The Black male graduation rate is beyond depressing. I wish I knew what could be done to save our Black boys.
And while I do believe that the failure of the public school system K-12 is a big factor for college dropout rates ... I believe that money - or more accurately, the lack thereof - is the biggest. It's too hard (pretty much impossible) to concentrate on studies - or anything else - when you have financial problems on the brain.
There is work to do.
But, somehow, I think it more importantly ties into the issue of not the degree itself, but the person with it!! (However, I can't quite make the connection in my head, yet! )
But ... with studies showing that a Black person with a degree could be passed over for a job by a White person without one ... I know that where the degree comes from is important in some circles ... but, what does it matter if, in the end, racial discrimination - and not educational considerations - is the determining factor in gaining (or not gaining) the desired job??
Access Granted with Dr. Marybeth Gasman
University of Pennsylvania professor Marybeth Gasman explores issues of access and retention for students and faculty of color and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, among other things.
Last week in Durham, N.C., a wonderful symposium took place. It was not business as usual but, instead, an honest look at the future of HBCUs. Although I was one of the speakers, I sat through all the sessions (which brought everyone together in one room) and took about 40 pages of notes.
As a researcher, I had many, many ideas going through my head. I thought I’d share some of the lessons that the speakers had for those of us who care about the future of HBCUs. Here are some points that were made:
- The emphasis at HBCUs needs to go from access to retention and increased graduation rates.
- HBCUs need to produce the knowledge workers of our nation; increasing their production of more students in the STEM fields.
- HBCUs have a lot that they can teach majority institutions and should be leading the way in terms of educating African-American students.
- HBCUs need to take control of the “narrative” about HBCUs and make it more success-oriented and positive. More HBCU leaders need to be leading the charge and be visible on a national stage.
- HBCUs need to be out in front when it comes to educating more African-American males to be teachers. Less than 2 percent of teachers are Black males, and HBCUs need to help solve this problem. They have the tools and the legacy.
- Data are not to be feared but are to be used to strengthen HBCUs. A fear of criticism must be overcome. If HBCU leaders don’t confront their challenges, others, who have little contextual knowledge, will do it for them.
- HBCU leaders are not asking for anything special. They want parity with historically White institutions.
- Faculty members are the fabric of an institution, and HBCUs need to take care of their faculty, creating positive environments for young Black faculty, in particular.
- There is a leadership crisis at HBCUs. Leaders of HBCUs have the responsibility of creating new leaders who can take the lead in the future.
- A strong faculty that wants to participate in shared governance is not the enemy of HBCU leaders; it is a partner.
- HBCUs must create a niche; they cannot be all things to all people. HBCUs should be able to answer the questions: What’s our niche? What are our signature programs?
- HBCUs need to train their students to solve society’s problems and problems that have a direct impact on Black communities throughout the nation.
- HBCUs have taken their market share for granted. In a post-Civil Rights era, students have institutional choices, and they are making them.
Although some of these lessons are hard to swallow, they are very good food for thought. All HBCU leaders should think about them as they move their institutions forward.
An associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Gasman is the author of “Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) and lead editor of “Understanding Minority Serving Institutions” (SUNY Press, 2008).
Nowhere in there is there anything close to "solutions" for any of those problems, of which none of them are nothing new!
I mean, yeah ... we need to have more Black male teachers ... but, you've got to get the Black males into the colleges first before you can teach them to be teachers or anything else! And, the problem with inadequate "leadership" is as obvious (with most HBCUs) as the nose on your face!! If there were leadership in place that knew what the hell they were doing ... more of these schools would be much more successful when it came to graduation rates and the retention of students. They would also be keeping up with the times and structuring their curriculum so that the much needed "niches" would have been established a long time ago!
But, again .. I have to reiterate that, IMO, the bigger/biggest problem facing our youth with regard to academics is the issue of (the lack of) MONEY. Which is problematic not only at the college level, but in education in general ... starting with the lack of adequate funding in being able to give so many of our kids a proper K-12 education in the first place!
But when it comes to college ... and especially with HBCUs ... there's simply not enough of it to 1) adequately pay teaching staff; 2) adequately cover tuition and costs; 3) provide a positive (and comfortable) learning environment; 4) offer state-of-the-art facilities that encourages a high degree of performance on the part of the student.
If HBCU "leadership" wants to really do something to help their situation ... they need to go out and find MONEY ... or perhaps, figure out a better way to spend what they've already got in a way that makes more sense and is more productive and effective! Reach out to Black males in high school ... to try to focus their efforts on attending their school after they graduate. Find a way to encourage more Black professors (or professionals, in general) to upgrade the quality of education that they are offering (again, $$$).
