Black Students Want Opportunities that Enhance Their Postsecondary Educational Outcomes, Not More Equity Talk!

Postsecondary success for Black students is a long time issue. Public school districts continue to recreate the same type of programs to incentive paths for post graduation for Black students that don’t render success. Realistically speaking, the programs can’t render success if Black students aren’t graduating as they should. 

Preparing Black students for college or post secondary options becomes even more challenging when the goal has been set to simply get them to cross the graduation stage. 

Nick Allen and Jeff Schulz examine a recent initiative focused on post secondary success of Atlanta students. The study was led by Achieve Atlanta and supported by Bellwether Education Partners. The goal was to implement match and fit into college advising practices across 17 high schools in Atlanta Public Schools.

CTAE has almost become a faded memory in public schools, much like many programs and initiatives geared at risk students. Bellwether Education Partners case study in Atlanta reflects the aspects needed to help improve APS’s reach in helping Black students with college and career readiness. 

Black students who face generational poverty, poor educational outcomes within their communities, and barriers to access have always been at the short end of the stick. 

The study shows that “undermatching, not over matching, is the primary issue impacting post-secondary success for low income students.” Access to better educational opportunities is still an issue for Black students years after Brown vs. Board of Education. Unfortunately, adding another program or equity officer in public schools isn’t solving the problem. The study in part shows us why public schools aren’t solving the problem. 

Access isn’t the only issue. The ability for Black students to know how to effectively use the resources provided to them for college and career readiness is missing. 

Additionally, school leaders must be focused on finding solutions and opportunities. The study speaks to the fact that leaders play a huge role in the barriers created for Black students and access. Leaders must be focused on finding solutions and opportunities that help Black students succeed. This also needs to take place in a timely manner. 

One counselor interviewed spoke about leadership’s impact on Black students’ post secondary success. “There’s nothing worse than a counselor getting information about a new initiative and taking it to their principal who doesn’t know anything about it!” School leadership does greatly impact the success of Black students. This shouldn’t be a barrier. And to add,  it’s not just school leaders but Superintendents too. 

Communication, planning, early onset access to resources and implementing various best practices help improve post secondary outcomes for Black students. Public schools aren’t lost at what needs to be done to prepare Black students to be successful. 

Suppression through the lack of workforce development training, paths for college and career readiness is something that public school equity departments can focus on to improve post secondary outcomes for Black students. 

Read more on the Bellwether Education Partners Case Study

Jason B. Allen is a Special Education Teacher in Clayton County, Georgia. He is a member of the Association of American Educators (AAE) and an AAE Foundation Advocacy Fellow.


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