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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 10:33 GMT
Are black pupils getting a raw deal?
Black children in Britain's schools are being unfairly disadvantaged a conference in London has heard.

Labour MP Diane Abbott is asking parents and educationalists to come up with solutions to improve their performance.

Many are bright and inquisitive at primary school but by the time they reach secondary, it is "as if a light has gone out inside them", she says.

She is calling on more government funding for Saturday classes to combat poor exam results.

Some Afro-Caribbean parents already pay for these supplementary classes themselves but should they be more widely available?

Are black children unfairly disadvantaged by the mainstream education system and if so, why?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

If you want to learn, you will learn. If you don't want to, you will not. No amount of discrimination or money or other forms of favouritism will alter that. There have been many valid explanations in this topic (parental presence/interest/encouragement, peer pressure) as well as some wacky ones (the influence of slavery?) but it still boils down to the choice of the individual child. I don't want to see more money taken out of the education budget and given to some special interest group, as that will disadvantage all children who do want to learn for the sake of some children who might want to. Remember, the latter group already have the same chance as everyone else from Monday to Friday, all they have to do is use it sensibly rather than wait for yet another handout at the expense of other people.
Frank, England

Britain is a class society. The rule has always been for the privileged, it will always be so.
Adele, F.A.A., UK

Colour is irrelevant

Chris B, England
The words "horse and water" spring to mind. The issue here is being clouded by the British preoccupation with being PC. Colour is irrelevant. If a child is intellectually underachieving compared to his classmates, it is caused by one of three things or a combination thereof. He doesn't want to learn, he has a learning difficulty (dyslexia for example) or he's just plain stupid. To blame this lack of academic achievement on institutionalised racism by making the excuse that Black kids are getting a raw deal is preposterous. They get the same facilities and opportunities in schools as any kid from any other ethnic back ground. It's what they choose to do with those opportunities that makes the difference.
Chris B, England

I thought we were supposed to be an integrated society. Surely by giving special treatment once again for ethnic minorities it is just serving to fuel an 'us and them' attitude that has no place in this society.
Jo, UK

If this was the case, how comes children from an Asian background continue to perform well at school.

Telling children that learning is a white domain doesn't help black kids at all

Douglas Muganhiri, Zimbabwe
I feel the black children can still do better even if the system disadvantages them, that is if their black parents are willing. I come from a Black country (Zimbabwe), where children do very well in school despite the lack of many basic school requirements. The problem, I think, with black children overseas is that they lack proper orientation and encouragement particularly from their parents. Kids need to be made aware of the advantages of excelling at school at a very early stage in life in order for them to appreciate why one must attend lessons at school, why one must be well behaved at school. Telling children that learning is a white domain doesn't help black kids at all. We are a poor black country here, but we have one of the world's most highly educated populations, despite the economic problems, because our parents made us think that school is good. So, overseas black kids, you are lucky you have everything at school plus free education. Here we go to school hungry, with not enough equipment and education is NOT free, but we still pass at school. Intelligence knows no colour.
Douglas Muganhiri, Zimbabwe

The lack of acheivement by some black pupils must be addressed asap. This in no way excuses the disgusting behaviour of the black crime problem which i have to say is fuelled by the drug culture. Education can only achieve so much. Strong response to crime will give the right message to black criminals and perhaps concentrate their minds on the alternatives like education.
Adrian, UK

If people want to help their own, fine, let them use private money. Please don't use my hard earned tax.
John Bull, England

Martin, UK, would it not be better if all children received the same education regardless of background or colour.
Caron, England

I welcome Diane Abbot's comments. It is vital that black children receive a good education as this must be the best way of ensuring that they are fully integrated into society. If they are failed at school society will reap the rewards when they become young unemployed adults with no hope for the future.
Martin, UK

Those students made a different decision when faced with the same choice

Andrew Carter, UK
There are, I am sure, many examples of black children from poor backgrounds who did well at school and now have a decent education and a good job. At some time, they will have made a choice, to work hard and study. It is an insult to these people to devalue their comparative achievement by saying that the "system" stops their fellow students from doing as well. The more likely reason is that those students made a different decision when faced with the same choice.
Andrew Carter, UK

