African American Community Leaders Eager to Take on Educational Reform

A new report from the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute of the United Negro College Fund finds that only 3 percent of Black leaders believe the public schools are doing an adequate job of preparing Black students to attend and graduate from college. More than 80 percent of respondents said that the state of K-12 education in their community is a “very serious” or “fairly serious” problem in their community. Only the state of the economy was viewed as a more serious problem facing the Black community.

Some 90 percent of these Black leaders say they have an obligation to help fix the K-12 education system and a majority are optimistic that they can succeed.

The report states that “community-based organizations and local leaders are critical sources of information, inspiration and empowerment, especially in disenfranchised communities where long-standing social and economic inequalities have not been alleviated. In communities where local organizations and engaged parents are an integral part of their respective school districts, benefits are substantial. For students who attend schools in engaged communities, performance on standardized tests is comparable to the national average, college and career readiness benchmarks are more likely to be met and aspirations of earning a bachelor’s degree are above the national average.”

The full report, Lift Every Voice and Lead: African American Leaders’ Perceptions on K-12 Education Reform, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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