Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child

Oct 1, 2013

Including nine essays from experts and five "points of proof" organization case studies, this publication challenges the prevailing discourse about black children and intends to facilitate a conversation around strengths, assets, and resilience. It addresses the needs of policymakers, advocates, principals, teachers, parents, and others.

  • Prior studies of child development have overlooked assets among minority children. New findings show that, overall, minority children show strengths in at least two domains of development: social competence and language.
  • The human capacity building stance requires schools to shift their focus from identifying and sorting talent to developing talent. This approach sees diversity in students' backgrounds and experiences as sources from which to glean their assets.
  • The results of high-quality early education are significant -- but not sufficient. There is potential to improve outcomes if early childhood advocates join with K-12 to improve learning through third grade.
  • Teacher educators are critical gatekeepers of quality education for black children. This system needs to be re-imagined to ensure that emerging teachers are poised to support black families.
  • Instead of focusing on disparities in standardized tests scores, it is crucial to realize that tests may not be accurately measuring proficiency. By acknowledging multiple literacies not reflected on tests, educators can encourage minority students to develop their strengths.