+ He is Me: The Persistence to Graduation of the African American Male Scholarly Inquiry Presenter: Michael Wood
+ It Starts Here W.E.B. Du Bois, stated “We must insist our leaders give our children the fairness of a start which will equip them with such an array of facts and such an attitude toward truth that they can have a real chance to judge what the world is and what its greater minds have thought it might be”, comprehensive reading gives those greater minds the opportunity for educational success
+ Preparing the Underprepared What are the socioeconomic barriers that African American males face at the secondary school level that does not allow them to persist to graduation? What challenges do African American Males face in regard to retention and graduation from postsecondary institutions? What role does the college or university play in the facilitation of degree completion for the African American male? What must colleges and universities do in order to increase retention and graduation rates of African American males?
+ The Challenge “The African American male has been described as an „endangered species,‟ and the successful African American male is viewed as something of an anomaly” (Wilson, 2000, p.176). The images created of African American males on our society often confine them to environments shaped by drugs, crime, athletics, and academic failure.
+ The System African-American males are disproportionately represented in every aspect of the criminal justice system, from being racially profiled, stopped, arrested, prosecuted, sentenced, incarcerated, and placed on death row (Weatherspoon, 2006).
+ The ResultRace: Black males continue to beincarcerated at an extraordinary rate.Black males make up 35.4 percent ofthe jail and prison population — eventhough they make up less than 10percent of the overall U.S population.Four percent of U.S. black males werein jail or prison last year, compared to1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7percent of white males. In other words,black males were locked up at almostsix times the rate of their whitecounterparts (Alexander, 2010) Weneed less jails and more schools.
+ Education our Key In an effort to enhance the success of the African American males many schools are turning to and have implemented, tutorial programs, leadership academies and mentoring programs (Bailey, 2003). Each of these programs are essential to the academic and socioeconomic development.
+ Building Success through Literacy Scholars have also focused on several key indicators related to the early literacy achievement gap (Craig, 2003; Harris, 2003). Those indicators include (a) the language use of African American children, (b) the literacy experiences of African American families, (c) the socioeconomic background of students, and (d) the methods of classroom teachers.
+ Developing a New Mindset Higher education has been characterized as, one of the greatest hopes for intellectual and civic progress in this country. Yet for African American males, it has been part of the problem rather than the solution (Boyer, 1997, pg. 85)
+ Reviewing Past Success Just as these gentlemen of color before us, the best way to improve economic opportunity and to reduce inequity, is to increase the educational attainment and skills of its‟ people (Bowen, Chingos, and McPherson, 2009 p. 1).
+ Marching Towards Success Fostering academic achievement and promise among African American Males in public schools continues to be a formidable task, (Bailey and Bonner, 2006).
+ Challenging Ourselves The Urban Prep mission is a direct response to the urgent need to reverse abysmal graduation and college completion rates among young men in urban centers, particularly African-American males. Urban Prep‟s tailored curriculum is based on the developmental stages and learning styles of boys as well as the unique challenges facing urban youth the believe in 100% Graduation rate among it‟s Senior class (Urban Prep Academies, 2011).
+ Persistence In 2007, 15% of African American males had attained a college degree, compared to 31% of White males (American Community Survey, 2001-2007). How do we buck the trends that face the African American male? How does today‟s educational institutions retain and graduate African American males, which will give him the tools for leadership and success?
+ Staying Focused Should society embrace, projects like the Harlem Children‟s Zone, as a means of assisting the African American male student throughout society. This ambitious model combined community investment and school investment in such manner that has engaged the community as stakeholders.
+ Secondary Success According to Roach (2003), for a real investment to be made from society at large African American males must be seen as a vital asset to society and tied to the growth of local economics and it social order. “No people can move forward when the majority of those who should know better have chosen to go backward” (Woodson, p, 123).
+ Mentorship Our students need and deserve mentoring programs. The mentor should play the role of: 1. Supervisor/teacher 2. Supervisor/guide 3. Supervisor/gatekeeper 4. Supervisor/consultant (Sutton, 2006 p.,96)
+ Believing in Self The African American Male must develop himself through engaging in: • Study Groups • Community Service • Tutoring • Mentorships • Academic pursuits • Faculty Involvement • Family Involvement
+ Standing Together For the African American male at the collegiate level making a connection with faculty members is a critical component to their overall success (Hughes, 2010). The development of these relationships encourages academic success. We know that students, faculty, and staff benefit from engaging others with diverse backgrounds (Hurtado, 1996; Hurtado, Milem, Clayton- Pederson, and Allen, 1999).
+ Developing Leadership In order for students of color to persist to graduation, the United States educational system must systematically change the huge disparities in outcomes in regard to graduation rates, related to race/ethnicity and gender as well as socioeconomic status (SES) (Bowen, Chingos and McPherson, 2009 p., 224).
+ SummaryThe African American Males persistence to graduation continues to be a socioeconomic and attimes a life long struggle to close the achievement gap. Their are several key questions yet tobe asked?1. What are the key factors that will contribute to the success of the African American Male?2. What are the obstacles to their success?3. How will he overcome the obstacles?4. What is and will be his greatest challenge, he will face in regard to persistence?As educators we must ensure that each student share in the opportunity for success. This is ashared learning experience that will enhance the African American males successes byincreasing his confidence and familiarity with education while uniting the school experience withlife experience by making it practical (Toldon, Fry-Brown and Sutton, 2009).