The Black Sonrise: Oakland Unified School District's Commitment to Address and Eliminate Institutionalized Racism

by Vajra Watson

Dec 1, 2014

This report is the first in a series that examines the work of the Office of African American Male Achievement. This stage of analysis examines the Manhood Development Program, from its inception in 2010 to its current practices and future goals. The Manhood Development Program is a daily elective course during the school day taught by African American males that engages, encourages, and empowers African American male students.
  • Past initiatives in the Oakland region had done little to transform the experiences, access, or education attainment of African American male students.
  • Black males are 17.3 percent of the K-12 system population, 30 percent (1,959) of whom are in high school. Of the 517 students arrested on campus, 75 percent were Black. Only 28 percent of African American males scored proficient on the California Standards Test for English, 30 percent for math.
  • The Manhood Development Program (MDP) sought to decrease suspensions and increase attendance, decrease incarceration and increase graduation rates, and decrease the opportunity/achievement gap and increase literacy. The MDP has been so successful that it now serves 17 schools throughout the district.
  • Thirty percent of participants are reading at or above grade. The average GPA for African American male students in the program is 2.12, compared to 1.7. There has been a 124 percent increase in MDP enrollment and a waiting list for participation.