Nation's only school district to take on educating black males

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By Forward Ever Media

We’ve all heard the negative stats about the “achievement gap” in education for black males so often they’ve lost all shock value. However, rarely do we hear about programs addressing the problem at the root. But in Oakland, Ca, the public school district has embedded an “African American Male Achievement” program throughout its entire system, the only district in the nation to do so.

The African American Male Achievement Program (AAMA) arose from the efforts of Tony Smith, school superintendent, along with public and private support. Last November, Smith appointed Chris Chatmon, executive director of the program who has since made progress in raising awareness about changing outcomes for students.

The program will launch a series of initiatives to audit the district’s systems, institutionalize new methods, collect research on best practices and implement innovations at critical sites that improve outcomes for black males, thereby helping to improve the academic and social climate for all students.

Pendarvis Harshaw, our Oakland-based Game Changer Fellow, produced this profile on Chatmon and learned more about the risk-taking efforts in Oakland to close the gap.

To see other videos by Pendarvis Harshaw and learn more about the program, please visit