A Nigerian-born black anthropology professor from UC-Berkeley, John Ogbu, produced a famous 1996 study, transformed into a 2003 book) of black and white students at a high school in Cleveland's Shaker Heights subburb. He found that when matching for all salient socio-economic factors (two-parent households, income, home ownership, parental schooling, types of profession), black and white kids make different academic choices, and that these choices resulted in a marked difference in GPAs and test scores.
The title of his book tells it all: "Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement." According to his research:
- Black and white students who make the same choices obtain about the same GPAs and SAT scores.
- Whites report reading more books
- Whites more often enroll in AP courses, and their cumulative curricula contains a higher fraction of AP courses.
- Whites more often identify themselves as responsible for their education, whereas the black kids more often identify their teachers as responsible for their educations. Parents report similar attitudes, and Ogbu describes the black parent attitude of the teacher-student relationship as that of a "beer mug: teachers pour in information."
- Black students often report that they feel they will not get graded or otherwise treated fairly, whereas white students expect to be graded and treated fairly.
His 1998 academic study, "Voluntary and Involuntary Minorities: A Cultural-Ecological Theory of School Performance with Some Implications for Education," classifies black African immigrants along with Asians as "voluntary" immigrants, and native black Americans as "involuntary". He shows that voluntary immigrants out-perform involuntary immigrants and native non-minorities in various academic measures ON AVERAGE, and have different attitudes and make different choices.
Reading these studies years ago helped develop the conclusions that I now have on these matters. I obtained and read the book soon after its publication. These studies provided a great influence in my work developing curricula and strategies for the Ben Carson Scholars program in Detroit, where we proved first-hand that black students who work hard and study quality academic material in a very traditional manner will obtain excellent results.