I go to college with a high percentage of black and non-white people in Lewisham, London and went a similar school of ethnic makeup and I can tell you that there is no favouritism towards the white kids. The black kids have the same access to all the facilities in the school that I have, they can use the library, go to workshops and use the internet the same as me. The teachers are not biased against them and will treat them like they would me. But it is up to them whether they use the college's facilities (and most do), if they, or even I do not then it is up to me, but the opportunity to do so is there. So you can not possibly blame the college if they do not want to. It sometimes annoys me to hear people say (on here) that it is harder for black people to get through school because it was not any easier for me and they had it no harder.
Matthew T, England

Why are the parents of any child regardless of race letting them under-perform in school? I think the issue needs to be looked at regardless of colour, I'm sure that teachers do not deliberately set out to under educate black pupils as at the end of the day this looks bad on their record. In my view this is all nonsense and is merely another person aimlessly trying to promote themselves as a pro-equality activist-I'm all for equality, but let's look at the bigger picture hey?
Michael Shaw, England

One of the most interesting things about this discussion hasn't been mentioned. It is that finally, after many years, it is possible to discuss a topic like this without being bombarded by cries of "Racist!". It appears that after the events of the past few years, even the left of the Labour Party have grown up a little and have realised that accusations of racism don't solve the real world's problems. If you think back to how the UK was even ten years ago, this is a really significant improvement in the public's maturity and ability to discuss a difficult issue sensibly. Let's all hope that this will allow some actual progress to be made at last, and that the UK doesn't simply let black children silently sink, as so many US states still do.
Jon Livesey, USA

Many UK children in the education system are getting a raw deal. Why focus on a particular section of society?
Tony, UK

Teachers are human too

Aniz, UK
I was educated both in the Caribbean and the UK so I've seen both sides of the coin. The major difference in this country is that teachers expect black students to underperform instead of encouraging them to aspire to better things. Teachers are human too, with their own prejudices resulting from their society. Too often, black children, especially boys are seen as threatening and up to no good because of the prevailing negative view of black men.
Aniz, UK

As a teacher I see that here in North America, black children seem to be the biggest victims of our society's dislike of learning and education. Children of colour who do well at their studies are too often given the label of "being white" - a terrible curse to be put on them by their peers.
Richard Hicks, USA

Blaming the already overstretched education system is just a poor excuse

Scott, UK
My friend is a black police sergeant in Hounslow UK; we talk about this subject often. He says that he receives more abuse from other black teenagers regarding his career choice and status then any other racial group. The phrase "doing white man's work", "sold out his brothers" etc are a common every day occurrence for him. He will tell you himself that this country already bends over backwards to help ethnic cultures, tip toeing around, afraid of upsetting different groups and being labelled a racist. Diane Abbot you need to open your eyes and see the real problem, not just jump on the stereotypical bandwagon and claim that black children in Britain's schools are being unfairly disadvantaged. Blaming the already overstretched education system is just a poor excuse.
Scott, UK

Perhaps the new curriculum should include classes on Parenting instead of Citizenship, a subject which is "raceless" and of benefit to all areas of society.
Simon, England

An anti-education bias by children and popular media are leading the way to a downward spiral for black children in school. A fear of being labelled as a racist will stop many from confronting this problem head on. This will mean no real solution to a very pressing problem, one we've had in the states for over 20 years. The gap will simply widen and the "blame" game will continue.
Mike, USA

Bad teacher expectations, and an anti-school mentality amongst students lead to poor school performance. Therefore, parental interest in the educational progress of children is paramount.
Wale, England

It's because of peer pressure and the choices they have made

Henry, Tipton, West Midlands, UK
Black children are not disadvantaged. To intill in these children that unless they get special treatment they are "born to fail", sets a precedent. What better excuse to use when the child CHOOSES not to achieve. "It's because I is black" No, it's because of peer pressure and the choices you have made. The next time a person mentions the "racist system" holding blacks down, I would be happy for them to produce evidence to the effect. At least in this way a claim could be substantiated before we get yet-more laws changed in this country that are detrimental to the well-being of the whole community.
Henry, Tipton, West Midlands, UK

As someone who studies alongside a vast spectrum of colours and cultures I think this debate insults those of us who choose to get results and "better" ourselves. Whilst there are problems with the education system, to blame a group's poor results on the system full stop is ignorant and overlooks the culture which encourages/promotes NOT achieving. What is the proposed remedy? Extra marks for not attending and disrespecting teachers!
NH, London, UK

