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Every Child in Focus—African-American Child

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In February, National PTA’s Every Child in Focus campaign centers on the African-American Child. Using the PTA National Standard for Family-School Partnerships, we will explore ways PTAs can welcome and support African-American families in the school community.

We have created information and resources on the unique challenges African-American children face and ways PTAs can better support African-American families in achieving student success.

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How Your PTA Can Better Support African-American Children

  • Read our PTA One Voice Blog for PTA Success Stories and additional resources. You can also share your blog! We want to hear local and state PTA success stories on supporting children with special needs, how do you promote an environment that is welcoming to all children and parents. Use our blog share tool to tell us your story.
  • Share the Parents' Guides to Student Success. These standards provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade in order to be prepared for college and career.

About African American Children and Families

  • In 2012, there were more than 10.2 million Non-Hispanic Black children under age 18 living in the United States or 14% of the U.S. child population.
  • Approximately 40% of Non-Hispanic Black children under age 18 live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.
  • In 2009-2010, 34% of Non-Hispanic Black high school students were not graduating on time.
  • In 2009-2011, 51% of Non-Hispanic Black children ages 3 to 4 were not attending preschool.
  • In 2011, 87% of 8th Non-Hispanic Black 8th graders scored below proficient in math level.
  • In 2011, 84% of Non-Hispanic Black 4th graders scored below proficient in reading level.
  • Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Special Education Programs for Fall 2008 show that although African Americans represented just 15% of all students, they represented 21% of students in the special education category of specific learning disabilities, 29% in the category of emotional disturbance, and 31% in the category of mental retardation.
  • African-American students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as their white peers without disabilities to be expelled or suspended.
  • Although African-American students represent 15% of students in the CRDC, they make up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of those suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled.
  • More than 50% of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement are Hispanic or African-American.

(Source: KIDS Count Data Center of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights)

About Every Child in Focus

National PTA’s Every Child in Focus is a campaign centered on strengthening family engagement in schools by celebrating important cultural distinctions and achievements, while highlighting solutions to potential educational issues. 

Each month, National PTA will spotlight the educational issues surrounding a particular group, highlight their accomplishments and focus on ways to foster Family-School Partnerships. Follow our Every Child in Focus Calendar for materials to help families and PTAs learn more about each group.