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Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Principal Daryl Overton join Solomon Jones and students for the launch of Words on the Street in 2010

Our goal is to improve reading scores for all students, but for black male high school students in particular. The statistics tell us why:

Reading scores for black male twelfth graders were 24 points lower than their white counterparts in 2005.

  • The national on-time graduation rate for black males was 48 percent compared to 74 percent for white males in 2005. In Philadelphia in 2007-08, it was even worse, with only 28 percent of black male students graduating on time.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2050, about 50 percent of the U.S. population will be African American, Hispanic, or Asian.

This demographic shift indicates that the academic performance of students of color must be addressed if America is to compete globally.