Kids can only learn if they have the right attitude. Whilst a great teacher can help kids learn, the attitude is the responsibility of parents. Mark's comments are unhelpful: saying that kids from certain social minorities are not integrating into the greater society is simply recognising a glaring problem (and anyone who like myself has grown up in South London will recognise it as such), and trying to deal with it.
Anonymous England

To combat this problem, one must examine the outside influences that discourage our black youth from learning before implementing so-called 'solutions' within the classroom

Tarence, United States
We have a similar situation here in the United States. Many of our African-American youth are often discouraged to learn and 'do well' in school due to factors such as the negative stereotypical portrayal of the African-Americans as simply 'rap artists' and 'hos' who are obsessed with money, prostitutes, and platinum jewellery. Also, peer pressure from other black youths who discourage their fellow black friends from reaching his or her potential by accusing them of 'fronting' is to blame. To combat this problem, one must examine the outside influences that discourage our black youth from learning before implementing so-called 'solutions' within the classroom.
Tarence, United States

Why has this problem been neglected for so long? Those principals and teachers for years seemingly have known that the problem existed, but did nothing.
Andre X, USA

Student achievement rates in most American cities which are predominantly Black are also exceedingly low and the obvious disparities are attributed to virtually the same reasons that have been listed on this forum. The glaring absence of a male figure in the household who in most instances is incarcerated academic excellence Is also shunned upon and those who excel are branded "Nerds". I also think the advent of gangsta rap which glamorises a thuggish lifestyle has had an indidious effect on most black urban youth. No amount of Government intervention will remedy this abysmal situation. Black folks have to look within and look at education in a radically different way or we are bound to be eternally relegated to second class citizen status
Jimmy, USA

Blacks are disadvantaged by the educational system, and it is not because of lack of a two-parent home. The problem is economic, pure and simple. Black/low income youths don't have the attitude that studying isn't cool, it's the lack of positive alternatives after school which often steers them away from studying. Affluent communities keep their kids out of trouble by providing positive alternatives such as after-school programs, university prep classes, and local sports leagues. Low-income communities do not have the resources to provide these types of programs. Instead, they provide only police stations and jails. Take a walk from Kingston through Clapham to Brixton and you will see the contrast. If you want black/low income youths to do better in school, the communities they live in and the schools they attend need to be given the proper funding.
Chris, USA/UK

You are wrong Stuart, UK/Canada because you omit the fact that black children suffer racism at school. I "made it" in your eyes and challenged the inner city system and racist teachers to go to University to get a degree etc., but I had stability in my family and direction from my parents and siblings. The core of the matter is that we as black people have been victimised in so many ways that a breakdown of our family unit contributes directly to the under-achievement of our children. Bend over backwards? Yes you should because the British played the major part in the destruction of our communities. You may say I am harping on about the past but I have to live and face up to it everyday and so should white people because you should be totally ashamed of your history and the mess it has caused.
Deborah, UK

Here we go again-bend over backwards to accommodate another ethnic group because they feel they are disadvantaged

Stuart, UK/Canada
Here we go again-bend over backwards to accommodate another ethnic group because they feel they are disadvantaged. If people aren't willing to learn at school, white, Asian or black, then they have only themselves to blame - not the system. I struggled with maths at school due to others in my class who weren't interested. My mum & dad got me a tutor paid out of their own pocket. Did they get any help from the government? NO! If there is to be Saturday classes, then it should be available to all students. I totally agree with Simon above.
Stuart, UK/Canada

I'm a teacher, and in my experience in the class, in Western nations of Europe and North America, it's generally not a race issue at all anymore, it's a cultural issue. How is it that an Asian kid can move to the West, not knowing the language, being relatively poor, and in 2-3 years they tend to wind up getting top grades in spite of everything? Because the kid comes from a culture and family construct that promotes achievement. How is it that black kid can be a native born citizen, and do so poorly in spite of say being middle class or not ever having a language issue? Cultural. It's not PC to say that, but it tends to be true.
Stephen, US

Most people who come close enough to observe the situation of the youth who air these ideas (that getting an education is "trying to be white" as Toby has said) will notice that the children are disadvantaged in many areas other than education. Only the blind and deaf will have difficulty realising the troubled environment in which these HUMANS exist. The real account is that so many of these youth are denied the right to a proper education that it is common practice among them to discourage the ones that might try and achieve for jealousy's sake. The parents of these children would gladly work for their prosperity. However, parents are not given this opportunity themselves. If someone really cared to be their brother's keeper (and yes, you who claim to be of any pure and supreme race, these poor are your brothers), you WOULD do something other than sit back and enjoy the vacation resort on these poor people's land.
Delita, US/ UK

I left the UK to come to the USA as it can offer good prospects and rewards an education. About 90% of my co-workers (sorry for the American word) are ethnic. All have gained an education while living a poorer life style than almost all in the UK. They simply cannot believe how lucky we are in the UK with free basic health care and access to higher education. I have no sympathy on the under achievers in the UK. You do not know how easy it is to get on and up if you are born in England.
Glenn Hinks, USA

Why should black kids be singled out for special treatment?

