Panel’s conclusions that students need direct, explicit instruction that teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, educational institutions are failing to implement the Reading Panel’s findings. University training has been inadequate, forcing K-12 systems to fill classrooms with under-prepared teachers who then receive little support, training, or aligned materials.

African American students suffer disproportionately when not taught to read using evidence-based practices that leverage research. During this provocative hour-long webinar, Kareem Weaver, Member of the NAACP Oakland Branch’s Education Committee, discusses how:

– The debate over reading philosophy has left key pillars of reading acquisition, especially critical for African-Americans, untaught
– Expectations of African American students impact the timing and tenor of interventions that could prevent reading problems
– Perceptions of intellectual capacity create a lens through which learning differences are interpreted by educators
– Racism and bias within school systems influence policy and practices and create a tolerance for failure

It is critical that schools provide African American children the same opportunities to achieve academic success as other children. This webinar provides insights into how to address the persistent issues that create the achievement gap, particularly the lack of quality, evidence-based reading instruction.

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