But also, get rid of the riffraff at the top!! If a president/dean is not doing their job ... kick them to the curb and find somebody who can!! Don't play workplace politics at the expense of our kid's education. More and more these days, there are more younger and more creative individuals out there who do a better job than the older, more experienced individuals who are stuck in their ways .. and essentially produce no results.
Okay ... that's my $1.50 worth!!
If the kids brains are sabotaged while they are in grade school then all of this talk about college is absurd. I have seen psychology books from the 1920s talking about early childhood brain development. The lack of discussion about that combined with all this stuff about college is just so strange in the Black community. It is like we don't get that LEARNING AS A KID IS FUN if properly done. But it usually isn't done that way.
It is supposed to be nose to the grindstone idiotic busywork. So the kids are turned off and sabotaged. So have we figured out that that is the REAL INTENT?
Interesting post. I have to agree with much of what you said. No need to beat a dead horse however. I think your points were insightful and irrefutable. No doubt. But until black men become pro active in the lives of their children, do not expect any major across the board positive shifts in black academic advancement. I can personally tell you in California, the UC university system (Berkeley, San Diego, Los Angeles, Davis, et al) arte dominated with Asian students. And for the record, these are American students -not foreign students. When it comes to academic competition in math and science, well, they (along with East Indian students) are the top of the food chain and they have the reputation to back it up. Comparing these two non-white groups (Asians and Indians) academically to black students would be absurd and gut wrenchingly embarrassing. Fact, not opinion.
I was on the campus of UCSD recently and a very large percentage of the students were Asian. I saw three blacks (WTF??!!) while walking around and going through a number of buildings. One of the blacks was obviously some type of administrative personnel (older black woman) and the other two were black female students. I'm sure there are more but as a demographic, blacks are a very small single digit at these academically stringent schools. And thanks to Ward Connerly and the demise of affirmative programs and recruiting in the UC system, black students have been reduced to a fractional percentage minority. The academic competition is that fierce. Even the white students are feeling it.
The national educational completion rate for black males is abysmal (ref: http://www.blackboysreport.org...port-execsummary.pdf) and disgraceful. No need to be politically correct about this depressing fact. Only Negroes (and no one else!) can turn this shocking and disturbing trend around. And the critical and most effective force to do so -is the absent black male father figure. But what indicators suggest his presence is on the rebound, establishing himself as a much needed role model, disciplinarian, mentor and compass for the direction of his children's lives, especially young black males? Let's be honest folks, you know the excruciating answer....
Ok Xeon.Yes black men do need to lift themselves up...but as long as they as a group continue to disrespect black women . . . .
The first time a Black woman did that to me I told her my IQ score. The expression on her face was so funny I almost started laughing. Black women talk as though the disrespect is only one way. I am not however going to break down and cry because status seeking Black women can't find enough Black men to strive after Honky Moron bullshit. Wreck the planet with technology that they don't have brains enough to understand.
Yeah I write about these netbooks. But most of them are crap construction quality and far more powerful than most people really need. So they sell crap software to waste processing power.
A Black woman that doesn't know about planned obsolescence 40 years after the Moon landing can't be a LADY.
lady == sophisticared woman
sophisticated == knowledgeable of the ways of the world
So as technology changes the world what it takes to be a lady must be changing also.
Book owners have smarter kids
When it comes to your children, the books in your house matter more than your education or income
When I was 12 years old, I read most of the plays of George Bernard Shaw. That's not to say that I understood the plays of George Bernard Shaw, or even that I passionately loved them. They just happened to be around the house, in a set of neat little green paperbacks left over from my father's college days. I doubt that puzzling over the mysteries of "Pygmalion" taught me much about the British class system, but it definitely got me into the habit of searching for understanding in the pages of challenging books.
A study recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility found that just having books around the house (the more, the better) is correlated with how many years of schooling a child will complete. The study (authored by M.D.R. Evans, Jonathan Kelley, Joanna Sikorac and Donald J. Treimand) looked at samples from 27 nations, and according to its abstract, found that growing up in a household with 500 or more books is "as great an advantage as having university-educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father." Children with as few as 25 books in the family household completed on average two more years of schooling than children raised in homes without any books.
A couple years ago I was investigating colleges looking for grad schools for my niece who wants to be a nurse. Looking at the demographic information, I was totally floored by what I found!! In many, many colleges around the country, Asians equal or outnumber the White student population and have higher graduation rates, in many instances. And nowhere is that more prevalent than in Cali .... which was my primary focus, since that is where we're from and would like to return to one day.
