Through the perfect storm contextual responses, structural solutions, and the challenges of black education

Amelia Kraehe, Kevin Michael Foster, Tifani Blakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article discusses the range of challenges faced by African American students today and argues against "silver bullet" solutions in addressing them. Academic success will not be achieved by imposing narrowly conceived remedies to interconnected factors such as teacher preparation, student engagement, school financing, or parent support. Sustained, community-wide Black academic excellence requires contextual responses to these areas, along with comprehensive policies that address quality of life in Black communities. This article suggests that contextually generated responses to local realities have the potential to usher in broader structurally transformative solutions so that low-income students and students of color can access high quality learning opportunities unhindered by indecent housing, lack of healthcare, inadequate nutrition, financial insecurity, or other destabilizing conditions that affect families. We offer examples of the collaborative, action-oriented work that must be conceptualized and enacted if we are to successfully address the ongoing challenges in Black education. We also introduce a framework for considering the transformative work engaged by critical educators, organizers and activists across the country. Our hope is that along with direct service programs that facilitate community responses to sociocultural and economic influences on learning, complementary efforts are engaged to eradicate the systemic inequities to which such programs respond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-257
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Achievement gap
  • African American students
  • Contextual response
  • Contextually generated responses
  • Educational equity
  • Educational reform
  • Low income students
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Partnerships in education
  • Public education
  • Sociocultural context
  • Transformative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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