Dr. Tarrell Portman
Participation year
Project title

Dispelling the Four Year Old Black Boy Model: Construction, Deconstruction, and Resilience of African American Males in the Educational System


The purpose of this research project is to provide a critical view of research related to the resilience of African American males within the U.S education system. So far, there has been little research pertaining to different individual and environmental factors that promote educational resilience among African American low-income urban males (Howard 2003). To date, research has focused on middle class African American male students and their relationship with and their perceptions of, academic counselors and teachers. Literature suggests parental involvement and social economic status are two main factors that contribute to the educational resilience of African American male students. It is what stems from these factors such as support, positive affirmation, and access to proper materials, which promote academic excellence within students (Howard 2003). With flaws in the educational school system such as the achievement gap, tracking, the cultural deficit theory and disciplinary policies; a disproportionate number of African American males drop out of school and enter the prison system. It was stated that of the approximately six hundred thousand 4-year-old African American males growing up in the United States in 2008, prisons are being planned to house 28,134 of them by 2029 (Barbarin.2010). More and more prisons are being built to house African American urban males before these children have a chance to be successful citizens. This model is one that needs to be destroyed through interventions and various programs within low income urban communities. By implementing interventions and programs within the targeted communities it my hope to promote resiliency within and ultimately dispel the present Four Year Old Black Boy Model.

Bernie  White