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Are Early Interventions the Key to Ending the Black Male Education Crisis?

Scholars say we need to focus intervention efforts for black boys on pre-K through third grade, but the methods raise plenty of questions.

With only eight percent of black male eighth graders enrolled in schools in urban areas scoring "proficient" on reading tests, and only 10 percent scoring "proficient" in math, intervention programs usually focus on boosting black male middle and high school results and improving high school graduation rates. However, a solution to the black male education crisis offered at a recent symposium held by the Education Testing Service and the Children's Defense Fund suggests a different approach: Reaching young black males when they're much younger—between pre-K and third grade.

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Advanced Kindergarten Gives Denver Kids a Boost

A seven-year-old program is putting kids on an accelerated learning pace, while at the same time bringing extra money into the public school system.


If a great kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000, then Denver's seven-year-old "advanced kindergarten" program could certainly be valued at a few million. According to data from Denver Public Schools, as reported by Education News Denver, students schooled in one of the classes, offered in eight area schools, eventually grow into the top elementary school kids in the city.

This year, 459 students applied for the one of 200 spots in advanced kindergarten, which employs individualized learning to send many of its kids to first grade already reading and doing arithmetic at a second-grade level. In fairness, it's not all the classroom experience: The majority of these students arrive in advanced kindergarten already reading. Many of the parents are willing to drive their kids across town to be in the classes—implying that there is solid push toward learning coming from the home.

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