Letters: Educating Young Black Men

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to the show to respond to the segment on how schools continue to struggle to educate African-American boys and young men. Also, some shared their memories of baseball legend Mickey Mantle.

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TONY COX, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and Web comments. We talked, last week, about education and young black men. Another report showed schools are letting those students down.

Annie emailed from Northern California to tell us: I'm a parent of an African-American boy who is now in middle school. I am appalled at the level of expectations by some, not all of the teachers, at even his exclusive private schools. We are very much involved and supportive, yet my son senses the disparity and subtle preferences - or in some instances blatant preferences -for white and Asian student participation.

Ed Dylan teaches math in a Minneapolis high school and agreed. A couple of years ago, we surveyed about 100 black students who failed a math class. One question was: Why do you think you failed? Ninety percent of them answered something that was akin to: I am not doing well because my teacher doesn't think I can learn. The dearth of teachers of color and the institutional racism is something we are not talking about.

We also talked a lot about sports last week, including an unvarnished look at a baseball legend, Mickey Mantle. Jane Leavy showed us the good and the bad in her latest book, "The Last Boy." Many listeners emailed to tell us that while Mantle was far from perfect, he was still their hero.

John in Salt Lake City spent all of 1968 in Boston, training in the Army. I attended The Mick's last appearance in Fenway Park, he wrote. He got a big hit that tied the game, they yanked him for a pinch runner, and he got a standing ovation from the Boston crowd. That's why I love baseball.

Finally, on the Opinion Page last week, we mentioned a Pentagon survey of members of the military, asking them about the don't ask, don't tell policy. The results of that survey, many of them leaked early, were officially released today. You can go back and listen to our conversation about why more Marines support don't ask, don't tell. That's at npr.org.

As always, if you have corrections, comments or questions for us, the best way to reach us is by email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and how to pronounce your name.

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