By the same token, the Black college enrollment rate was so dismal, it almost made me cry. I was flabbergasted seeing those numbers. And couldn't help but think, what are all the college-aged Black kids who are NOT in college doing .. and where are they if they're not in school???? Knowing the answer, I just didn't want to think about it anymore. Too depressing. And I really don't know what the solutions to rectify the situation could be.
I will say first, though, that there are a LOT of good programs out there - driven by community-, government-, charity-based organizations - that are helping Black people and saving Black children. You don't/won't hear about them in the media, they're only really helping a 'drop-in-the-bucket' number compared to the number of those in need ... but ... they ARE doing good things ... many are outreaching for Black boys .. and there are a whole lot of success stories. So, I do believe there is hope.
BUT ... I certainly will not argue against the validity of your point regarding the damage done to the Black community - and our young males, in particular - by the 'absence of Black fathers' phenomenon. And the breakdown of the Black family unit, in general. It's been devastating on a number of levels. And while you can point your finger at a number of other 'cause and effect' problems that are causing havoc in our community (and a lot of people do - with "the White man did it" being among one of the most favorites!) ... the destruction of the family unit is its own crisis, in and of itself, and should not be lumped in with other factors, just to avoid dealing with the crucial and critical nature of that particular problem on it's own.
Watching the kids have kids ... and having little ones running all around now (7 total, ages 9 mos. - 15 yrs, w/three 2-year-olds in the bunch! ) it is so ABUNDANTLY clear that 1) raising boys is totally different from raising girls!!, and 2) mothers cannot raise sons the way they need to be raised (towards the direction of someday making them into men) the way that fathers can! Men understand boys on a whole, entirely different level!! And they raise/teach/relate to them in a way that mothers just don't have in them.
Children of both genders need both parents in their lives for what each brings to the table. No doubt about that. But, it's not by happenstance or coincidence that the majority of Black males in prison (and not in college) today grew up without a father-figure presence in their lives. There is a direct correlation to the dysfunction and destruction of the Black family unit and many of our communal ills.
Personally, I believe that while we did basically lose 2 generations worth of progress and success as a community (especially as it relates to Black males and their role within our society), I do think we're starting to 'clean up our act', as it were, and that more of our kids, (black males included) are getting more of the attention and direction that they need. The statement of this article that the Black graduation rate is indeed on the rise signals some sort of progressive note.
Thanks to the advocacy of folks like the Revs. Al and Jesse, and other concerned parties, things like the toxicity of hip/hop and gangster videos is diminishing, more Black-oriented charter schools are emerging and successfully educating boys and girls in the communities they are in, there are more bright, young, intelligent, educated, dynamic young people who ARE coming out of college and working to give back within their communities by helping those less fortunate; there's more mentoring and re-entry help for Black kids in trouble and/or ex-cons than there have been in previous years.
The President's recent initiative to fund drug-rehabs over more jails and programs to help non-violent drug users avoid the prison system, I think, will help a lot, too. But, as I stated in another thread ... the ultimate responsibility of a Black child is his/her Black PARENTS!!! And the home environment created by them. Period. Bottom line. End of story. The buck stops there.
"Ok Xeon.Yes black men do need to lift themselves up...but as long as they as a group continue to disrespect black women . . ."
You both ask very valid questions. I believe there is enough blame on both sides. Make no doubt about that. With the emergence of a toxic hip hop/rap coon culture and its horrific affects on young black males and combine that with the "in yo face" unrestricted anger, bitterness and frustration (both warrented and unwarranted) of black women at the pandemic personal failures and refusal of personal responsibility for a large number of black men, you have the makings of what is likely to be a protracted intra-race gender skirmish for an alarming number of black men and women.
Sadly, Negroes have the notoriety of being the only group that openly and brazenly bashes opposite gender members of "their own race". White and Latino women usually complain about not being able to find a decent guy or someone they are compatible with. Race is rarely mentioned. But with black women -"it's no good nigger men, worthless ass black men, sorry broke ass niggas", etc... Brothers refer to black women as "nigga bitches, stupid ass hood rats, begin' as chicken heads", etc,.. The gender rhetoric is very racial in its context.
I have no idea what the answer is because the resolve of each gender (black men/black women) to openly excoriate the other in private and public, seems to be gaining momentum. It's gotten to the point where Negroes seem to be intellectually numb and oblivious to how it (openly trashing the other) appears to others (non-blacks) and themselves. Again, what is a realistic and workable antidote to this situation? I have no idea....
Regarding the black male teachers. Think about the school experience of our boys, especially in the North. White women, black male students. Usually ignored and extra disciplined in school. As we spoke on this situation with the Nashville school system a few posts back, this is not uncommon at all in many schools.