Marc, UK
Why should black kids be singled out for special treatment? Like any other they have choices - to learn or not to learn. If they or their parents choose not to learn then the system should not be extra burdened and extra funding should not be found. Kids from all ethnic backgrounds can be underachievers - so why single out the black group? Or are we supposed to feel guilty because the kid is black and not doing well as opposed to being white and not doing well?
Marc, UK

I read with great interest ideas about underachievement in these other countries. I have taught for nearly 33 years in a very poor community where 80 % of our students qualify for Free Lunch. Many of the same ideas present themselves here including lack of fathers in the home, poor daily habits leading to non-educational use of time and the feeling that there is a perpetuation of their situation so why bother? When these little ones arrive at school for the first time they are already two to three years behind in language development from parental neglect. We've tried as many schemes and outrageous plans to get parents to be involved in their student's learning. None have been successful, yet. It is so sad to waste these wonderful minds. If anyone has a plan that has worked we would all be interested in researching it.
Pamela Munro, US

The problem with black students is that they are too involved in doing drugs, stealing, raping, murdering, impregnating and shooting to do their homework. They have to learn better time management skills in order to start achieving better grades.
Mark, Canada

Do I understand 'Lauren Flemister, USA' correctly? A black kid finds out about slavery and then chooses not to bother to learn anything as some sort of protest? Ridiculous!!
Paul N, UK

It is also because of the terrible history we are coming from and the total failure of most (if not all) countries to acknowledge and address them

Lauren Flemister, USA
It's interesting that the only problems or issues being mentioned are ones that blame the black parents (in many cases, women) or an "attitude" that I haven't found to be as simple as thinking being smart "isn't cool." I'm not too far removed from high school and being in college now, in a country with racial issues that are far more intense, I see a lot of black people falling through the cracks and it isn't simply because of attitude. It's not just because of their homes or their cultures. It is also because of the terrible history we are coming from and the total failure of most (if not all) countries to acknowledge and address them. The lack of a father in many homes isn't a "black thing" per se, but was caused by the fracture and pain of slavery and the aftermath. Now I'm sure many will say, that was so long ago, but given the fact that it has all but been ignored and the fact that chattel slavery was followed by other vicious and damaging policies of government, it is no wonder the recovery has not been swift. From an emotional standpoint, this sort of trauma causes long term damage. Since people seem to have forgotten, black people were stolen from their homes. Then they had to contend with disease, rape, murder, and dehumanisation. A complete inability to be paid for their back- breaking work. Which was then followed by a time of "freedom" which was stained and sullied by a known hatred of a culture that controlled their ability to be treated like another human being. That only "ended" 40 years ago in this country. Do you think it would be possible to bounce back from that without some serious repercussions? Do you think it isn't detrimental for the mass culture to depict images of people who look nothing like you as smarter, prettier, and better? Do you think it doesn't mean something to have someone who looks like you and comes from a more similar culture to have achieved some of the goals you have dreamt about? These children are not lazy and don't necessarily think being smart is a bad thing. They are just coming from a very tired and trod upon history, one where sometimes it becomes less painful to reject something before it inevitably rejects you. That means something. And until that is acknowledged instead of blaming these children, you will continue to see these problems in your country and abroad.
Lauren Flemister, USA

I taught for two years at a Primary School in Hackney. What I noticed was a culture of students, (mine were mostly black), who came from households which did not value education. The message they received from either their parents, (most came from a single parent household), was that school wasn't important. Many parents had no control of their kids and when the deputy head rang to inform them of problems their child caused at school, the excuse was that it was the teacher's fault. It wasn't the teacher's fault, rather that of a parents who was too busy to care about what was going on in their own children's life. It's long overdue that parent's be held responsible for their children's action, something that the US and UK governments are afraid to promote for fear of being labelled "racist." It's not.
Kevin, USA

