Researchers Discuss Role of HBCUs in Supporting School-age Black Males

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by Jamal Watson

PHILADELPHIA – During a panel session at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), several prominent researchers on African-American males highlighted strategies and policies to improve the Black male experience in preK-12 schools and in postsecondary contexts, including at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The session, titled “Plotting the Path to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for School-Age Black Males,” was sponsored by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and included Drs. Jerlando F. L. Jackson, James L. Moore III, Chance W. Lewis, Lamont A. Flowers and Ivory A. Toldson, deputy director of the initiative.

“In addressing many of these issues, it is important to conduct research and implement best practices designed to help school-age Black males develop confidence in their academic abilities,” said Flowers, the Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and the Executive Director of the Charles H. Houston Center for the Study of the Black Experience in Education at Clemson University.

According to the organizers of the event, the session was designed to unveil policy solutions for HBCUs to resolve inequities in U.S. public schools that impede academic progress of school-age Black males and to consider how HBCUs can promote a pathway through curricular offerings that will move Black males from public schools to colleges and universities.

“The unique blend of experiences of the panel allowed the discussion to span across research, practice, and personal interactions with HBCUs,” said Jackson, the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Higher Education and the Director and Chief Research Scientist of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Moore, who is the EHE Distinguished Professor of Urban Education, director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male and Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion at The Ohio State University, said that the recent launch of “My Brother’s Keeper” by President Obama and his administration is a step in the right direction to address the plight of Black males and other males of color in America.

“Improving the conditions for these males will likely render great public returns for the larger society,” said Moore. “I stand ready to work with the Obama administration and any other organizations, foundations, and/or agencies to improve the overall quality of life for Black males, which I believe will naturally make our country stronger.”

Lewis said that HBCU Colleges of Education are in a prime position to create blended learning academic opportunities for high-need urban schools that are currently not able to offer higher-level academic course offerings needed for postsecondary admission such as Algebra II, Calculus and Physics.

“This is evidenced by the emergence of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund [TMCF] Collegiate Academy that has been established at Southern University-New Orleans,” said Lewis, who is the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Urban Education and the Director of The Urban Education Collaborative at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

In November, Lewis will convene the first Biennial International Conference on Urban Education in Montego Bay, Jamaica. For more information, visit http://www.icue2014.org/

Jamal Watson can be reached at jwatson1@diverseeducation.com. You can follow him on twitter @jamalericwatson

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