Jeremy Njoroge tries to squeeze in time to help his kids with their homework, but time doesn’t come easily. He works two full-time jobs, and his wife works “because we also need to eat.”
When he does make that homework time, he draws on his own 12 years of education in Kenya, and sometimes the different curriculum here can be puzzling. But his kids are earning A’s and B’s, and one has even started college, thanks in part to regular tutoring at the Robinson Community Learning Center in South Bend.
A recent report finds that kids from immigrant and minority families still lag behind white kids in education and income. But leaders at local after-school programs and others trying to rectify the disparities say they are working against poverty.
“Race for Results” by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that, in Indiana, 78 percent of black and 71 percent of Hispanic fourth graders weren’t proficient in reading, compared with 56 percent of white fourth graders.
Also, 90 percent of Indiana’s black eighth-graders and 85 percent of its English language learners weren’t proficient atmath, compared with 55 percent of white eighth graders and 60 percent of those who aren’t ELL students.
Those numbers come from 2015, though the study looks at a wide range of statewide and national data at www.aecf.org/raceforresults.
“I see so many kids that don’t have their basic needs met,” said Kristen Strom, director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County.
One girl came to the club with toes sticking out of her shoes. She went home with a donated pair of shoes. Some kids arrive hungry. Fail to meet those needs, Strom said, and it undercuts what schools and after school programs do.