The Editor’s Corner

Spring 2015

image of Gloria Boutte

Gloria Swindler Boutte, Ph.D.


University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

image of Hakim Rashid

Hakim M. Rashid, Ph.D.

Professor of Human Development and Psycho-Educational Studies

Howard University

Washington, D.C.

Issues faced by African American students are multi-layered, multi-dimensional, complicated, and diverse. This issue of the African American Learners journal explores a few of the many issues. It includes two research articles and one conceptual essay. Two of the articles focus on aspects which relate to African American children (namely, the role of extracurricular activities and differential treatment of African American males who receive special education services). The last article focuses on preservice teachers. All three articles are co-authored; thus, magnifying the power of the authors’ voices and efforts to address pressing issues faced by African American learners.

Although many African American students are involved in extracurricular activities, little research exists on this topic and the role that these activities play on students’ academic outcomes. In the first article, Deborah Winston and Janice Hale tackled this issue and found statistically significant relationships between self-reported academic achievement and students’ participation in school extracurricular, community-based activities, and religious activities

In the second article, Mercedes Ebanks and William Drakeford reflect on the consistent problem of disproportionality among African American males in special education programs.  They wisely make recommendations which could, if heeded, interrupt the overidentification and placement of African American males in Special Education.

In the third article, Gloria Boutte and George Johnson, pose the compelling question, “Who can teach African American students?”  Surveying preservice teachers from both Predominantly White Institutions and Historically Black Universities, they found that most teachers do not believe that any extra preparation is needed to teach African American students.  Boutte and Johnson draw from a critical Black discourses to explain this finding and to make recommendations.

These three articles contribute to the extant literature by providing insights and implications for and about three important dimensions of the education of African American students: 1) extracurricular activities and academics; 2) overrepresentation of Black males in Special Education programs; and 3) teacher preparation for African American students. Listen, hear, and understand!