Black children cannot be said to be unfairly disadvantaged by the mainstream education system

Simon Blake, UK
Black children cannot be said to be unfairly disadvantaged by the mainstream education system. When you actually look at the EMAG data mentioned in the OFSTED report you see that the picture is too complex to be summed up like that. Why is it that in 6 out of 10 LEAs some black ethnic groups outperform whites? This fact, supported by my own experience, indicates that it is not the fault of the system. In actuality where they want to use it, some black pupils seem to be as capable as anyone else. More work needs to be done to focus on the difference between those black groups which are successful, minority, and those which are not, majority. The education system can only be to blame insofar as it fails to counteract the negative influences that are obviously prevalent in some groups in society.
Simon Blake, UK

Colour has nothing to do with it-it's cultural. These children have not internalised the values of deferred gratification, educational attainment, and personal improvement due to the simple fact that they have spent their formative years in a "culture" which does have these goals as bedrock values. What is the entire purpose of education-to prepare today for coping and achieving tomorrow. This has to be taught to children by the adults with whom they live with from birth.
Robert Theisen, US

Of course it is the educational system which is failing them. People who know Holland, France, Belgium, Brazil, Panama, The United States, Colombia and other countries, assure me that things are pretty much the same. Could it be that as one Chinese chip shop owner told me that? NO NO, of course it couldn't. What we need is for the politicians to demand a penny in the tax increase.
Mario Formosa, Malta and United Kingdom

If you act like you want to learn, you are an outsider

James, UK
I go to a private school in Liverpool. It's called Merchant Taylors, and it's relatively well respected, or so we like to think. We have many Indians in our year, 3 in my class, and there is also a Sikh. They all have fathers as role models, and they all perform rather well. The Sikh, year young than everyone else, is nearly top of the year. I am of course being racist, some of you might say, acting surprised how different the Africans are from the Indians, but they tend to grow up in the same areas. Many of these groups tend to stick together in ethnic communities. The Chinese certainly do in my school. But they do not take on the common point of view that I have heard of, but not observed, that if you act like you want to learn, you are an outsider. We have no Africans in our year, and one in the year below. I only know him because of his reputation. He's a common visitor to detentions. And he takes on the stereotypical rapper roll. He's a damn clever child, but he just messes around.
James, UK

I think there needs to be more black male role model for the younger ones to follow, whether in school or out of school. I am the program director for a motivational seminars company; we cater for all schools, but more especially Afro-Caribbean students, being one myself. When I go into schools that are predominantly black I fell that I am able to get the message of achievement across because they can flow with me.
Jackson Ogunyemi, UK

Judging by the circus which is the trial of the suspected killers of Damilola Taylor, the black community need to be doing something about educating the young people.
Phil Kelley, UK

Parents should take on a more guiding role for their children in school and out of it

Jairus, England
Considering Indian and oriental youths in England achieve better results than whites or blacks in terms of education, then it is obviously not the education system that is to blame or any type of alienation. I believe the parents should take on a more guiding role for their children in school and out of it. I am sure many people have seen young kids out on the streets at night and then all of a sudden people wonder why their kid doesn't do well at school. People have got to start taking responsibility for their children's education and get away from the blame culture.
Jairus, England

I taught for 16 years in the Caribbean and the UK. Poverty does not cause underachievement - attitude does. Many black children grow up without a father in the household - it is a feature of black society. This is the root of the problem. Boys need a father in the household as a role model to see that you don't have to be carrying a gun or fathering children all over the place to be "cool". Girls need a father in the household as a role model to enable them to say no to the slick guys all dressed up in their designer clothes and gold chains! They need to stop having these babies with these guys and continuing the cycle. What kind of life is a baby of a barely literate 14-year-old going to have?
Gwendolyn S, UK

I would like to agree with Brendan from the UK. Please stop lumping Afro-Caribbeans with Africans just because we are all black. I was educated in Africa and one thing that I can tell you is that despite the terrible poverty and political upheaval on our continent Africans work very hard in school when they can afford to attend them and this is despite the many obstacles they face in their day to day lives. I studied for my Masters degree in the Netherlands and those of us who were Africans did much better than the white Dutch and those from Suriname. I am now doing my PhD in the UK and I see the same thing. The Africans work much harder at educating themselves. Maybe the problem over here is that you (white and black African/Caribbean but born in Britain) know that you are still going to get benefit/welfare even if you don't succeed in school a luxury that those of us in Africa do not have!
Tiseke, Malawi / United Kingdom

