It was after the landmark decree of 1954 known as Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that African Americans were granted access to institutions with predominantly white population. Prior to this, African Americans had shown great potential in HBCUs and hence this desegregation was purposed to see many of them enroll in large numbers and graduate at the same rate as their counterparts from predominantly white institutions (Davis 518). This would be so as the decree accorded them equal rights in a bid to further their education. However, the number of black students who graduate from colleges is still considered disproportionate as compared to their white counterparts. This has been attributed to several factors.
One of the major challenges as educator assert is the incompatibility of the African American population with the model of education established in these predominantly white institutions academically, economically and culturally. The standards set in these institutions such as high GPA’s and standardized test scores prove too difficult of a task to handle for these students. On the other hand, the white students are at an advantage as they have been culturally assimilated and most are financially stable and can cater for the rising cost of education (Allen, Epps, and Haniff 54).
Studies by educators at a education institution in Illinois revealed that 75% of African American students enrolled there scored below average grades and out of these only two percent managed to achieve a GPA of 3.0 on a 4 point scale. This attests the fact that African American students perform poorly as compared to their peers in schools. The reason for this as educators have claimed, is the disinterest that African American students exhibit for recognizing school regimen for instruction. The African American population has been regarded as one sub culture that reprimands conformity, which subsequently minimizes intellect. Therefore, as a result, most of the black student enrolled in public schools fail or find it hard to adhere to the regulations put in place by the particular institution in a bid to promote a conducive scholarly environment (Schwitzer et al. 190). The National Center for Education Statistics records that rate of completion of high school education is at 87% for black students as compared to 93% for the whites. Black college graduates account for 40% as compared to 60% for the whites. African Americans are known to socially construct their values from a group or family orientation as compared to most ethnic groups. Therefore, as a result they tend to exhibit self segregation as a means of coping with situations where they experience feelings of alienation, isolation or marginalization, which may be created by the predominantly white population (Schwitzer et al. 195).
Institutions have come up with strategies to help curb this issue. Firstly, cases of discipline are handled in a more subtle manner as opposed to the harsh method of expulsion or suspension. Reward mechanisms are put into place to reward those that do the right thing. This has lowered office referrals and increased academic achievement as evident in Austin schools. In case some students persist with indiscipline then mentorship or anger management options are availed. Teachers are also trained to moderate their attitude in classrooms. Most African American students are accorded lower expectations due to their ethnicity. As a result, they perform poorly as expected. However, a change in the teacher’s attitude has proved to boost the morale of the student and helped him or her raise class grades (Davis 530).
Teachers should also be trained to help identify with most the student’s reality. Since majority of these students come from diverse backgrounds, a student would feel more comfortable if the tutor can understand his or her reality and thus treat the student accordingly. As Keith Anderson who works as the director of the Idaho Center for Racial Sensitivity points out, demonstrating to students that one does care, goes along way into motivating them to work harder in the classroom. Lastly, it is vital to reach out across different cultures. Such establishments of support groups such as Parents of children of color helps parent contribute as to what they think is affecting their children both in and out of the classroom. This way the issue of how race affects their children academically can be countered by offering solutions as to how teachers should approach and handle certain situations (Davis 535).
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Allen, Walter R., Edgar G. Epps, and Nesha Z. Haniff, eds. College in Black and White: African American students in predominantly White and in historically Black public universities. SUNY Press, 1991.
The book reports findings from the National Study of Black College Students, which is a complete study of the experiences, characteristics and achievements of Black college students. These are related to institutional context, student background and interpersonal relationships. The survey, which was conducted via mail, included a wide majority of participants who amounted to over 4,000 undergraduates and graduate students across 16 campuses. The research conducted together with other collected data was used to analytically examine the current state of Black students in U.S. higher education.
Davis, James Earl. "Early schooling and academic achievement of African American males." Urban Education 38.5 (2003): 515-537.
The author details his research regarding the pressing issue of the notable disparity between African American students in academic achievements as compared to their counterparts. In addition, he looks into the issues that affect academic achievements of all students. His research delves into how the African American students are negatively impacted by the academic achievement gap who end up being victimized by chronic, systemic levels of poor performance and behavior problems in school. For the purpose of this research, the author through his extensive research demonstrates how the perpetual loss of academic achievement leads to the reduction in productivity of African Americans among their communities.
Schwitzer, Alan M., et al. "Social adjustment experiences of African American college students." Journal of Counseling & Development 77.2 (1999): 189-197.
The authors employ qualitative research techniques to investigate the social climate experiences of African American college students. The results that were obtained helped expand previous research regarding college transitions and counseling requirements of African Americans in predominantly White Institutions. There were constructions of a descriptive model that identified aspects of African American student social adjustment to such institutions. In addition, counseling repercussions for preventive programs, consultation activities and developmental interventions are highlighted. For the purpose of this research, it gives a perspective of the social adjustments that these African American endure in order to cope up with challenges in these institutions.