Sunday, February 12, 2012

Black Male Student Success

Since there has been quite a gap between my last post and this, I want to start on a positive note that is nonetheless on the theme of reclaiming "the other two-fifths" of the existence that was designed into the U.S. Constitution at the end of the 18th Century. There is bound to be plenty to grouse about later as this election year unfolds.

The first snippet below comes from excellent coverage a few days ago at Inside Higher Ed. If there were no month of February, we'd have to invent it just to accommodate stories like this:

When Black Men Succeed
February 6, 2012 - 3:00am
By Doug Lederman

The litany of bad news about the status of black men in higher education is by now familiar. They make up barely 4 percent of all undergraduate students, the same proportion as in 1976. They come into college less prepared than their peers for the rigors of college-level academic work. Their completion rates are the lowest of all major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

Shaun R. Harper is tired of hearing the list. It's not that he believes it's inaccurate -- the facts are the facts -- or irrelevant. But what troubles Harper, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, is that it's pretty much all that we hear, in higher education research, in news reports, and as reflected in campus policies. That single-minded theme struck Harper personally as incomplete, since it didn't reflect his own experience or that of many black men he knew... [emphasis added]

Professor Harper could have just kvetched, but instead undertook the largest qualitative study to date that takes as its premise black male success and not black male pathology, the National Black Male College Achievement Study. Here is the link to the PDF of the study:


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