I think that statistics can be misleading: Firstly, we need to stop lumping African and Caribbean people into the same category, and secondly, we need to view each case individually and not assume that all black children under-achieve for the same reasons. In general I think we should be aiming for a colour-blind society in the long run, but I accept that there may be a period where special measures need to be taken to resolve this situation that we have now. I am not sure, though, that having "black mentors" or "black role models" will work. I think this is patronising, and perpetuates the notion that black people and white people are somehow different. Why should the achievements of Einstein, Darwin and Newton not be held up as examples for us all: black, white or whatever?
Brendan Fernandes, UK

I have been teaching here in the State system for twenty years. There are many more girls in high school than boys. Yet in primary school, the boys and girls are just as bright-eyed as in the UK or elsewhere. Clearly, the problem starts at puberty, when the male adolescent no longer accepts his mother as a guide. Yet in many families, there is no father; there is often no male figure in the extended family to give him guidance. Worse still, the single mother tends to treat him more as a partner than as an autonomous human being. Consequently she is hostile towards the young women who can take her son away from her. This leaves the boy in a state of emotional immaturity and dependence.
Timothy Williams, French Caribbean

This isn't a problem that only affects black children

Carl, England
I live on a post-war council housing estate in the outer suburbs of Greater London, and there aren't too many black people in the area. However we too suffer a culture of "education isn't cool" amongst the predominantly white working class children that live here, which is a great shame. Most of the children take after their parents, and thus the cycle continues for generations. This isn't a problem that only affects black children.
Carl, England

Home life is much more important than anything else when it comes to academic achievement. 70% of black kids grow up without their fathers - solve this and they will thrive.
Stu McPherson, UK

In every debate concerning education there always seems to an under emphasis concerning the fact that it is the parents' responsibility to educate their children. With respect to the statistical under achievement of black children the key point seems to me to be the contribution that these children's parents can make to an education designed to help them achieve in the UK. For example whether their parents have also had the advantage of an education in this country or whether English is their first language. I can make no comment concerning the attitudes of these children towards their own education on a basis of ethnicity but if the educational structure is alien to the parent, assuming little progress would be made in the child's education is a logical progression.
Matt, UK

I totally agree with Chris's comments above. In Holland we encounter similar problems especially amongst the Moroccan youth groups. There is an overwhelming belief amongst these groups a) that it is not cool to be smart, and b) you are not going to get a job anyway so what is the point of working. The general population both here in NL and in the UK bend over backwards to give ethnic groups a fair chance (bordering, quite honestly, on a distinct advantage). As countless generations have proven, the only way to succeed is through hard work and dedication - colour and creed do not enter the equation here.
Simon, Netherlands

No, I don't feel that black children - or any other ethnic group - are systematically disadvantaged. What I HAVE observed is that adolescence often tends to be accompanied by the idea that it's not "cool" to be clever. Something of a contradiction in terms perhaps, but nevertheless a widespread piece of street philosophy which might explain why the drive to be accepted by a certain peer group results in early academic promise being displaced by surly disinterest.
Chris B, England

We all agree (I hope) that apartheid is wrong; we all agree (perhaps) that segregation is wrong; which means we all agree (most of us, anyway) that social integration is the only acceptable approach. This being so, anything that "segregates" or divides us, whether it be by "favoured" or bias treatment, is not helpful. By saying that kids from certain social minorities cannot integrate into the greater society says that one of two things is going on: The greater society is exercising a mass prejudice against these minorities; or these social minorities are incapable of keeping up. As the second option opens up a door nobody in their right mind wishes to open, we somehow accept that we (the majority) must somehow be prejudice ... we don't really think we are, but I'd rather be accused of that than have to address the alternative.
Mark M. Newdick, US/UK

The problem is anti-education black youth culture which categorises black youngsters who want to learn as 'trying to be white'.
Toby, England

Talking PointFORUM
Student achievement
You asked Diane Abbott MP
See also:

16 Mar 02 | Education
Black pupils 'under-achieving'
22 Dec 00 | Education
Black schools 'booming'
16 Mar 02 | Mike Baker
Raising black performance
12 Nov 98 | Education
430m for ethnic minority education
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