Grounded in critical race theory, this article seeks to frame the ideological positions of success and failure for African American students in urban school settings. First, we revisit national data and research literature that illustrate the ongoing urban BlackWhite achievement gap. Second, the Matrix of Achievement Paradigms is shared in an attempt to advance the conversation on African American students' achievement. It provides a serviceable organizational tool for framing African American students' success and failure. Finally, we bridge rhetoric with practical ideas for stakeholders by providing recommendations for closing the achievement gap in urban settings.