Would you believe it possible for a 100 percent graduation rate of black male seniors at a high school? Those of you who are familiar with the achievement gap that exists between black males and their peers are probably shaking your head in skepticism. Would you think I’m absolutely crazy if I told you that not only is it possible, but that the same group of graduates has a 100 percent acceptance rate for college?
That is exactly what the graduating class of Urban Prep, an African-American all-male charter school in Chicago, did. On a daily basis these scholars face intense adversity and social oppression, yet they have maintained a level of focus and dedication to set the precedent of excellence as the first senior class in the school’s history.
Urban Prep’s success is worth applauding. It serves as an example for educators, policy makers, the greater community, and, most importantly, black males everywhere. Furthermore, we should take note that accomplishing both goals are realistically possible despite the unyielding challenges associated with increasing the percentage of black males who are: a) college ready and b) college bound.
Urban Prep has creatively developed a method that gets black boys to college. However, their creativity is molded to fit the construct of their own organization, a charter school. Yet, success is success. So how do we replicate the same statistical success, or close to it, for black males in the Bay Area? Like the black youth in Chicago, young black men from the San Francisco Bay Area suffer from a multitude of social and educational issues that contribute to a road less traveled towards higher education. The lack of opportunity and success of young black men from the Bay Area is a problem that the College Bound Brotherhood seeks to address.
Those who are unfamiliar with “The Brotherhood” should know that our primary focus is establishing a stronger college-going culture by supporting organizations committed to aiding and fostering educational opportunities for black youth. Last year, the Brotherhood supported and collaborated with 11 non-profit organizations throughout the Bay Area. Our inaugural year concluded with a wonderful ceremony honoring graduating seniors from those grant recipient organizations.
As The Brotherhood transitions into its second year, we are actively building upon lessons from our first year and view Urban Prep as further inspiration in developing a college bound movement in the Bay Area. Statistically speaking, increasing the number of college bound black men is an uphill battle; only 26.9 percent of all graduating black males met UC/CSU A-G requirements in 2008 (Source: California Department of Education). But if the story of Urban Prep demonstrates anything, it’s that the job can definitely be done. In order for the college bound movement here in the Bay Area to reach its full potential there must be a collaborative effort from organizations, community members and leaders, and all individuals that have a genuine concern for the plight and educational development of black males. That’s what we’re working ton build.
photo source: www.lashawnbarber.com