Preparing All Students for Success — Yes, Even Students in Urban Areas!

Male_African_American_StudentBy Gabrielle Gray — Walking into school on the first day I was surrounded by bright smiles and eager minds that were excited to be back after summer vacation.

As I looked into the eyes of my students I could not help but to think of the common statistics that are casually thrown around to discuss the achievement gap for the city of Milwaukee:

  • Black students in Wisconsin have lower average fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores than Black students in any other state (U.S. Department of Education);
  • in 2008, only one in ten college students from the lowest income quartile earned a bachelor’s degree by their 24th birthday, compared to 77 percent of college students from the highest income quartile (milwaukeebaeo.org);
  • Milwaukee has one of the lowest Black male high school graduation rates in the country at 24% (White, 2008).

Despite common discussions of this gap, one important question has yet to be answered satisfactorily- who is concerned for their success?

It is clear to me that there are no inherent differences between Black and Hispanic students from White students, or affluent students from poor students besides a matter of situational circumstances. Students that live in urban areas and attend schools in the city, whether they be public or charter, are no different from students elsewhere.

Like students all over the United States, the freshman are still nervous on their first day of high school as they walk in with book bags stuffed with enough school supplies to last them for all four years; the jocks are still raising their hands eagerly asking about the first day of tryouts, and seniors are starting off the year with their dose of senioritis and ready to let the excuses roll out of their mouths.

So, where does the major separation rest? What deficiencies do these “urban” students have that have not been exasterebated by poor schooling and a lack of concern for their futures?

Instead of preparing society to deal with an uneducated class of people, let us as educators prepare all students for a life of academic growth and professional success.  If they do not deserve the right to a quality education, then why do others?

1 Response to “Preparing All Students for Success — Yes, Even Students in Urban Areas!”


  1. 1 Mr. Johnson September 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    True facts about the children we serve as educators in the greater Milwaukee area. Preparation is key! As educators we must also be willing to consider opening up more. A huge desparity in this push to better our city comes from the lack of “Positive Male ” influences in the homes of our children. The demographics of the children we serve suggest that maybe its time for more connections with the families our children are coming from. I know some teachers may frown, or imply “thats too much work”! But I guarantee the more we as teachers,administrators, & educational staff in general start making connections that are impacting not only these children but their households; We “WILL” make a difference. And hopefully one day kill that ugly graduation rate that is hitting our students, and stifling them from success!

    Great Article!!!

    Like


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