We Are DeKalb County School District Winter 2018 - Page 21

Male Involvement Matters Region 5 is home to some of the district’s historically underperforming schools, places where literacy and parental involvement have long posed challenges. Fathers and other male role models meet the problem head-on in organizations like D.A.D.S., Father’s Inc., All Pro Dads, Real Dads Read, 100 Black Men, and others. It feels like a movement in the making. One Friday in November, more than 100 fathers showed up at Columbia Elementary School to read to kids. More men show up at PTA and school events. Growing numbers of males support literacy and education efforts. Why does the involvement of men matter? Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor put it starkly: • In the 50 largest American cities, the high school graduation rate is barely more than half of all students – just 58 percent • About 7,000 students drop out of school every day • Fatherless children drop out at twice the rate of students with strong and positive adult male role models actively involved in their lives • Reducing the dropout rate by half would yield $45 billion every year in cost-savings and new tax revenues. Kenneth Braswell, founde r of non-profit Father’s Inc., worked with D.A.D.S. to provide free books to the little libraries. “Research across the board says that when fathers are academically engaged, their kids do better at school,” Braswell says. “They have more self-esteem. They have fewer absences. They’re more likely to learn. They’re less likely to engage in deviant behavior. We know all these things. We simply need to involve more fathers in education.” Braswell is a true believer. >>> Winter 2018 | 21