Baby Moses Project looks at possible solutions
From Annie Pettway, Director Community College of Allegheny County:
Can High Schools integrate college course requirements for African American Males in the 9th grade? Allowing them to come to a college campus on a daily basis.
Allowing black boys in the 9th grade to visit college campuses on a daily basis is a grand idea, as far as socialization and acclamation into a post-secondary academic environment. Maybe it would affect their motivation and post-graduation aspirations. But every child is not cut out for traditional college and too many African-American boys are financially insecure… (There is no reason to go into debt in seeking a college education when there is no guarantee of post-graduation employment). Most of their needs are centered on the immediate future.
Since a technical and vocational education promises a more immediate reward of a 2-year technical degree, AA, or certification, it would seem that African-American boys should begin building foundational trade and career skills as early as possible. Dual enrollment and daily excursions to technical colleges and schools can become a “wonder world” experience for them.
Seeing also, that there is declining support for affirmative action and the Top 10% Rule, race-balancing education pushes black boys away from classic academicals careers toward hands-on trades, such as electronics over English Literature.
Since their needs are immediate, then we should also introduced them to early certification trades and professions, so that by the time they graduate high school, their accounting certification (for example) can lead them directly into internships and apprenticeship programs with an accounting firm.
Henry M. Levin:
I have seen many examples of dual enrollment programs that have shown effectiveness for black males. It is not only the content of the college courses, but familiarity with expectations for success and college role models seem to have very positive results on aspirations and behavior that lead to educational success. My colleague, Melissa Karp at the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University has done considerable research on the development of successful dual enrollment programs.
Melinda Merchur Karp
Community College Research Center,
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 174, 439 Thorndike Hall
525 West 120th Street
New York, NY 10027
Dear Melinda Karp:
I read about your “dual enrollment” program idea designed for high school students from an online chat between Dr. Henry Levin and Annie Pettway, Director Community College of Allegheny County- although your name was misspelled in the article. (See Q&A Dialogue)
The discussion centered on Dr. Levin strategy for saving African-American male students from a life of poverty and self-destruction. Pettyway suggested that African-American boys should be acclimated to the college environment as early as the 9th grade.
Traditionally, African-American strengths have been in vocational fields, such as dress-making, cooking, woodshop, and metal shop, which are still very good vocations today. However, we, as a society, have not gone back and updated those vocational curricula at the high school level. Neither have we successfully integrated the high tech business world into today’s high school environment, nor explored technical curricula leading to student certification and immediate employability. We have not expanded office literacy skills and professional development courses at the high school level.
Here is where I believe daily excursions into the wonder world of a technical, vocational, and career development colleges can come into the picture. These trades and vocational schools, like DeVry Institute and others, can provide a different mode of educational delivery- the Over-the-Shoulder method of teaching and learning.
These schools cut away much of the academic rigor that impedes African-American boys whose aptitude could be more mechanically or artistically inclined.
I thought that this would be the perfect model for African-American boys. Not only would the child benefit, but the public school system and the vocational, trades, and professional development school with campuses could be well served by such a dual enrollment.
In fact, it would be best for middle or high school students to start the day on the college campus, where punctuality can be regimented. From there, students could be bussed back to their individual schools, for a half-day of high school academic curriculum required to pass state mandated testing.
In this scenario, the young student acquires safety net skills to fall back on. In case all else fails, he can still be a certified welder or plumber making better-than-average wages, even if he drops out or fail to graduate from high school.
What are your thoughts on the issue?
Eddie Griffin (BASG)