In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, students have struggled in the classroom for years, particularly minority children. Statistics from
the Louisiana Department of Education reveal that less than half of all third-graders in the state were on track to master English or math. The data also showed that Black students struggled more than their peers and were five times more likely to attend a "D" or "F" rated public school.
To address these issues, the 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge organization was created to provide black students with more academic opportunities and resources. The organization has three programs: the ACT Prep Program, Let's Talk About It Book Club, and Stem and Robotics Summer Academy. The goal is to get students up to speed or keep them one step ahead.
Executive Director Dadrius Lanus believes that the school system alone cannot solve the problem and that all stakeholders need to be involved. Parents, teachers, students, and external organizations all play a role in driving change. The influence of the 100 Black Men is paying off, as evidenced by the success of straight-A student Arnold McCray Jr. who enrolled in the programs.
Lanus emphasizes that it's not just about exposing students to different things but presenting them with unique opportunities that can shape their lives. "We have to be able to present them to unique opportunities that can help shape their lives," he said. The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge is dedicated to closing the gap and creating more opportunities for Black students in Baton Rouge.